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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 美国家长也要给孩子减负

2017年06月16日17:11 来源:互联网
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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 美国家长也要给孩子减负图1

Stressed parents——Cancel that violin class

压力下的父母:取消小提琴补习班

Helicopter moms and dads will not harm their kids if they relax a bit

揠苗助长的父母们,放松点,对孩子没坏处。

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WELL-TO-DO parents fear two things: that their children will die in a freak accident, and that they will not get into Harvard. The first fear is wildly exaggerated. The second is not, but staying awake all night worrying about it will not help—and it will make you miserable.

富裕家庭的父母害怕两件事情:一件是他们的孩子死于意外事故,另一件是,孩子进不了哈佛读书。第一件可能过分的夸张,第二件则绝对真实。但是担心得夜不能寐起不到任何帮助作用,只会让你觉得痛苦。

Modern parents see risks that their own parents never considered. They put gates at the top of stairs, affix cushions to table corners and jam plastic guards into sockets to stop small fingers from getting electrocuted. Those guards are “potential choking hazards”, jests Lenore Skenazy, the author of “Free-Range Kids”. Ms Skenazy let her nine-year-old son ride the New York subway on his own. He was thrilled; but when she spoke about it on TV, a mob of worrywarts called her “America's worst mom”.

现在的父母看到了他们上一辈从未注意到过的危险。他们把大门安在楼梯顶上,给桌子安上桌角防撞贴,给插座插上保护盖以防止孩子的小手指触电。 《自由放养孩子》一书作者Lenore Skenazy开玩笑的说,这些防护装置有潜在的窒息危险。Skenazy让她九岁的孩子自己乘坐纽约的地铁。孩子因此非常激动,但当Skenazy在电视上讲到此事,一群杞人忧天人士则说她是“美国最糟糕的母亲”。

Yet in fact American children are staggeringly safe. A kid under five in the 1950s was five times as likely to die than the same kid today. The chance of a child being kidnapped and murdered by a stranger is a minuscule one in 1.5m.

然而,事实上美国的孩子们异常安全。在二十世纪五十年代,5岁以下孩子死亡率是现在的5倍。孩子被陌生人绑架、谋杀的可能性只有微不足道的150万分之一。

What about academic success? Surely the possibility of getting into Harvard justifies any amount of driving junior from violin lesson to calculus tutor?

那学术上取得成功又是怎么样的呢?进入哈佛的可能性当真证明了有从小提琴到微积分都很厉害的孩子?

【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 美国家长也要给孩子减负图2

Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University, says it does not. In “Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids”, he points to evidence that genes matter far more than parenting. A Minnesota study found that identical twins grow up to be similarly clever regardless of whether they are raised in the same household or in separate ones. Studies in Texas and Colorado found that children adopted by high-IQ families were no smarter than those adopted by average families. A Dutch study found that if you are smarter than 80% of the population, you should expect your identical twin raised in another home to be smarter than 76% but your adopted sibling to be average. Other twin and adopted studies find that genes have a huge influence on academic and financial success, while parenting has only a modest effect.

乔治梅森大学的经济学家Bryan Caplan说,事实并非如此。在《多要孩子的自私原因》一书中,他拿出证据指出,基因的影响力远大于教养的影响力。明尼苏达州的一项研究表明,同卵双胞胎不论是否在同一家庭环境中成长,他们长大后的聪慧程度是相似的。德克萨斯州和科罗拉多州的研究发现,被高智商家庭收养的孩子并没有比普通家庭收养的孩子聪明。荷兰一项研究发现,如果你比80%的人聪明,那么你生的、在别的人家抚养起来的同卵双胞胎,将会比76%的人聪明,而你自己领养的孩子则是平均水平。其他关于双胞胎和领养的研究显示,基因对学术和经济上的成功有着巨大的影响,而教养只有轻微的作用。

The crucial caveat is that adoptive parents have to pass stringent tests. So adoption studies typically compare nice middle-class homes with other nice middle-class homes; they tell you little about the effect of growing up in a poor or dysfunctional household.

关键的警告是,养父母必须经过严格的测试。因此,领养研究通常在不错的中产家庭之间比较,并没有说明在贫穷或非正常家庭中成长会有什么影响。

The moral, for Mr Caplan, is that middle-class parents should relax a bit, cancel a violin class or two and let their kids play outside. “If your parenting style passes the laugh test, your kids will be fine,” he writes. He adds that if parents fretted less about each child, they might find it less daunting to have three instead of two. And that might make them happier in the long run. No 60-year-old ever wished for fewer grandchildren.

对Caplan来说,其意义就是中产家庭父母应当放松点,取消一两个小提琴班,让孩子在外面玩玩。他在书中写到:“如果你的养育形式通过了欢乐测试,你的孩子就会很棒。”他补充说,如果父母少焦躁的对待孩子,父母可能会发现三个孩子比两个孩子更好。这会使他们在长期内更加快了。60岁的人(代指老年人)都希望有更多的孙辈。

Does over-parenting hurt children? Probably not; but it exhausts parents. Hence the cascade of books with titles like “All Joy And No Fun” and “Go The F**k To Sleep”. Kids notice when their parents are overdoing it. Ellen Galinsky, a researcher, asked 1,000 kids what they would most like to change about their parents'schedules. Few wanted more face time; the top wish was for mom and dad to be less tired and stressed.

过度的教养伤害到孩子了吗?可能并没有。但是它让父母筋疲力尽。所以有一连串像《所有的快乐与不快乐》和《去他妈的睡觉》这样的书名。孩子会注意到父母们什么时候过头了。一名为Ellen Galinsky的研究员询问了1000名孩子,问他们最想改变其父母时间表上的哪些东西。很少有孩子想要跟父母见面的时间。最大的心愿是,让爸爸妈妈不再那么紧张劳累。

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