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January/February 2010                     Perfectionism
In This Issue
What to do about Perfectionism
Client Feedback
Events and Meetings
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Hello everyone,

Good, better, best
  Never let it rest,
'til your good is better
And your better best 
Excellence is OK! We all want our children to strive for excellence. Quality work is a reasonable goal but perfectionism goes beyond excellence. It leaves no room for error. Since mistakes are unacceptable, perfectionism leads to unrealistic goal setting, feelings of inadequacy, sensitivity to criticism, persistent anxiety as well as procrastination.
What's the Trouble with Being Perfect?
Perfectionism is an interesting conundrum.  On the one hand, what could be wrong with someone wanting to do the very best job possible?  However, the trouble with perfectionism is that it often leads to procrastination. 
Take the writing of this article as an example.  It has been on my "TO DO" list since early January.  A newsletter on the topic of perfectionism, after all had to be perfect!  Self doubt crept in... Was I up to writing the perfect newsletter??  I didn't think so. The more I thought about it, the more I worried about writing perfect sentences.  I was seeking the perfect punctuation and prose in perfect sequence while also ensuring that everything was spelled perfectly.  Eventually, I became aware that my inability to find the right words was impeding my ability to gain any writing momentum.  I was so busy worrying about writing the right thing that I never got to write anything. 
So here it is - days before I leave on holiday, I no longer have time to worry about perfection, I just have to do it!  The cost of perfection to me was anxiety, self-doubt and certainly stress!  Wouldn't it have been better for me to capture the main thrust of my ideas and just written the newsletter?
This dilemma exists for students as well.  Parents sometimes ask me about perfectionism while several others wished they had the problem!  However, perfectionism is a double-edged sword.  Grades and homework might be stellar but at what cost - anxiety for the student, stress for the parent and disruption everywhere. 
If we do nothing and then pull out all the stops at the last minute and then think oh well we could have done better if we had more time. What a dangerous loop! 
What to do if you or your Child is a Perfectionist
Make a Schedule and Time Limit for Homework Completion
Many perfectionists are also procrastinators.  Why?  They fear failure and put off starting until they are "in the right frame of mind".  Help your child by setting a beginning time as well as an ending time in sufficient advance of deadlines so that they are able to chunk their work into small pieces.  This reduces the fear of failure and gives ample time for those perfect ideas to percolate.  Teaching routines is important but help them to understand that their habits should not be so rigid that they can't be changed

Allow for Down Time - Do Not Over Schedule
Having no down time can overwhelm children.  Feeling overwhelmed can spiral perfectionism out of control.  Many kids with perfectionist tendencies can cope on their own while others only need a few events to trigger great anxiety.  Having too much on their plate can instigate these feelings.

Respond to Worst Case Thinking
Perfectionists are color blind: they see the outcomes in black and white.  Their attitude is all or nothing.  Help them to consider alternative outcomes such as: "What would happen if the teacher didn't agree with the points in your essay?"  Discuss the possible outcomes from varying perspectives.  They will see that imminent disaster will not occur.

De-emphasize all A's
Instead of only focusing on the mark, comment on the amount of effort that went into achieving the grade.  Help kids to understand that they can feel satisfied when they feel they've done their best, not necessarily the best!  We all know good marks are necessary for the competitive admission policies to university and college but study habits, perseverance and work ethic are more important life skills than the number of A's.
Mistakes are Learning Opportunities
If work is perfect all the time, kids are not challenged.  Explain that there is usually more than one way to do most things.  Give specific praise.
Model Healthy Excellence as well as Coping Skills when Dealing with Disappointment
Take pride in the quality of your work but don't hide your mistakes or be constantly self-critical.  Model the lessons you learn from mistakes.  Humour always helps.  Congratulate yourself when you've done a good job by letting your children know that your own accomplishments give you satisfaction.
Client Feedback

"Ann was referred to us by a parent in our community.  My son has ADD (inattentive type) and we needed additional support.  He has now been seeing Ann for 3 years ... and he enjoys going!  Ann is warm, funny and builds on my son's interests to make learning fun. While he struggled in his earlier years, his most recent report card was all B+'s and A's.  He is thrilled, and we are so thankful for Ann's guidance. " 
 - A grateful Parent.
Events and Meetings

PASS - Parent Advocates 4 Struggling Students

David Muir from Disability Dreams Group, will be talking about how to qualify for the T2201 Federal Disability Tax Credit Certificate and how to claim support expenses.  DOES YOUR CHILD QUALIFY? 


Date:  Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Time:   7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  (Freeman Room)

Location:  Burlington Senior's Centre, 2285 New Street, Burlington,

The Senior's Centre building is located in Central Park, adjacent to the Central Library and Central Arena off of New Street just West of Guelph Line, behind the Curling Arena.


Contact:  (289) 288-3167
Dr. Wayne Adams: Memory Assessment and Its Importance
Learning and remembering define who we are and help to determine who we will become. This presentation will examine clinical aspects of memory assessment.
Date: Monday March 1, 2010
Location: The Hospital for Sick Children, Elizabeth St, Toronto, Main Auditorium
For registration: call 416-929-4311 ext 21 or email  or visit the web site at  


Rick Green and Dr. J in a Presentation called NOW WHAT?!  It's a fun, interactive way to learn about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Adult ADD.


Date:  Saturday February 27, 2010

Time:   1:00 pm - 4:00 pm 
Place:  Ontario Science Centre, 77 Don Mills Road, Toronto, M3C 1T3
More info:

About Students First Coaching
Students First Educational Coaching and Tutoring offers:
- one on one strategic tutoring assistance to LD/ADD students in middle school
- coaching support for LD/ADD students from high school through college and university
Through confidential inquiry, discovery, and collaboration, Ann works to move her clients forward by finding out what works best for them and then helping to define specific action plans whether it is coaching or tutoring.  Ann provides focus, accountability, support, direction, and guided reflection. 
Coaching and Strategic tutoring is a personal, one-on-one relationship.  Sessions can occur in person, through e-mail, over the phone or a unique combination of all of these methods.

Phone:  905-823-7215
Students First Educational Coaching and Tutoring | 1693 Wedmore Way | Mississauga | ON | L5J 2J7 | Canada