Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Website: www.shannonarmitage.com

I have a new Web site, www.shannonarmitage.com that has all my latest writing and events on it. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Parenting Can Make You Happier--Eventually

This NPR story validates what I’ve thought all along: raising children can bring happiness–eventually. Maybe you won’t feel so happy changing diapers, doing the laundry, or cleaning the vomit out of your car after a roadtrip; however, when you step back and see the big picture, parents do find happiness in their roles. And while this particular story doesn’t address it, I can say having consulted with clients in a nursing home, when one reaches the last chapter of life, having children often produces a much happier ending, indeed.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"I am Adam Lanza's Mother"

Trying to make sense of what happened in Connecticut? You must read this piece by the Anarchist Soccer Mom about her struggle to get help for her son who's affected by mental illness in a society that has so few resources to offer them. We must be able to provide better options for people suffering from mental illness than "jail" or "death". Please share her brave and important story...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Effort+Failure+Learning+More Effort=Competence=Confidence

Recently someone posed a question about what to do to help her daughter develop confidence.  I thought back to when I was a young'un and what I wish someone would have told me when I believed some people were "naturally" good at some things and others less so, or not at all.

Here's what I told her: Process-based feedback. Rather than using essentializing descriptions (e.g. "you're good", "you're smart"), point out the strategies she uses to be successful. I wish someone would have explained that we are neither "good" or "bad" at something. It's just a matter of working hard, learning from mistakes, and keeping at it--even when you feel like quitting. Things that are difficult can still be worth doing.

I've written before about "logging your time", It's only when we push through our performance plateaus that we see what we're capable of.  There are no shortcuts to true competence, and no worthwhile confidence that isn't hard won. 

So when you see your child struggling with learning some new task, point out what's working--and where they could improve.  Remind them of other scenarios where they overcame obstacles.  How were they able to be successful then?  Praise them for their effort; help them learn from mistakes.  Watch them bloom into competent, confident young people.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Anyone who has ever experienced shame or bullying needs to watch this on-air response by Wisconsin television news reporter Jennifer Livingston to the man who criticized her for her weight.  She defends herself and other victims of bullying, saying:  "Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies."  Amen, Jennifer.  And good for you for using your position and influence to take a stand against bullying and allying yourself with others who are being shamed into silence.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When the Starting is the Hardest Part

I just read this thoughtful post on Heather Armstrong's blog Doocewww.dooce.com, and thought her story really captures what it's like to face the day when depression tries its best to make sure you stay buried beneath the blankets.  So now I'm wondering, what gets you out of bed on those mornings when it feels so hard to start?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Surviving Out Loud

Getting a mood disorder is like getting the flu.  It strikes seemingly at random.  No one is to blame.    No one should feel ashamed or guilty that they have it.  There's no vaccine or miracle cure, but there is hope. It sucks, but it will get better with treatment and care.

That's why I love Katherine Stone's album of postpartum mood survivors over on her great Postpartum Progress site.  Just beautiful families who have overcome great hardship to survive and thrive.  As Stone says, "We aren’t defective. We aren’t strange or unusual. We are great moms who were waylaid temporarily by a terrible illness."  And there's nothing shameful in being laid up by a terrible illness.  Indeed, in the same way that catching the flu can make a body more resistant to future illness, surviving a postpartum mood disorder makes a family tougher and more resilient in the face of future struggles.