Ep 240: The Perfectionist’s Guide to Parenting

Katherine Morgan Schafler, author of The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control, busts myths on perfectionism. Many people wear perfectionism as a badge of honor, but in reality it is a maladaptive behavior that can make parenting more difficult than it already is!

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Today's show contains a discussion on suicide. If you or a loved one is in crisis, please call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800)-273-TALK or (800) 273-8255. You can also text them via Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741). All services are free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Full Show Notes

Raising teenagers in today's success-oriented society often pushes both parents and teens towards a relentless pursuit of perfection. Whether it's academic achievements, extracurricular activities, or social standing, the pressure to excel and maintain a 'perfect' image is ever-present. But what if the chase for perfection is doing more harm than good? And how do we differentiate between healthy ambition and harmful perfectionism?

This week on Talking to Teens, we're delving into the world of perfectionism, balance, and the pressures faced by teenagers today. We are joined by Katherine Morgan Schafler, a seasoned therapist, speaker, and the insightful author of "The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control: A Path to Peace and Power". Katherine brings to the table a wealth of experience from her time as an on-site therapist at Google, and a deep understanding of the patterns of perfectionism observed in both the digital and real world.

The Nuances of Perfectionism

Katherine helps us unravel the often misunderstood concept of perfectionism. Far from being solely detrimental, perfectionism, according to Schafler, can be divided into adaptive and maladaptive categories. We explore how to recognize the signs of each and the two critical questions to constantly ask ourselves and our teens: "How are you striving?" and "Why are you striving?"

Redefining Balance

Our conversation also tackles the modern notion of 'balance' and how it has morphed into an unrealistic expectation of excelling simultaneously in all areas of life. Katherine proposes a refreshing perspective on achieving balance - hint: it involves doing less, not more.

The Power of Language in Suicide Prevention

One of the most poignant parts of our discussion centers around the sensitive subject of suicide - a leading cause of death among teenagers. Katherine highlights the importance of direct and open communication, and shares the "life-saving question" parents should not shy away from asking.

Embracing Wholeness and Compassion

Lastly, we dive into the concept of 'perfection' from its etymological roots, asserting that being 'perfect' is about embracing our complete selves, flaws included. We also tackle the challenge of fostering self-compassion in teenagers, an essential tool for navigating the ups and downs of adolescence with resilience.

In this Episode...

- Distinguishing between adaptive and maladaptive forms of perfectionism
- Understanding the real meaning of balance and how to achieve it
- The importance of direct communication in suicide prevention among teens
- Encouraging self-compassion and the acceptance of one's whole self in teenagers
- Practical tips for parents to assist their teens in healthy striving and self-acceptance

If you're navigating the complex journey of raising a teenager, seeking to understand the delicate balance between encouraging ambition and fostering well-being, this episode is for you. We delve deep into how to guide our teenagers towards a healthier, more compassionate approach to their personal and academic ambitions.

Listen to the episode to gain valuable insights into nurturing a balanced, perfectionism-aware household and subscribe to "Talking to Teens" for more guidance on the art and science of parenting teenagers.

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Creators and Guests

Andy Earle
Andy Earle
Host of the Talking to Teens Podcast and founder of Write It Great
Katherine Morgan Schafler
Katherine Morgan Schafler
Katherine Morgan Schafler, LMHC, is a psychotherapist, writer and speaker based in New York City. Formerly an on-site therapist at Google, she earned her degrees and training at UC Berkeley and Columbia University, with post-graduate certification from the Association for Spirituality and Psychotherapy.
Ep 240: The Perfectionist’s Guide to Parenting
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