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Are perfectionism and inability to accept failures in a child abnormal?

Answered by
Dr. Sumanth Amperayani

Pediatrician, Pulmonology

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 7545 Questions

Posted on Mon, 21 May 2018 in General Health
Question: Hello Doctor,

This query is regarding my son. He is 11/11/2013 born. Now he is 4 years and 1 month old. He is in playgroup.
Below are his current development status:
1. He understand pretend and play.
2. He knows how to play throw ball kind of games.
3. Like his aged kids, he wants to make friendship with other kids.
4. He can read most of the English words. Knows to read sentences. He may not understand the meaning some times. This is self-learning. He learns via XXXXXXX apps and books. He is big fan of Sudoku.
5. He knows to count, add, subtract and multiply numbers. This is self-learning. He learns via XXXXXXX apps and books.
6. He can sing well. He knows couple of rhymes and Sanskrit shlokas.
7. He has got excellent memory. However big story, he remembers and tells us back.

Overall he is a nice and happy kid.

Now coming to issues, I have 3 questions to discuss.

Question 1. Some times not responding quickly.

When he gets engrossed in an activity he does not respond to us unless the question is of his interest. I will provide this example.
Let us assume that he is playing Sudoku. I will ask him XXXXXXX do you need water? He will not respond, irrespective of me asking him 2-3 times.

However he will respond instantly if the question is of his interest. Example instead of water if I ask him XXXXXXX here is a kit-kat, shall I eat it? He will stop the activity and attend to the question immediately.

I am thinking there no real issue. It is only matter of whether the context is of his interest or not? This may change with time. However last week in his school his teacher has raised a question on this.

She says academically he is much ahead of all other children. But sometimes he does not respond.

We know this as I explained above. I wanted to understand from you, should we worry on such things? Do you see any issues here?

Another thing is h

Question 2: High sensitive nature and perfectionism.

He cannot expect him to do any mistake. Let me provide 2 or 3 examples.
1. Say he spills water on the table when everyone is having food. He would have not done intentionally. But the incident seems to hurts him a lot and he cries a lot. It becomes really difficult to console him.

2. Another example say he is playing building blocks, towards end block breaks and falls downs. He gets upset so much. He throws all other toys and cries.

3. He is very sharp observer. Last week his school identity card neck strap got rust and I requested the school to change. Earlier neck strap metal cord (a small part) that hold the id card holder was very smooth in design. Replaced one had some
design and was not looking so good. According to me for his aged kids, they will not understand that small difference. But he noticed and he was not willing to accept the new one for some time. This makes him upset and he cries.

As I explained above we know every time when he cries, he has a genuine reason of his own. Reasons might look silly to adults.

School teacher was saying every day he cries and when she asks him he does not say anything. But at home he tells us clearly what happened. Another thing I have observed is questioning tone matters a lot to him. He does not like commanding tone any time. That irritates him a lot.

We are trying our level best to improve him on this point. Both of us are working. Hence whole afternoon hours after school he spends with a maid. We parents get only 2-3 hours in the evening to spend with him.

I really need your suggestions on this question. I am worried due to this nature he might get isolated in the class.

Question 3: Not accepting failures.
He cannot accept a single failure. He cannot lose in a game or in any activity. He starts crying and shows his upset mind by throwing the things. In school so far he has not thrown any thing.

But he cries when he cannot complete a crayon painting or any task.

I really need your suggestions on this question. I am worried due to this nature he might get isolated in the class.

I am thinking whole day after school hours he is with maid. May be he is lacking peer play and co-ordination as he is only child. I planning to send him to next door day –care for few months so that there would a change for him. And he will get friends to play. Do you think will this help to grow better with emotions handling.

Thanks and Regards XXXXXXX

Answered by Dr. Sumanth Amperayani 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Suggestions on social issues

Detailed Answer:
Hi....I understand your concern. But first I want to congratulate you on your son being extremely intelligent. His IQ, when tested in future may turn out to be way above general population.

2nd thing my congratulations for being an extremely intelligent mother and very observant and analytical one in that.

Now coming to the issues raised by you one by one -

1. Not responding to call at times - he's a highly evolved and intelligent kid and so I feel that he's just avoiding what he doesn't want, when he doesn't want. It's his intelligent way of not getting disturbed. You need not worry about this.

2. Perfectionism - this is very common in kids who are extremely intelligent and especially so when they have a positive attitude towards life, which makes them expect that everything in and around them should be turning out to be positive. But as the time goes on he will learn that it is a common phenomenon for both negatives and positives to occur. Here again as he is a child, he's unable to strike a balance between these two. One reason for this may be that because of his intelligence and positive attitude, he's most of the times successful in being perfect. As time passes he will get adjusted to the fact that small things in life need not be worried about.

A small suggestion for you - try to explain him the difference between error and mistake (unintentional and intentional).

3. Not accepting failures - I think the same explanation of the 2nd issue addresses this also.

Overall your kid has a very bright future and he's very intelligent. Don't worry.

I wish your kid a bright future. If you need any future medical consultation and suggestions, I will be glad to help. You can approach me at the following link.

Once the page opens there will be an option below my image as – ASK ME A QUESTION – click on it.

Please find the link below -

Regards - Dr. Sumanth
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
Follow up: Dr. Sumanth Amperayani 56 minutes later
Dear Doctor,

Thank you so much. Though I was confident about my thoughts, after the questions raised by his school teacher, I was bit concerned.

Thanks for clarifying my doubts.

Answered by Dr. Sumanth Amperayani 4 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Happy that I was able to help you

Detailed Answer:
Hi...I am happy to help any time. Further clarifications and consultations on Health care magic are welcome.

If you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer. Wish your kid good health.

Regards - Dr. Sumanth MBBS., DCH., DNB (Paed).,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana

The User accepted the expert's answer

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