While talking to the teacher today, I found out that Ah Lo had a meltdown last week. One day, he was drawing a young George Washington. The picture looked so great he welcomed many compliments from the teacher as well as his classmates. The next day, he decided to draw Abraham Lincoln. Before he finished the picture, he went to the corner of the classroom and teared up. He was so upset at that moment the teacher couldn’t even talk to him.

Some time passed, the teacher spoke to him about what happened. By now, he was back to happy old self. He told the teacher that the sketch was “not to his standards.” He was upset because the Lincoln he drew, according to him, was not acceptable. When the teacher saw the picture, she thought it was amazing. The teacher described the picture to have plenty of details and realistic features of Lincoln. Whatever words of encouragement the teacher threw at Ah Lo, he still didn’t accept that his picture wasn’t perfect. So the teacher asked me if anything like this happened at home.

Yes, it sure does happen at home, all the time, because of me.  I am a perfectionist myself. I sighed. Ah Lo has inadvertently rubbed off my stubborn strive to do things, everything, perfectly. I didn’t know wanting my kids to do their best somehow would have this negative effect on them, making them less flexible and harder to adapt to changes. Glad his teacher brought this to my attention. I am now more aware of my behavior at home so I can prevent him to have the same perfectionist attitude. Instead, I should focus on the boys’ accomplishments, validate that making mistakes is perfectly fine, and reflect on their jobs-imperfectly-done! Hopefully, it’s still not to late to wean them from perfectionism.