Season 2: Episode 8

Hope and Will: A Parenting Podcast from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Helping Kids and Teens with Perfectionism

Perfectionism. It’s a word that, as a society, we tend to hold in high regard. We associate it with people who are overachievers and have high standards. These individuals appear to have it all together and never seem to make mistakes. All great attributes, right?

The challenge is when the standards become unrealistic. Perfectionism is a personality trait in which someone has unreasonably high standards, tends to be overly critical of themselves and fears failure.

This episode opens with candid insight from Andy who works as a project manager for our finance team. From a young age, he was driven to excel in the classroom and on the soccer field. From the outside looking in, Andy had it all. He had great relationships with family and friends, he was excelling in his studies at the University of Georgia, and he played on his college soccer team. Meanwhile, he was silently struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide. Thankfully, Andy decided to speak up and ask for help.

For Andy, having parents who actively listened and provided a safe, open space to share his feelings made all the difference.

The discussion also features tips and insights from Jody Baumstein, a licensed therapist with our Strong4Life team who has a gift for helping families navigate conversations about mental and behavioral health.

If you suspect your child—no matter their age—is showing perfectionist tendencies, this is an episode not to miss. Any thoughts of suicide should be taken seriously. Call or text 988 if you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide, self-harm or any mental health crisis. You can also chat or text for support by downloading the MyGCAL app in the App Store or on Google Play.

Originally Aired: February 07, 2024

Andy Irwin, Mental Health Advocate

Andy’s life-long struggle with perfectionism contributed to depression and suicidal thoughts during his college years. Andy grew up feeling that he could never make a mistake. When he went to college, he studied biochemistry and molecular biology and played for the University of Georgia’s men’s soccer team. From the outside, it looked as if he had it all together. But appearances can be deceiving. Andy opened up about his struggles to his family and friends, and they were there to listen, provide support and help him become more resilient.

Jody Baumstein, Licensed Mental Health Therapist

This episode marks Jody’s fourth time as a guest on our podcast. She has previously contributed to episodes about anxiety, suicide, and talking to kids about the news and current events. Jody is a licensed therapist with our Strong4Life team who has a gift for helping coach parents through matters involving mental and behavioral health.

Lynn Smith

Lynn Smith is a veteran journalist, podcast host and mom of two boys. Her experience as the parent of a patient at Children’s inspired her to advocate for spreading awareness of childhood illnesses and injuries.