Praise for ability is commonly considered to have beneficial effects on motivation. Contrary to this popular belief, six studies demonstrated that praise for intelligence had more negative consequences for students’ achievement motivation than praise for effort. Fifth graders praised for intelligence were found to care more about performance goals relative to learning goals than children praised for effort. After failure, they also displayed less task persistence, less task enjoyment, more low-ability attributions, and worse task performance than children praised for effort. Finally, children praised for intelligence described it as a fixed trait more than children praised for hard work, who believed it to be subject to improvement. These findings have important implications for how achievement is best encouraged, as well as for more theoretical issues, such as the potential cost of performance goals and the socialization of contingent self-worth.
Mueller, et al. Via Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
When she says she was an “accident,” I tell her that she should feel that she is all the more a wanted child. We didn’t want a child, I say, we wanted you. She wasn’t convenient, she wasn’t planned, she profoundly changed all of our lives.
Amy Benfer. Read more here.
Lately there have been some painful moments of watching my child play so innocently. He’s already encountering some funky playground politics. He just grins at kids who bully him – he thinks they are playing with him when they are actually being mean. Watching him follow them around even after they bully him is heartbreaking and sweet at the same time. Love that guy.
Then there are the adults we encounter on the street or in the store. 99% of these encounters are lovely – people saying hello and go to quite hilarious lengths to get him to smile. I love those moments. Then there are those occasional moments when my child says hello so brightly to an adult who just glares, sets their jaw or looks away, angry or bored. That’s totally, totally fine. Totally. But his sweet little face is so confused and he keeps trying to say ‘hi’ louder and smile more brightly. I makes me do one of those laugh/sigh/cringes and give him a kiss on his little cheek. Love that guy.
By far, the most painful thing is watching him bumble around so joyfully not knowing that his father actively denies his existence. The world is a rough place to be sometimes. I don’t even know how to put into words how that feels to me, and how I wonder it will feel to my child once he becomes aware of the world in that way. Worse though to be the man who is so confused as to not want to know and care for his own living and breathing child. I watch my son belly laugh with the fathers of other kids in playgroups and on the playgrounds and hope he grows up to be a truly kind man. Love that little guy.
When you become pregnant and dream of the life you wish for your child, you might imagine all the things you can teach your child. I started out motherhood with a very idealistic and naive view of what I would do for my daughter. It never occurred to me that her life would be taken control of in some ways because of the color of her skin.
– Martha Wood – read the rest here.
The funniest thing just happened… It’s about 8pm, my neighbors are having a party. Again. This time they had already woken my toddler up once, so…I had to go ask them to please keep it down. I hate doing that but their deck is right outside my baby’s window, what are you going to do? I got one woman’s attention (mid-fifties short gray hair white lady drinking white wine just to give you a mental picture) and she was nice enough at first asking if oh I had to get up early and oh how old my baby was. But then I got the “oh, he must be your first” along with rolling eyes blowoff. So the words “Look. I’m a single mom…” spilled out of my mouth. And before I could finish she immediately shut up, looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and said “enough said, I’ll tell everyone to keep it down.” Superpowers I tell you! Keeping that one in my back pocket.
Photo of single mom, Sandra Bullock, and her son via FameFlynet
I couldn’t have said it better if I tried for two hundred years. You’ve got to check out this letter from a single mama to her child’s father (click the link below to read the whole thing. You won’t want to miss the ending). Well done Madi Koconut.
I just stumbled on this post about how moms talk about their kids. Food for thought!
Then I started snooping around her blog some more and found this letter to herself. I really love it.
Anyone else into backpacking with a baby or toddler? We’ve been once and it has me lusting after this backpack.
Have you read this book? I just did and it was definitely thought provoking. It has me doing some things a little differently than before.
I also found this article about toddler “discipline” helpful. Her whole section on toddlers is a good read.
Nap over! Got to run!
As someone who has at one time been a stay-at-home dad, I can someone relate. I would echo what some others have commented here–this situation is perhaps a symptom of a society within which there are few solid social networks of support. In a more tribal or group setting, I could imagine groups of children being cared for in some kind of team manner from day-1. Nowadays, it is not unusual for a primary caregiver to be a team of “1”, alone, and unsupported except for in the case of infrequent visits by relatives (which could be more stressful than helpful). We are social animals, and I suspect that raising a child (or children) is evolutionarily a group task–not one designed to be taken on by 1 or 2 people at a time. I fully would agree that there may be many individual and even bio-chemical processes at work as well, but I am convinced that the social aspect is one that cannot be ignored.
In my experience, those new mothers who are fortunate enough to have extended family for support suffer much less from the symptoms described in this article. Perhaps, as a culture, we need to consider taking the route of providing better and more extensive support systems for mothers.
Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. One’s sense of self is irrevocably altered, there is a suffocating sense of responsibility with no end in sight. Sleepless nights, the unending demands of babies and toddlers, the lack of social and mental stimulation are overwhelming. Screening and treatment are the modern equivalents, and poor substitutes for familial love and support.
“Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to consider the unexpected. Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to entertain the improbable opportunity that comes looking for you. And never be so faithful to your plan that when you hit a bump in the road — or when the bumps hit you – you don’t have the fortitude, grace and resiliency to rethink and regroup… Plans or no plans, keep a little space in your heart for the improbable. You won’t regret it.”
Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator
Have a happy upcoming Father’s Day you graceful and resilient single moms out there. Thinking of you.