Perfectionist

Out of nowhere, my 4.5 yo daughter wants her drawings to be PERFECT. She’s always loved coloring, drawing, tracing and she’s good at it! We’ve always given her big ups for her hard work and explain often about practicing.. she’ll try to draw something, in pencil, and if it’s not perfect she freaks out! We keep explaining how it doesn’t have to be and it makes it unique if it’s different. But she cries, pouts, yells.. it’s like a different kid. This might seem like a minimal problem but I have an art degree and through school, my perfectionism held me back. Art became stressful which I really don’t want for her. Im careful this piece of me doesn’t show but maybe unknowingly it has.. Any advice?

  • Cathy
    Nov 27

    Hmmm. That’s tricky. Could you start teaching her about “sketching out her work,” first? As in a “rough draft?” Thinking about the plan? Maybe talk to her about thinking about what she wants to draw, drawing out a rough sketch and then working on something more concrete? And obviously, remind her (as you are) that it’s about the journey getting somewhere.

  • Birdie
    Nov 27

    Even if you’ve explained to her that it’s not about being perfect, if she’s heard you speak about your art in a negative way that sticks out in her head more. Beauty is in the imperfection. Maybe take her to an exhibit & help her find the imperfection in each piece. Does it take away from its beauty? Did you even notice it until you pointed it out. Or take her to a dance performance. See the the same show twice so she can physically see that the shows were different b/c they weren’t perfect.

  • Rachel
    Nov 27

    Great advice! Thank you!

  • Anne
    Nov 27

    This is a great question and our 4yo is going through it too! I think he might be frustrated because he sees a different picture in his head than what he is capable of drawing. So I do my best to encourage him to “practice” and build the motor skills without worrying so much about making finishing art. He likes it when I make dotted line shapes for him that he can trace.

  • Rachel
    Nov 28

    I showed her some pictures of Picasso’s work and I saw her little mind really take it in.. bc his work is so abstract (eyes in odd places) I’m hopeful that helped!

  • George
    Nov 30

    Gifts of Imperfection by Brenè Brown is an excellent book to read.