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夸孩子把握分寸很重要

2013-03-25    来源:WSJ    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Finding the Just-Right Level of Self-Esteem for a Child

A wave of recent research has pointed to the risks of overpraising a child. But for parents, drawing the line between too little praise and too much has become a high-pressure balancing act.
近来一些研究指出了过分表扬孩子可能带来的种种风险。不过,对于家长而言,要在夸奖得太少与太多之间划清界限,这难度不亚于顶着巨大的压力走高空绳索。

Cara Greene, a mother of three children ages 1 to 8, is wary of deliberately pumping up her kids' egos, for fear of instilling the sense of entitlement she sees in young adults "who have been told they're wonderful and they can do anything." But she also wants them to have healthy self-esteem.
家住纽约市的卡拉•格林(Cara Greene)有三个一岁到八岁大的孩子。这位母亲一直很谨慎,不去刻意让孩子的自我膨胀,因为格林担心那样做会让孩子心中滋长出她在那些“一直以来都被告知他们很棒而且他们能做任何事”的年轻人身上所看到的那种自以为是的感觉。不过,她也希望自己的孩子们能够拥有健全的自我认知。

"We wouldn't be doing our children any favors by overinflating their egos. At the same time, I want them to have the confidence to tackle any challenge that is placed before them," says Ms. Greene, of New York City.
格林说:“让孩子的自我过于膨胀对他们来说没有任何好处。而与此同时,我也希望他们拥有足够的自信,能够应付任何他们需要面临的挑战。”


Now, psychologists are creating a deeper and more nuanced understanding of self-esteem, which could make it easier for parents to walk that line. Some of the conclusions: It can actually be good for kids to have low self-esteem, at least temporarily. And praise can harm if it disregards the world outside the home. Children who have a realistic—not inflated—understanding of how they are seen by others tend to be more resilient.
如今,心理学家们对于自我认知的理解越来越深入、也越来越细致,这或许能够让家长们在走这条高空绳索的时候轻松一点。其中的一些结论如下:孩子的自我认可程度较低实际上有可能是一件好事,至少短时期的低认可度会是如此。而对孩子的褒扬如果没有考虑到家庭以外的环境因素,则有可能会对孩子有害。孩子若能对于他人对自己的看法有一个现实──而非夸大──的理解,则往往能够更好地适应外界环境。

In the past, many parents and educators believed that high self-esteem predicted happiness and success, and that it could be instilled in kids simply by doling out trophies and praise. But researchers have since found self-esteem doesn't predict these outcomes. High self-esteem is partly the result of good performance, rather than the cause. Inflating kids' self-esteem too much can backfire, making them feel worse later on when they hit setbacks.
过去,许多家长和教育者相信,较高的自我认可度将会带来幸福感与成功,而若要孩子实现高度的自我认可,做法很简单,只要给予他们大量的奖励和赞美即可。不过研究者们后来发现,自我认可并不会带来这些结果。高度的自我认可在一定程度上是良好表现的结果,而不是原因。让孩子的自我过于膨胀反而有可能起到相反的作用,使他们在未来遭受挫折时感觉更为糟糕。

Self-esteem serves as a gauge—a kind of inner psychological meter—of how much children feel valued and accepted by others, including family, friends and peers, based on research by Mark Leary, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, and others. This sensitivity to others' views evolved because of humans' need for social acceptance, which in ancient times could be critical to survival, Dr. Leary says. As early as age 8, children's self-esteem tends to rise and fall in response to feedback about whether peers see them as likable or attractive, says a 2010 study in Child Development.
根据杜克大学(Duke University)心理学与神经系统学教授马克•利里(Mark Leary)等人进行的一项研究,自我认知是一个度量标准、一种内在的心理学角度的衡量尺度,用于衡量孩子自我感觉到的自己在其他人心目中的重要程度、以及其他人对自己的接受程度,这里的“其他人”包括家人、朋友和同伴等等。利里博士表示,这种对他人观点的敏感度是因为人类需要社会的接纳而进化而来,,社会的接纳在远古社会有可能攸关生死。于2010年发表在学术期刊《儿童发展》(Child Development)上的一则研究报告称,早在八岁这个年龄,孩子的自我认知就会随着同伴是否认为他们可爱或是有魅力这样的反馈而增加或降低。

