Do you have a high-achieving teen at home? They’re the teens that stay up late at night, working insanely long hours on homework. They get upset when they don’t get straight A’s. The ones having difficulty falling asleep because they’re always worrying. Waking up insanely early to get their work done. Expecting themselves to be the best athlete and student and the most popular kid all at the same time.

How do we parent these teens that put so much pressure on themselves? In today’s podcast episode I’m sharing my top strategies!

“We give all this airtime to academics. Why are we not giving all this airtime to what we truly think is the most important? Which is being kind or working hard.”
– Amanda Sovik-Johnston

Why do some teens put so much pressure on themselves?

First of all, this kind of pressure we’re talking about today is not something we see across the board. It’s especially a group of teens in a high-achieving population that put a ton of pressure and expectations on their own shoulders. There are various factors that come into play here, both internal and external. I discuss these factors more in-depth on this week’s episode of Active & Connected Families but let’s have a quick look at a few of them here:

  1. From a biological perspective, some kids are just wired to be more perfectionistic.
  2. When parents are successful in what they do, this puts extra pressure on the teen. Your kid is watching you as their role model. They see you excel at something and put extra pressure on themselves to be successful too.
  3. Comparing their lives to perfectly crafted pictures and narratives on Social Media.

Parenting strategies for managing your teen’s perfectionism and self-pressure

  1. Figure out what the true values are you want to measure your teen against. Then make sure you give these values enough airtime in your household compared to the more ‘hard data’ like grades.
  2. Model making mistakes. Whenever you as a parent make a mistake, acknowledge them, talk about how it makes you feel, open up the conversation around your mistake, share you thinking process of how you could fix it. When you model this kind of behavior, your teen will be more inclined to come to you next time they make a mistake to discuss it and think about a way to work through it.

I’m diving a lot deeper into this topic during today’s episode, so if you have a high-achieving teen at home, be sure to have a listen!

You can find our podcast Active and Connected Families wherever you listen to your podcasts, or easily click the links below to listen:

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In this episode on managing perfectionism and pressure in teens, we cover:

  • Why do some teens put so much pressure on themselves?;
  • Perfectionism from a biological perspective;
  • The pressure we as parents subconsciously put on our teens;
  • Parenting strategies for managing perfectionism and pressure in teens;
  • Modeling making mistakes;
  • And so much more!

More about Active & Connected Family Therapy

Active & Connected Family Therapy is a mental health practice serving individuals, families, and our community. A&C is designed to help people at all stages and from all walks of life by offering therapists and physicians with diverse backgrounds and specialties via face-to-face, walk-and-talk, and telemedicine appointments. Throughout, we are committed to developing strengths-based, authentic, and long-lasting relationships with you and your children. We hope to provide you with the support and insight you need to help your family navigate life’s hard times and joys.

Are you or your child struggling with mental health? We have a team of psychologists and psychiatrists who can help you out. You can learn more about our practice or contact us here.

Resources and links mentioned in this episode

Disclaimer: Please remember we are real live therapists, however this is a podcast and is not considered a therapy session. Not only because there is no co-pay but also because we can’t speak to your individual experiences. We are here to help you keep raising healthy kids. And remember, if you are an imperfect parent, we are right there with you. If you or someone you love is in immediate danger, please call your local crisis hotline or go to your nearest emergency room.