Fathers and Perfectionism in Children

Musa Kâzım GÜLÇÜR

April, 23/2020


Introduction 1

1. Show rather than Telling 2

2. Child’s School Failure and Parental Attitude 3

3. Explore Your Child’s Real Capacity 3

4. Sense of Extreme Perfectionism 4

5. Extreme Perfectionist Children 5

6. Perfectionist Parents 6

7. The Effects of the Parents on the School Success of Young Adolescents 7

Conclusion 7


In this article, some problems and their solutions will be pointed concerning fathers and boys, especially the emotional and intellectual aspects of the relationship will be addressed.

Studies show that sympathy for their children is normal behaviour for many fathers. Many fathers feel deep tenderness for their son and want to be closer to their children. When biological data such as changes in heart rate and blood pressure were examined, it was seen that there was no difference between the emotional reactions of men and women who responded to the crying of the little baby in emergency situations. Although women seem more thoughtful about the needs of their babies in comparison with men, the emotional reactions of both men and women to their children are almost equal.

Many fathers may seem reluctant, especially among other people, to show the sympathy that they feel naturally for their son. However, it should still be known that just as sons like the friendship of their fathers, fathers also yearn to show their interest and sensitivity in raising their sons, educating them, and participating in their emotional lives. For some reason, these natural and mutual aspirations sometimes remain unfulfilled or partially fulfilled in social and family environments.

Boys who get more close attention from their fathers have more positive behaviours comparing to their peers. In a study on pre-school boys and their fathers, it was found that boys who have got closer interest from their fathers had higher self-esteem and lower depression rates. The deep and lasting effect of fathers, especially on the emotional lives of boys, has also been proven by long-term studies. For example, according to the results of a study, the best ones who reach consensus in resolving disputes among twenty-three-year-old young men are those whose up to five years of age are most cared for by their fathers. When the emotional states at the age of 30 are analysed and their understanding of the health and intimacy of their social relationships at the age of forty, the boys in the “well-fathered” group also show the positive difference among their peers thanks to their father’s care in their childhood.

In a similar study, it was observed that boys with fathers who supported their “social and emotional development” during the first ten years of their son were more successful in high school and university and the success in their son’s career was positively affected when their fathers keep continued emotional support in their youth. When fathers are interested in the growth of their sons from an early age and continue this interest during adolescence and adulthood, their sons become getting better both emotionally and mentally. Furthermore, when these sons who well raised by their fathers, they feel more self-esteem when they get married and achieves greater happiness in their marriages and greater professional success in their own business.

Let us try to briefly see what should be done to be a father who communicates in a proper way with his sons.

1. Show rather than Telling

For fathers, the important part of good communication with sons is giving lessons to them by showing more than just telling them. It is crucial to encourage the boy to consider by following you through “what I am doing” rather than “what I say”. You can increase your interest by exemplifying how things are done, and you can pull yourself back to make your son’s achievements more visible so that you can start earning a closer and more confident relationship with your son. For instance, if you are willing to show your son the importance of respecting girls and women, it is more effective for you to talk to ladies gently and thoughtfully as a father especially when you get angry with your wife or daughter. Likewise, instead of saying, “stop watching TV and start doing your homework!” to your sons, it would be a more effective way for you to stop watching TV and read a book. Showing the behaviour instead of just telling him eliminates the risk of your son perceiving your words as a bully or hypocritical attitude and allows you to see the shaping phases of the behaviours which you want from him to learn.

2. Child’s School Failure and Parental Attitude

Parents who are uncomfortable with their children’s failure at school should inquire about the underlying causes of the problems instead of scolding, punishing the children or considering the situation as a total lost case. A child who fails at school is perhaps under the influence of discussions with the parents at home. If this is the case, the cause of the failure primarily belongs to the parent.

Does your child feel excluded from his peers in the social environment? Does it show itself negatively at school in response to extreme parental domination at home? Is there something in your child’s life that makes him feel overwhelmed?

Parents who are concerned about their children’s school failure should ask them the above questions to reveal the hidden problems.

3. Explore Your Child’s Real Capacity

One of the worst things for children is a mother or father demand more from their child than that he can do. Not all children have to be scientists, doctors, or lawyers. Mothers and fathers who make excessive demands from their children beyond their capacity cause some kind of resistance in their children, whether it is an open rebellion (not to listen to words) or excessive obedience. This last one really causes serious compliance problems. Because excessive obedience sometimes causes the inability to build his character independently from parents.

When adolescents have difficulties, parents should not automatically lower their standards. But a series of realistic expectations based on close monitoring of the child, in addition, meeting with school officials and conducting tests, if possible, often creates a better perspective.

Not all children can have enough intellectual equipment for going to a university or college. If your child has difficulties in the courses such as history, foreign language, science, or mathematics, presumably he is capable in other fields. Your child may be susceptible to philosophy, art, or trade. Perhaps your child’s talent is fully concentrated in athletics. Support your child as much as possible in areas where he is weak and encourage its strengths. The most important thing you need to learn is: “Your adolescent child should be motivated by an activity that will satisfy his need for success.”

4. Sense of Extreme Perfectionism

Many families ask their children to work harder, be careful in their lessons, give proper homework, get full marks from the exams.

But if a child’s attention turning out from being good at school to an obsession to do everything perfectly, this behaviour will not only become unbearable but also, in some cases, it will become harmful to your child.

