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2015-03-17    来源:福布斯    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Too Much Praise Can Turn Kids Into Narcissists, Study Suggests

Helicopter parenting, along with other forms of over-parenting, have come under considerable criticism in recent years for creating a generation of kids who can’t problem-solve for themselves. Now, a related parenting behavior – “overvaluing” one’s kids – has come under similar fire: But here, for creating narcissists-in-the-making. A new study from The Ohio State University suggests that constant – and perhaps undue – praise for our kids’ tiniest accomplishments, or non-accomplishments, may have the unintended side-effect of creating an over-inflated ego. And this can have serious consequences both in childhood and later on in life.
直升机式教育法(Helicopter parenting)和其他形式的过度教育法近几年来饱受诟病,因为这些教育方法催生了无法自己解决问题的一代。而现在,一种与此相关的教育行为——过度赞扬子女——也获得了类似的批评:只不过这种教育方式下成长的孩子容易自恋。俄亥俄州立大学的一项新研究显示,经常表扬,或是不恰当地表扬孩子做出的最小最小的成绩——有时候甚至连成绩都算不上,这样做可能会在无意之中制造负面效应:培养出孩子过度膨胀的自我。而这会对孩子的童年乃至整个人生都造成严重的后果。

“Research shows that narcissism is higher in Western than non-Western countries, and suggests that narcissism levels have been steadily increasing among Western youth over the past few decades,” the authors write in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“研究显示,自恋人群在西方国家的比例高于非西方国家,而过去几十年来,西方年轻人中的自恋比例呈现稳步增长态势。”在发表于《美国国家科学院院刊》(National Academy of Sciences.)的上述研究论文中,作者如是称。

The team examined the roots of narcissism, by pitting two competing theories of narcissism against each other. The social learning theory suggests that kids become narcissists when their parents overvalue them – that is, when parents treat their kids as fundamentally more deserving than others, or as Freud put it, when they “are under a compulsion to ascribe every perfection to the child—which sober observation would find no occasion to do.” In contrast, a psychoanalytic theory suggests that kids become narcissists when their parents withhold warmth – so the kids have to put themselves on a pedestal and seek approval elsewhere. To test which of these theories is more on-point, the team had kids in the Netherlands, ages 7-11, and their parents fill out questionnaires every six months for a year and a half.
这支研究团队将两种互相对立的自恋理论进行了对比,以此探究自恋的根源。社会学习理论(social learning theory)认为,当父母对孩子的评价过高时——也就是说,父母认为自己的孩子比其他孩子更好,或者用佛洛依德的说法就是,他们“不自觉地将每一处完美归功给孩子”——而头脑清醒的观察并不会得出这样的结果,那么孩子就会变得自恋。相较之下,精神分析理论认为,当父母不常表达爱意时,孩子会变成自恋者,因为他们只能自命不凡,在别处寻求认可。为了找出到底哪种理论更为准确,研究团队在荷兰找了一群年龄在7到11岁的孩子,并要求他们的父母每隔半年填写一份问卷调查,总持续时间为一年半。

Some of the questions probed narcissism in the children: For example, the kids had to rate how much they agreed with statements like, “Kids like me deserve something extra.” Some statements probed self-esteem: “Kids like me are happy with themselves as a person.” Parents also had to rate statements about the “value” of their kids: “My child is a great example for other children to follow,” for instance. Finally, both parents and kids answered questions about how much warmth parents showed their kids: “I let my child know I love him/her” (or, for kids, “My father/mother lets me know he/she loves me”).

Which kids were more likely to be narcissistic as time went by? Parental overvaluation was the largest predictor of a child’s narcissism over time, but interestingly, it did not predict self-esteem. In other words, telling kids how exceptional they are doesn’t produce kids with good healthy self-esteem – it just makes them more narcissistic.

“People with high self-esteem think they’re as good as others, whereas narcissists think they’re better than others,” said co-author of the study Brad Bushman. “Children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others. That may not be good for them or for society.”
“拥有较强自尊的人认为他们和别人一样好,而自恋的人则认为他们比别人好,”上述研究的作者之一布拉德·布什曼(Brad Bushman)表示,“父母说孩子比其他人更特别,孩子就会相信这种说法。这对于他们、对于社会来说未必是好事。”

Beyond being annoying to friends and colleagues, narcissism is a trait that comes with a number of psychological and social problems, both in childhood and in adulthood, some of which can be serious.

“Narcissistic children feel superior to others, believe they are entitled to privileges, and crave for constant admiration from others,” study author Eddie Brummelman tells me. “When they fail to obtain the admiration they want, they may lash out aggressively. Narcissistic individuals are also at increased risk to develop addiction. Subgroups of narcissists, especially those with low self-esteem, are at increased risk to develop anxiety and depression.”
“自恋的孩子自觉高人一等,认为自己有权享受特权,经常渴望来自于其他人的崇拜和爱慕,”上述研究作者之一的艾迪·布洛姆麦尔曼(Eddie Brummelman)告诉我说,“当他们无法获得想要的那种欣赏时,就可能出现情绪大爆发。自恋的人成为瘾君子的风险也更高。自恋人群中的子人群,特别是那些自尊较低的人,他们的焦虑和抑郁风险也更高。”

Of course, narcissism is partly based on genetics, so some of its development may be beyond our control. “Research suggests that, indeed, the role of genes and the environment are evenly split,” says Brummelman. And that’s both bad and good news. If your child is genetically predisposed to narcissism, it’s all the more important not to falsely inflate his or her sense of worth, but instead to be more down-to-earth about congratulations, and more reserved about praise.

Bushman, who has three kids himself, says that his research in narcissism “has changed my parenting style…. When I first started doing this research in the 1990s, I used to think my children should be treated like they were extra-special. I’m careful not to do that now.”


Narcissist n. 自我陶醉者;孤芳自赏者;【心理学、精神分析】自恋欲(或癖)者[亦作narcist]

considerable adj. 相当大的;重要的,值得考虑的

decade n. 十年,十年期;十

psychoanalytic adj. 精神分析的;心理分析的

narcissistic adj. 自恋的;自我陶醉的

psychological adj. 心理的;心理学的;精神上的

anxiety n. 焦虑;渴望;挂念;令人焦虑的事


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