Parental pressure, such as parents’ expectations and criticism, could be the cause of perfectionism among children in their college years.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Parental expectations and criticism can lead to raising a perfectionist child
- Three types of perfectionism
- Pressure among parents
- Eight signs that you are a perfectionist
Parental Expectations and Criticism Cause Perfectionist Youth
According to American Psychological Association, parental pressure can have damaging mental health consequences for their children. They discovered that rising parental expectations and criticism are related to increasing obsession with keeping things perfect among college students. Because of this, actions related to parental pressure usually become the primary cause of perfectionism.
Over 20,000 American, Canadian, and British college students have participated in the study. Researchers discovered that young people’s impressions of their parents’ expectations and criticism had risen over the previous 32 years. Regrettably, it is linked to and may contribute to an increase in perfectionism.
Distinguishing the Cause of Perfectionism in Your Child
Thomas Curran is an assistant professor of psychological and behavioural science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was also the lead researcher for the study, and according to him,
“Perfectionism contributes to many psychological conditions, including depression, anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders.”
Perfectionism is not a personality disorder but a characteristical trait. It is a risk factor for psychological conditions and could trigger depression, anxiety, and other exhausting mental states. Studies say that true perfectionists are not trying to be perfect. In truth, they are individuals who are scared of falling short of expectations. Furthermore, perfectionism is seen to be harmful to one’s mental health.
“The pressure to conform to perfect ideals has never been greater and could be the basis for an impending public health issue,” said Andrew Hill, co-author.
Moreover, research has shown that perfectionism often becomes a lifelong trait. Perfectionists can become more neurotic and less conscientious as they get older. Aside from that, perfectionism can perpetuate through generations, with perfectionist parents raising perfectionist children.
Three Types of Perfectionism
Image Source: iStock
Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill previously learned that three types of perfectionism were increasing among young people. It specifically affects students in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Experts suspect that parents who consistently express anxious and controlling behaviour trigger perfectionist traits in young children. Parental expectations and criticism had moderate associations with self-oriented and other-oriented perfectionism. The factors influence significant association with socially prescribed perfectionism.
Self-oriented perfectionism involves perfectionist standards about the self.
On the other hand, other-oriented perfectionism is perfectionism turned outward. It is where someone expects others to be perfectionists.
Socially prescribed perfectionism
Socially prescribed perfectionism is the perception that other people and society require perfection.
The three types of perfectionism overlap and can exacerbate the effects of each other in negative ways. To compare, parental expectations may be more damaging than parental criticism. Parental expectations had a more significant impact than parental criticism on self-oriented and other-oriented perfectionism.
“Parental expectations have a high cost when they’re perceived as excessive,” Curran said.
“Young people internalize those expectations and depend on them for their self-esteem. And when they fail to meet them, as they invariably will, they’ll be critical of themselves for not matching up. To compensate, they strive to be perfect.”
Curran and Hill conducted the research in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. In relation to that, other cultures should not solely depend on the result or findings of the study.
The research suggests troublesome changes over time, according to the researchers.
“Parents are not to blame because they’re reacting anxiously to a hyper-competitive world with ferocious academic pressures, runaway inequality and technological innovations like social media that propagate unrealistic ideals of how we should appear and perform,” Curran said.
Parents place excessive expectations on their children for reasons. They claim that society demands expectations among children, or their children will fall down the social ladder.
Moreover, Thomas Curran also added,
“It’s ultimately not about parents recalibrating their expectations. It’s about society — our economy, education system and supposed meritocracy — recognizing that the pressures we’re putting on young people and their families are unnecessarily overwhelming.”
How to Healthily Navigate Societal Pressure
Image Source: iStock
As a parent, you can also help children healthily navigate societal pressures. You might want to teach them that failure and other imperfections are normal and natural parts of life. When you focus on your child’s learning development, you must practise it while avoiding stress.
Learning development should never be based on test scores or social media influence. A healthy way of navigating societal pressure helps children develop healthy self-esteem. In addition, learning development should not depend on other people’s validation and external metrics.
Eight signs that you are a perfectionist
Here are seven signs that your pursuit of perfection may put you at risk of depression, anxiety, and in extreme cases, suicidal thinking. You could be a perfectionist if you:
- Cannot accept or celebrate your success.
- Do not allow yourself to make any mistakes.
- Put up a front and insist that everything is perfect.
- Avoid challenges that may cause you to fail.
- Believe that your likeability is related to being perfect.
- Struggle with getting things done on time.
- Your life does not satisfy you.
- Despite your obsession with perfection, you’re never satisfied.
Tech Leaders Talk About Parental Guilt in New Podcast
5 Signs of Parental Burnout and What You Can Do About It, Says Expert
How Parental Arguments Have Lasting Effects On Children