"Children absolutely need to feel valued, accepted and loved, and this will lead to high self-esteem," Dr. Leary says. But it can also be good for kids to feel bad about themselves temporarily, if they behave in selfish, mean or hurtful ways that might damage their ability to sustain relationships or hold a job in the future, he says. The best path is a middle road, helping children develop a positive but realistic view of themselves in relation to others.
利里博士表示:“孩子们绝对需要那种被尊重、被接纳和被爱的感受,而这些将带来较高的自我认可度。”不过,他说,如果孩子的行为表现出自私、自大或是会伤害到他人──这样的行为有可能影响到他们未来与他人相处或是保住自己工作的能力──那么短暂的自我感觉糟糕对于孩子来说有好处。最好的一条路是中间路线,帮助孩子培养出一个积极、但现实的、与他人相关的自我认知观点。

Ms. Greene's husband Jason, an actor and at-home dad, tries to teach their children what his grandfather taught him: "Nobody is better than you, but you're not better than anybody else." When his 8-year-old son Wyatt started goofing around at practice for his soccer team, which Mr. Greene coaches, he knew Wyatt was "having a moment of feeling superior," Mr. Greene says. He benched Wyatt immediately.
格林的丈夫贾森(Jason)是一位演员、同时也是一位全职父亲,他试图让自己的孩子明白他的祖父当年教给他的东西:“没有人比你强,不过你也不比其他任何人强。”贾森在他八岁的儿子怀亚特(Wyatt)的足球队里当教练,当怀亚特在足球队训练中开始不认真对待时,贾森说,他知道怀亚特“这一刻是有点飘飘然的优越感了”。他立刻将怀亚特换下场去坐冷板凳。

Later, he explained: "I know it's hard to go by the rules all the time, to stand in line and pay attention. But you're not better than the rules, and you're not more important than anyone else on the team." His son nodded, and "we had a hug," Mr. Greene says. Wyatt hasn't misbehaved at practice since.
之后,他对儿子解释道:“我知道要时时刻刻地守规矩、排队、专心听讲,这很难。不过,在规矩面前,你没有特权,你也不比队里的其他任何人更重要。”他的儿子点了点头,然后“我们拥抱了一下”。自从那次以后,怀亚特再也没有在训练中有过糟糕表现。

The Greenes also step in with carefully targeted encouragement when their kids hit a rough patch. When Wyatt fell behind in reading at school last year, Mr. Greene says, "his self-esteem was fragile and almost gone." They hired a tutor and worked with him on reading. But Mr. Greene also encouraged him to redefine his own worth, saying, "You're not measured upon rewards or grades. It's who you are that matters." And Ms. Greene told him, "Everyone has challenges. This happens to be yours." Wyatt now reads well and enjoys it. But the Greenes hope he also learned a sturdier basis for self-esteem.
当孩子受到挫折时,格林夫妇也会通过具有明确针对性的鼓励来帮助他们。贾森说,去年,当怀亚特在学校的阅读成绩落后时,“他的自尊变得很脆弱,几乎完全没有了”。他们聘请了一位家教,帮他辅导阅读。不过,做父亲的同时也在鼓励儿子重塑信心,他告诉儿子:“你的价值不是靠奖励或是成绩来衡量的。真正重要的是你是谁。”母亲则对儿子说:“每个人都会面临挑战。这就是你的挑战。”怀亚特如今的阅读很好,而且很喜欢这门功课。不过格林夫妇还希望他自信的基础能够更扎实些。


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