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  When it comes to disciplining her generally well-behaved kids, Heather Henderson has tried all the popular tricks. She's tried taking toys away. (Her boys, ages 4 and 6, never miss them.) She's tried calm explanations about why a particular behavior -- like hitting your brother -- is wrong. (It doesn't seem to sink in.) And she's tried timeouts. 'The older one will scream and yell and bang on walls. He just loses it,' says the 41-year-old stay-at-home mother in Syracuse, N.Y.

  41岁的亨德森(Heather Henderson)是纽约州锡拉丘兹(Syracuse)的一位全职妈妈。为了管教两个总体表现还算不错的孩子,亨德森把所有流行的方法都试遍了。她尝试过没收玩具(她四岁和六岁的儿子对此从不在乎)。她尝试过平心静气地解释为什么某种行为──比如打自己的兄弟──是不对的(但孩子们似乎听不进去)。她还尝试过关禁闭。她说:“大儿子会尖叫、大喊、拍墙。他变得狂怒不已。”

  What can be more effective are techniques that psychologists often use with the most difficult kids, including children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. Approaches, with names like 'parent management training' and 'parent-child interaction therapy,' are backed up by hundreds of research studies and they work on typical kids, too. But while some of the approaches' components find their way into popular advice books, the tactics remain little known among the general public.


  The general strategy is this: Instead of just focusing on what happens when a child acts out, parents should first decide what behaviors they want to see in their kids (cleaning their room, getting ready for school on time, playing nicely with a sibling). Then they praise those behaviors when they see them. 'You start praising them and it increases the frequency of good behavior,' says Timothy Verduin, clinical assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.

  总体策略是这样的:家长不应该只关注孩子做了些什么,而应该先确定他们想在孩子身上看到哪些行为(比如打扫自己的房间,按时为上学做好准备,与兄弟姐妹好好相处),然后在发现这些行为时予以表扬。纽约大学朗格尼医疗中心(NYU Langone Medical Center)儿童研究中心(Child Study Center)儿童和青少年精神病学临床助理教授维杜恩(Timothy Verduin)说:“你开始表扬孩子之后,孩子出现好行为的频率会增加。”

  This sounds simple, but in real life can be tough. People's brains have a 'negativity bias,' says Alan E. Kazdin, a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University and director of the Yale Parenting Center. We pay more attention to when kids misbehave than when they act like angels. Dr. Kazdin recommends at least three or four instances of praise for good behavior for every timeout a kid gets. For young children, praise needs to be effusive and include a hug or some other physical affection, he says.

  这听起来很简单,但在现实生活中做起来却很难。耶鲁大学(Yale University)心理学和儿童精神病学教授、耶鲁育儿研究中心(Yale Parenting Center)主任、知名家长管理训练专家卡兹丁(Alan E. Kazdin)说,人脑有“负面偏见”。我们更关注孩子表现不好的时候,而不是他们像天使一样的时候。卡扎丁博士建议,一次禁闭惩罚应该对应至少三到四次的赞扬。他说,对幼童的赞扬应该饱含感情,要包括拥抱或其他身体爱抚。

  According to parent management training, when a child does mess up, parents should use mild negative consequences (a short timeout or a verbal reprimand without shouting).


  Giving a child consequences runs counter to some popular advice that parents should only praise their kids. But reprimands and negative nonverbal responses like stern looks, timeouts and taking away privileges led to greater compliance by kids according to a review article published this month in the journal Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review.

  让孩子承担后果与一些主张家长应当只赞扬孩子的流行建议背道而驰。但上月刊登在《临床儿童和家庭心理学评论》(Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review)上的一篇综述论文指出,训斥和否定性非言语反馈(以严厉的目光注视孩子、关禁闭和剥夺特权等)会让孩子更守规矩。这篇论文回顾了41项有关管教策略和儿童服从行为的研究。

  'There's a lot of fear around punishment out there,' says Daniela J. Owen, a clinical psychologist at the San Francisco Bay area Center for Cognitive Therapy in Oakland, Calif. and the lead author of the study. 'Children benefit from boundaries and limits.' The study found that praise and positive nonverbal responses like hugs and rewards like ice cream or stickers, however, didn't lead to greater compliance in the short term. 'If your child is cleaning up and he puts a block in the box and you say 'great job,' it doesn't mean the child is likely to put another block in the box,' says Dr. Owen.

  加州奥克兰(Oakland)旧金山湾地区认知疗法中心(San Francisco Bay area Center for Cognitive Therapy)的临床心理学家、上述论文的第一作者欧文(Daniela J. Owen)说:“许多人害怕惩罚孩子,但设定界限和约束对孩子有好处。”这项研究发现,表扬以及拥抱、奖励冰淇淋或贴纸等肯定性非语言反馈在短期内不会让孩子更守规矩。欧文博士说:“如果你的孩子在收拾东西,把一块积木放进盒子里,你说‘做得好’,这并不意味着孩子会把另一块积木放进盒子里。”

  But in the long run, regular praise does make a child more likely to comply, possibly because the consistent praise strengthens the parent-child relationship overall, Dr. Owen says. The article reviewed 41 studies looking at discipline strategies and child compliance.


