“Perfectionism” with Guest, Lisa Van Gemert

gtchat 05102016 Perfectionism


Our guest this week was one of our own #gtchat advisors, Lisa Van Gemert, chatting with us about perfectionism. Lisa Van Gemert is well-known in the gifted community for her keynote addresses, presentations and as a consultant to American Mensa. You can read more about Lisa at her website.

According to Lisa, “Perfectionism is a setting of unreasonably high expectations combined with a lack of self-love and includes an unhealthy concern for others’ opinions of one’s work. Perfectionists also typically overgeneralize failure, seeing it as a sign of catastrophic, systemic personal failure. They are often hyper-aware of how things could be & think that means that is how they must be.”

“Perfectionism is a setting of unreasonably high expectations combined with a lack of self-love and includes an unhealthy concern for others’ opinions of one’s work.”  ~ Lisa Van Gemert 

We learned there are different types of perfectionist gifted kids. They include those who avoid taking risks, those who continually try to perfect their work, or the overachiever. Lisa told us that kids aren’t always perfectionistic across the board and thus may appear meticulous at home but chaotic at school.

“Perfectionism is multidimensional. Recent research (Stoeber 2015) established self-prescribed, socially-prescribed & other-oriented.” ~ Dr. Cait Fuentes King

The relationship between perfectionism and underachievement is a complex one. “Perfectionists can underachieve when they fail to turn in work because it’s not at the level they wanted. Perfectionism can lead to hopelessness which is a straight ticket to underachievement. It is another word for misalignment and perfectionism is misalignment of goals with reality/desirability,” Lisa said.

The consequences of perfectionism are many. Lisa listed them as, “stress, decreased social acceptance, workaholicism, and a neglect of other interests. Also, fear, underachievement, anxiety, limited social interaction, limited risk taking, rigidity, eating disorders, self-harm,  and unhealthy dependence on external evaluation/acceptance.” Perfectionism can bring ‘living a full life’ to a halt; narrowing one’s focus to ‘not seeing forest for the trees’.

What strategies can be used to deal with perfectionism? Parents can serve as role models for their children; don’t insist on everything being absolutely perfect. Teachers can also consider task requirements and make modifications when necessary. Lisa suggested, “Let the child set his/her own goals, learn appropriate goal disengagement, and teach good self-talk. Avoiding authoritarian parenting is key. Make sure you let your kids see your own failures, mistakes and risks. Avoid only rewarding high grades. Sometimes we act like the lowest grade is in a different color ink. Celebrate risk taking and build risk-taking experiences into the family where it is safe.”

A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

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Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com


Examining the Construct of Perfectionism: A Factor-Analytic Study (cgi)

Helpful Tips for Parents of Perfectionistic Gifted Learners

Voices of Perfectionism: Perfectionistic Gifted Adolescents in a Rural Middle School

Letting Go of Perfect: Overcoming Perfectionism in Kids (Amazon)

Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control (Amazon)

What to Do When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough: Real Deal on Perfectionism: Guide for Kids (Amazon)

Freeing Our Families from Perfectionism (Amazon)

You’ve Gotta Know When to Fold ‘Em: Goal Disengagement/Systemic Inflammation in Adolescence (Abstract)

Perfectionism: The Presentation

The Perils of Perfectionism

Lisa Van Gemert’s Website: Gifted Guru

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Posted on May 17, 2016, in Emotional intensity, family, gifted, Gifted Adults, gifted and talented, Mental Health, parenting, perfectionism, Psychology, Social Emotional and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Mitsuko Furukawa

    Thank you for your post.

    I’m not a perfectionist. I’m just an easy-going ordinary person.

    However, when I read your posting, I feel “jealousy” is hidden in the analysis of this article. I don’t know the reason why, but I feel so.

    Best regards,

    Mitsuko Furukawa


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