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Barb Steinberg, LMSW

Helping Our Teen Girls With Perfectionism

Living in a state of perfectionism - the need to strive, perform, achieve - doesn’t feel good. It can lead to increased feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiety and depression and chronic fear of embarrassment or being overly cautious. This notion of wanting to be perfect can come from inside ourselves, our own self-talk, or can come from perceived expectations of others.

Here are some ideas to help your girls if they struggle with high-standards, self-criticism or wanting to be perfect:

  • Educate her on perfectionism: Teach her what it is and the negative effects of perfectionism on how we feel and how we behave.
  • Give her new language: Teach her how to be her own BFF with positive statements. When she hears that critical voice, teach her to say things like, “No one is perfect, so how can I be?”, “I’m doing my best and that is good enough.”, “Everyone makes mistakes, and I am no different.”.
  • Be a mistake making role model: Anytime you can mess up in front of her or tell her about an embarrassing thing you did or said, do so. Normalize not being perfect. Be sure to use that “new language” in the bullet above out loud in front of her.
  • Use humor: When you mess up or are imperfect, laugh at yourself. Teach her to lighten up about her imperfections. Point out when others laugh at themselves. It shows her that we are all imperfect and it is okay.
  • Reduce her catastrophizing: Remind her of times that she thought the worst was going to happen and it didn’t. Help her see, using examples, that making a mistake doesn’t equal failure or isolation from friends; that a bad performance doesn’t mean she is worthless. Look for real life examples of folks who “failed” at first but kept going and bounced back.
  • Take a social media break: more and more I’m hearing from girls that they feel better when they take a few hours or a weekend break from their social media accounts or unfollow celebrities that have perfect pictures. The brave ones have deleted Snapchat/Instagram from their phones!
  • Good Enough is Good Enough: Talk about the idea that sometimes “good enough is good enough”. Find times for her to play with the experience of doing an okay job. Maybe have a celebration when she gets a “B” or encourage her to reduce one of her AP classes to lighten her load or have a “slacker”, no shower/pj day if she is perfectionistic about her appearance. Let this be your new family mantra: Good enough is good enough.

Was this helpful? Want more? Contact Barb for a parent coaching session or consider teen life coaching for your daughters. Join us for our NEW workshops – learn more below!



In teenagers, crazy seems normal. Big emotions: hysterically crying, belly laughing, red faced anger. You need tools on how to contain the crazy and not lose your own mind. Learn more…

Date/Time: Thursday, March 22nd; 12:00-1:15pm

Location: 2208 Forest Bend Drive; 78704

Cost: $40/person; $35/person if you bring a friend/partner

*limited spots available; pre-registration is required

Yes, I want to come!
Middle School is a time of major change in so many ways especially when it comes to friendships. Tribes and BFFs change…there is distancing, choosing new groups, discovering new activities which bring new girls, etc. Girls often want and need to form new friendships, but the social game has changed since the days of playdates and swing sets. Learn more...

Date/Time: Sunday, March 4th; 1:00-2:30pm

Location: 1007 Mopac Circle, Building 1007, Suite 202, 78746

Cost: $35/girl

* for 4th – 7th grade girls
*limited spots available; pre-registration is required

Register for Finding Her Tribe
Hey high school girls...Do you feel stressed, overwhelmed or tired? Is there too much on your plate? Is there not enough time to enjoy things you like to do outside of your responsibilities? Do you want some relief from the pressure?
Come to this workshop, facilitated by Barb, to learn a super simple technique called Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as Tapping, to reduce stress and anxiety in the moment. You will be surprised at how quickly you can feel better! Learn More...

Date/Time: Thursday, April 19; 6:30-7:45pm

Location: 2208 Forest Bend Drive; 78704

Cost: $40/girl or $35 if you bring a friend

 *for girls in 9th-12th grades
*limited spots available; pre-registration is required

Register for Tapping Away Stress
She’s saying goodbye to her elementary days and looking ahead to middle school. Odds are, the rumors are swirling about what to expect in this uncharted territory and the name of the game has changed since you were in her shoes.  Learn more…

Date/Time: Sunday, May 6th; 1:00-2:30pm

Location: 1007 Mopac Circle, Building 1007, Suite 202, 78746

Cost: $35/girl

* for 4th and 5th grade girls
*limited spots available; pre-registration is required

Register for Managing Middle School Jitters

Here is a recent article that we highlighted on our Facebook page that suggests that there has been a rise in perfectionism in our millennials.

Would like an hour to dive into the specifics of your daughter and your family, to get strategies to put into place immediately to make things easier? Contact Barb to set up a parent coaching session.

About Barb

Barb Steinberg, LMSW is a teen life coach and workshop facilitator who transforms the lives of adolescent girls and the adults who care about them through practical strategies, insight, compassion and humor. 
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Austin, TX 78704

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