  Parents who look for discipline guidance often find conflicting advice from the avalanche of books and mommy blogs and the growing number of so-called parent coaches. (In 2011, 3,520 parenting books were published or distributed in the U.S., up from 2,774 in 2007, according to Bowker Books In Print database.)

  寻找儿童管教指导的家长从海量的书籍、妈咪博客和越来越多所谓“家长教练”处获得的建议常常是相互矛盾的(Bowker Books In Print 数据库显示,2011年有3,520本育儿书在美国出版和销售,多于2007年的2,774本)。

  'Many of the things that are recommended we know now to be wrong,' says Dr. Kazdin, a leading expert on parent management training. 'It is the equivalent of telling people to smoke a lot for their health.'


  Parents often torpedo their discipline efforts by giving vague, conditional commands and not giving kids enough time to comply with them, says Dr. Verduin, who practices parent-child interaction therapy. When crossing the street, 'A bad command would be, 'be careful.' A good command would be 'hold my hand,' ' he says. He also instructs parents to count to five to themselves after giving a child a directive, like, for example, 'Put on your coat.' 'Most parents wait a second or two,' he says, before making another command, which can easily devolve into yelling and threats.


  The techniques are applicable to all ages, but psychologists note that starting early is better. Once kids hit about 10 or 11, discipline gets a lot harder. 'Parents don't have as much leverage' with tweens and teens, says Dr. Verduin. 'Kids don't care as much what the parents think about them.'


  Some parents try and reason with young children, which Dr. Kazdin says is bound to fail to change a kid's behavior. Reason doesn't change behavior, which is why stop-smoking messages don't usually work, Dr. Kazdin says. Overly harsh punishments also fail. 'One of the side effects of punishment is noncompliance and aggression,' he says.


  Spanking, in particular, has been linked to aggressive behavior in kids and anger problems and increased marital conflict later on in adulthood. Still, 26% of parents 'often' or 'sometimes' spank their 19-to-35-month-old children, according to a 2004 study in the journal Pediatrics, which analyzed survey data collected by the federal government from 2,068 parents of young children.


  At the Yale Parenting Center, psychologists have found that getting kids to 'practice' temper tantrums can lessen their frequency and intensity. Dr. Kazdin recommends that parents have their kids 'practice' once or twice a day. Gradually, ask the child to delete certain unwanted behaviors from the tantrum, like kicking or screaming. Then effusively praise those diluted tantrums. Soon, for most children, 'the real tantrums start to change,' he says. 'From one to three weeks, they are kind of over.' As for whining, Dr. Kazin recommends whining right along with your child. 'It changes the stimulus. You will likely end up laughing,' he says.


  Researchers noted that not every technique is effective for every child. Some parents find other creative solutions that work for their kids.


  Karen Pesapane has found yelling 'pillow fight,' when her two kids are arguing can put a halt to the bickering. 'Their sour attitudes change almost immediately into silliness and I inevitably become their favorite target,' said Ms. Pesapane, a 34-year-old from Silver Spring, Md., who works in fundraising for a nonprofit and has a daughter 10, and a son, 6.

  家住马里兰州银泉市(Silver Spring)的佩萨帕内(Karen Pesapane)在一家非盈利机构从事筹款工作,34岁的她有一个10岁的女儿和一个六岁的儿子。她发现,当她的两个孩子争吵时,大喊“枕头战”能让斗嘴暂停。佩萨帕内说:“原先怀有敌意的两个孩子几乎立马变傻了,我自然就成了他们最爱的靶子。”

  Dayna Even has found spending one hour a day fully focused on her 6-year-old son, Maximilian, means 'he's less likely to act out, he's more likely to play independently and less likely to interrupt adults,' says the 51-year-old writer and tutor in Kailua, Hawaii.

  夏威夷凯卢阿(Kailua) 51岁的作家兼辅导老师埃文(Dayna Even)发现,如果每天花一小时将注意力完全放在六岁的儿子马克西米利安(Maximilian)身上,“他会较少出现情绪失控,更易独立玩耍,而且更少打搅大人”。

  Parents need to take a child's age into account. Benjamin Siegel, professor of pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine notes that it isn't until about age 3 that children can really start to understand and follow rules. Dr. Siegel is the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' committee that is currently reworking the organization's guidelines on discipline, last updated in 1998.

  家长必须要考虑到孩子的年龄。波士顿大学医学院(Boston University School of Medicine)的儿科教授西格尔(Benjamin Siegel)指出,孩子要到三岁左右才能真正开始理解和遵守规则。西格尔博士是美国儿科学会(American Academy of Pediatrics)一个委员会的主席,该委员会目前在重新制定美国儿科学会的儿童管教指导原则(最近一次更新是在1998年)。


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