Reducing Math Anxiety

Becoming comfortable with numbers, helping your perfectionist child.

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Perfectionistic Daughter Wants Only A’s

My daughter doesn’t like receiving a grade of less than an A and she’s only in second grade. If she receives a B (or heaven forbid, a C), she considers herself a failure. We don’t think we have put special emphasis on grades, she’s just very perfectionistic. How can we help lessen her anxiety about grades?  

Talk with the second-grade teacher about your daughter’s attitude toward grades. Just being made aware of the severity of your child’s problem could help the teacher think of ways to handle it in the classroom. Perhaps she could receive fewer graded assignments during the year.

At home, talk about the fun things your daughter does at school and how much she has learned thus far. When she becomes upset about assignments for which she gets less than an A, point out what she can learn from understanding her mistakes. Also, when you praise your child, focus on other strengths in addition to her intellect.  

You might consider whether her worry about grades is a new problem. If her focus on being an “A” student also created anxiety last year (to the point of distraction or tears), your child could be exhibiting perfectionist tendencies or even obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to, “Kids with OCD worry a lot. Sometimes they feel afraid that bad things could possibly happen to them, sometimes they feel that something bad could happen to people they love, or sometimes they feel like they have to get things “just right” and have to check to make sure.” While OCD is not that common, a chat with the school psychologist should give you solid advice about additional ways to help your child.


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