It’s the start of a new school year. For healthy strivers—kids with big goals and high standards—this is a time of excitement, anticipating the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. For perfectionists—kids with impossible expectations and intense fear of failure—this is a time of high anxiety.
How can you help your adolescent or college-age child be a healthy striver rather than a destructive perfectionist?
Worry about an upcoming math test, anxiety about feeling pressed to try drugs, pressure to get better grades, fear of being harassed by a classmate; that all can add up to feeling a lot of stress if the emotions of worry, anxiety, pressure, and fear are left unmanaged.
High school can be a psychological battle field. Social challenges, getting involved in serious relationships for the first time, the pressure to succeed in school and in sports, the increasing amount of extra-curricular activities young adults are expected to undertake all add up and can lead to stress, self-doubt, interpersonal conflict, intense mood swings, and the feeling of being overwhelmed and even lost.