In this episode of the TiLT Parenting Podcast, my guest is Lisa Van Gemert, also known as the Gifted Guru, an educator, speaker, former Youth and Education Ambassador for Mensa, and the author of four books, including her latest book, Perfectionism: A Practical Guide to Managing “Never Good Enough”.
And that’s what we’re talking about in-depth today—perfectionism—mostly in children, but in adults as well. And while perfectionism might not be a diagnosis or a difference per se, it tends to pop up with many atypical kids, and especially seems to go hand in hand with giftedness. I hear from so many parents trying to understand their child’s meltdown over not being able to complete a task or assignment to the exacting standard they’ve set for themselves, or on the opposite end, feeling defeated before they even begin. And trust me, I’ve been there as a parent as well.
Which is why I am so excited to bring Lisa on to the podcast to talk about this topic. Lisa wrote this book, in part from her work with gifted children, but largely from trying to understand her perfectionism. In our conversation, Lisa goes deep into the research to help us understand what’s really going with perfectionistic tendencies (hint: it might not be what you might think) and gives concrete strategies to help our kids (and ourselves, possibly) manage it in a beneficial and positive way. But it’s also full of all-around great strategies for every parent, whether dealing with perfectionism in some way or not. This was a fascinating conversation, with so many great nuggets.
About Lisa: Using a combination of neuropsychology, pedagogy, experience, humor, technology and sheer fun, Lisa Van Gemert shares best practices in education with audiences around the world. She is an expert consult to television shows including Lifetime’s “Child Genius,” and a writer of award-winning lesson plans, as well as numerous published articles on social psychology and pedagogy and four books, including the Legacy Award winning book, Perfectionism: A Practical Guide to Managing Never Good Enough. A former teacher, school administrator, and Youth & Education Ambassador for Mensa, she shares resources for educators and parents on her websites GiftedGuru.com & VocabularyLuau.com. Lisa and her husband Steve are the parents of a lot of sons and live in Arlington, Texas.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- Lisa’s personal connection with perfectionism and how she came to write her book
- How to define perfectionism and how it is typically manifested
- The underlying motivations and fears driving perfectionism
- The connection between perfectionism and giftedness
- Some of the common misperceptions about perfectionism
- The role of nature and nurture in perfectionism
- How perfectionism can be beneficial and how to help our kids make it work for them
- Helpful strategies for dealing with homework, teachers, and more
- How parental perfectionism impacts children
- Perfectionism: A Practical Guide to Managing “Never Good Enough” by Lisa Van Gemert
- Living Gifted: 52 Tips To Survive and Thrive in Giftedland by Lisa Van Gemert
- Gifted Guild’s Guide to Depth and Complexity: Finding Your Way Through the Framework by Lisa Van Gemert
- James T. Webb
- Letting Go of Perfect: Overcoming Perfectionism in Kids and Teens by Jill Adelson and Hope Wilson
- The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van der Kolk