Archive of ‘Perfectionism’ category

Supporting Your Child During Test-Taking Season

With the upcoming STAR tests, AP exams, SATs, ACTs, and more— it’s no secret that school test-taking season is upon us. This time of year can be extremely stressful for the test taker (and the whole family!). Below, we’ll discuss some helpful tips for supporting your child during this busy testing season. 

Encourage Confidence

These tests can be challenging, but it’s nothing your kid or teen can’t handle! Encourage your test taker by helping them know their strengths and remaining confident in their abilities. Help them create an encouraging mantra they can say to themselves as a reminder when things get tough in the testing room. Send an encouraging note in their lunch, or give them a small trinket the morning of the test. Let your child know that you’re thinking of them and that you believe in them. 

Create a Routine 

Weeks before the test, brainstorm a realistic routine that will create consistency. Help your child figure out the best time to study, the best time to take a break, and the best time to ask for some support. Get as specific as possible, and get your child’s input when planning for bed time, snack breaks, and everything else that comes along with studying for a big test. 

Promote Sleep Hygiene 

Sleep hygiene becomes even more important during times of high stress or anxiety. Help your child create a realistic bedtime routine that will help them feel rested, calm, and capable on test day. Limit screen time before bed, and lead your child through a calming activity instead. You can even try some mindfulness meditation, yoga, or reading as a family. 

Help Ease Feelings of Anxiety 

Help your kiddo manage their test anxiety with mindfulness practices like deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation. These are tools we often use in therapy, and are even more effective when they are practiced with family members at home.  Validate that it’s completely normal to be anxious before a test and get their input on how you can help support them as they prepare. 


Don’t forget to celebrate with your child or teen after the testing is complete! Congratulate your child on their accomplishment, and try to limit your questions about the actual test material. Trust that they did their best and that they will bring the test up if they want to talk about it more. Plan to go to their favorite restaurant or hang out with friends to celebrate.  Giving your child something to look forward to can give them the motivation they need to do their absolute best on the test.  

I hope these tips prove to be helpful for your family as we enter a potentially stressful season in their academic careers. With consistency, encouragement, and preparation, we can support our kiddos as they continue reaching their scholastic goals. 

Written by: Morgan Rupe, LPC-Intern supervised by Kirby Schroeder, LPS-S, LMFT-S

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Surviving the Holidays as a Perfectionist

This time of year is a brutal one for perfectionists. I like to think of myself as a recovering perfectionist. The holidays are a time when expectations and “shoulds” are extra high, making it a stressful season for those of us that like need things “just so.” Perfectionism isn’t just about wanting to do things well or be successful, it’s about performing with the ever-present worry, “What will people think?”.

By: Jennifer Alley, LPC

By: Jennifer Alley, LPC

I find that particularly as a woman, there is both a desire and expectation to not only do things really well, but to also make it look effortless. As a full-time mom who has a part-time private practice, a husband and a house, I can tell you, it is never effortless. I feel especially grateful for my messy, adorable 16-month old who reminds me all of the time that not only are spotless floors hard work, they are actually impossible. She (along with my husband and my sanity) is probably the main reason that I am striving to keep better perspective of healthy striving instead of perfectionism this holiday season.

As we prepare for parties, guests and travel, it is my hope and goal this year to stay calm, remembering that the truth is, it won’t be perfect (and that’s okay). My daughter will drag tupperware out of the cabinets moments before guests appear, toilet paper will be strung out from it’s holder, milk will be spilled on the floor, and I may or may not have makeup on and my hair done. We will likely forget at least three things we need when we go to our families’ homes, and we will also forget at least as many things at their houses when we return. And that is real life right now at the Alley household.

My previous self would spend the last half hour before guests arrived tense, getting upset with my husband for wearing his shoes across my spotless floor, and creating a rather not fun environment with my perfectionistic ways. This year, I want the picture at my house to be one where we are laughing, preparing food, enjoying each other’s company and laughing at mishaps like eating two hours late because the turkey was still a little frozen when it was supposed to be served (yes, this actually happened to me this year). With a family, there are plenty of opportunities to practice having self-compassion, grace, and laughter as it generally lends itself to anything but perfect. And I’m finding that this is exactly what makes the holidays memorable and “perfect”.

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