Understanding the perfectionism and how it starts will help to evaluate your child’s efforts for school from an appropriate perspective.

On the positive side, perfectionism is one of the approved behaviours. People with perfectionist tendencies enjoy it if a job is done perfectly even when they put in an excessive effort for doing it.

On the other hand, perfectionists who cannot control themselves seek excellence to reach an unhealthy excess. They do keep trying to achieve unrealistic goals and measure their values according to how perfectly they reach out to the standards that they set before.

Perfectionist children feel uncomfortable if they cannot achieve the level that they want in their academic success. Somehow, they unable to act naturally, and sometimes they seem to like to have big problems. Their tendency to be overly rigorous, their desire that making everything happen simultaneously, and their doubts about success turn their lives into a mess.

5. Extreme Perfectionist Children

Although the reasons why a child is a perfectionist may occur in so many ways, we know most of the common features of these reasons. Children who behave in perfectionist are mostly:

They are generally very clever.

Their thoughts are solid and consist of only black and white. For example, they can only accept the marks 100 out of 100 in the exams, even 90 is a failure.

They constantly criticize themselves and set extremely high, sometimes inaccessible, standards.

They are constantly and persistently dissatisfied with themselves. As a result, they usually enter psychological trouble that cannot be overcome. This distress can manifest itself in many ways. Some adolescents may have some physical symptoms such as eating disorder, depression, inoperability, being procrastinator, performance anxiety, or ulcerative colitis.

They find themselves in a losing position possibly by setting high goals that they could not achieve.

They constantly need to reach perfection and experience a sense of incompetence with a fear of failure.

Even if they succeed, they do not fully appreciate it. They approach most jobs as if all their self-values depend on to get the job done.

They either work too hard or do the opposite, do not make any effort, or postpone it. Because they are afraid of not being perfect.

Even if the things they love are what they want, they are not completely happy. They can spend a lot of time making their life be what they want.

Perfectionist children are more serious than their peers and take their school assignments and hobbies very seriously. They are even obsessed with these issues. They organize and rearrange again. They work to make their hobby or work better, but they are never satisfied with the result.

You can observe these features better than your child’s teacher. Because your child will complain more about his “deficiencies” at home. A child whose view of the world is influenced by perfectionist tendencies often has a troubled and anxious life.

Children do not be a perfectionist suddenly like getting an infection. Such as the many topics that affect them, they learn perfectionism from their environment. Undoubtedly, society suggests unrealistic role models to our children, making them completely dreamers. Nevertheless, the people closest to children have the strongest impact on them; in so many cases, these people are the parents of children.

After all, the first thing you can do to help your child is to review your own expectations and the way that you raise him.

6. Perfectionist Parents

Do you see yourself as an excessively demanding or a perfectionist? Would you criticize somethings just because of they are not perfect? If you describe yourself as a perfectionist, you can research how you can help your child or contact educational specialists and get an idea of how you can be more flexible to help your child. Research has shown that many children with perfectionist tendencies have similar upbringing styles in their parents. These features are:

Failure to tolerate the child due to his impeccable behaviours or impeccable course results,

Confirm or disapprove of your child’s behaviours inconsistently,

Making your child think that he can only get love and approval if he shows excellent behaviours,

Some factors such as lack of harmony in the parent-child relationship.

As parents, it may not be easy to face even some of these facts. But if you can do that, you may help your child to have a less painful life. The best thing you can do is to make your child engage in activities that will not compete with others in a remarkable manner. For this reason, expect your child to have a clearly stated school achievement that is easier to reach, and that does not contain higher expectations such as “be very successful, do the best.”

7. The Effects of the Parents on the School Success of Young Adolescents

Regarding this issue, we think that it may be useful to follow some guidelines below. To help boys in school:

Be interested, stay interested. Pay attention to and monitor the development of your son within a school system. How is he? Do teachers and administrators have a proper consideration of the dilemmas which he is facing in our society and do they understand how these dilemmas affect him in terms of his learning skills?

Ask the school to follow your son’s unique learning style and speed. For example, if he needs extra help from the A lesson, make sure he gets it. If you find it difficult to endure any activity for more than a certain period, make sure that your child is directed to another activity that he can work on.

Based on the report card and teacher evaluations, try to understand how your child feels emotionally at school. Do your best to make free time for him at home and ask his school to do the same. Ideally, each young man should be able to easily find areas in his school where he can express his feelings without being attacked or ridiculed.

So, whenever your son comes home after school, ask him as often as possible about what he likes and does not like at school. Find out who your child’s best friends are. When you see that your child is not willing to tell, talk to him about your own school experiences. For example, talk about the exam that you forgot to study. Describe how some children annoyed you. Tell the story of your fifth-grade teacher, who you cannot stand. When you show your vulnerability, your boy can be comfortable telling about his feelings. In this way, you will understand how your child really feels about the school and you can see whether he is worried about his school success.


Even if it seems like a virtue to be concerned about the problems of youth, the mere concern without effort and action will not be a remedy. Although this significant subject should be handled together with the trio of “family, school, and environment”, it has only been passed on with complaints and apprehensions so far. If this trio cannot cooperate and work together, the one-sided effort will remain infertile for youth.

Even though it may seem difficult, rehabilitation work related to youth should be considered as a task by almost every part of society. The family, which is the basic unit of the society, should present a good example with its attitudes and behaviours. It is important to develop emotions that lead children and young people to good morals and virtues.

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