想让孩子更聪明?学会说“不”

编辑:给力英语新闻 更新:2017年5月20日 作者:纽约时报(By SCOTT SONENSHEIN)

父母总是想满足孩子的愿望,但研究显示,追求其他人所拥有的最新的东西,存在有害的一面。它会产生一种不满足感,这种感觉永远都无法得到满足。他们先是想要一个娃娃,然后是各种装饰品,当然还有芭比娃娃住的四层公馆。

于是,我开始时不时地说不。起初,果不其然,我的两个女儿——一个四岁,一个九岁——进行了反抗。她们叫我坏爸爸,经常用埋怨的眼神看我。但随着时间的流逝,她们意识到了来自反对的乐趣。现在,我女儿会假装她们的娃娃艾莎(Elsa)是在和一盒购物精灵(Shopkins)玩。这让两个玩具重新获得了一个更美好的生命。

事实证明,说不的好处远不仅限于可以避免培养出被宠坏的孩子。如果一味满足孩子的需求,我们就剥夺了他们通过改造已有的东西找到解决办法的机会。从拒绝中吸取教训的孩子会早早意识到,他们不会永远都具备完美的工具,可适用于每一份工作。他们或许不懂某些知识,没有掌握某些能力,或不具备某些品质,但这不是追求目标的终点,而是激发他们寻找另一种方式的智谋的起点。

小孩子天生足智多谋。给咿呀学步的孩子一个煎锅,他们会想到各种各样的用途,而作为成年人,我们局限于用它来炒菜。多年追求自己并不需要的东西,削弱了我们更充分地利用已有资源的能力,也给孩子树立了不好的榜样。

在一项研究中,研究人员让上小学的孩子利用积木、一支铅笔、一个橡皮擦、一个球、一块磁铁、一辆玩具车和一个木盒子这些东西,帮助填充动物玩具波波熊(Bobo the Bear)够到他的玩具狮子。

随着年龄的增长,孩子大脑的发育理应降低他们解决这类问题的难度。确实,在这项研究中,平均来看年龄最大的孩子(六岁和七岁)找到正确解决办法(比如用木盒子把积木支起来)的速度,比年龄小一些的参与者更快。后者五岁。

但同样的试验,在有一种情况下,年龄较小的孩子的表现超过了年龄大的。并且这和天赋或艺术倾向无关。

研究人员在摆放那些东西的方式上做了细微的调整。他们没有把所有东西都摆在桌子上,而是把木盒子当作容器来放其他东西,比如磁铁和铅笔都放在盒子里面。一看到盒子充当着容器的作用,年龄大一些的孩子就难以展开想象力,把它当成容器以外的东西。对年龄小一些的孩子来说,那个盒子和之前一样,依然是一个灵活的资源。

每当同意孩子买某样东西的最新请求时,我们都在隐约让他们习惯自己的智谋用处有限。偶尔的反对会强迫——在这里就是字面上的意思——他们跳出固有的思维模式。

在美国文化中,富足往往会被视作成功的象征,促使一些家长答应自己其实根本承担不起的事情。看看各种文化背景和收入水平的人给孩子精心举办的生日聚会吧,哪怕这意味着负债。

很多在成长过程中拥有的东西并不多的人意识到,足智多谋是一项重要的技能,能够让他们利用已有的东西解决问题。我们当中那些生活相对富足的幸运儿,可能会从偶尔经历物质短缺中受益。当然,我并不是建议不给孩子提供大量他们确实需要的东西,比如健康的饭菜、温暖和衣服和爱。但我们满足的很多愿望,教给他们的是错误的讯息。通过让孩子偶尔经历短缺,我们可以帮助他们更有效地解决问题。

在一项研究中,一组受试者就其童年时代物质匮乏的日子写了一篇短文,另一组写的则是自己小时候的丰足生活。随后,研究人员向两组受试者抛出了一个问题,答案需要涉及气泡布的不同使用方法。匮乏组的人拿出了比丰足组的人更好的解决方案。

为什么对匮乏的思考或许会促使人们以更加开阔的视角看待手头的资源?物质丰足时,资源表面看上去是什么,人们就会把它们当成什么来对待,以传统的方式利用它们。但物质匮乏时,他们不再给自己设限,会尝试以新方法利用资源。不妨想象一下一个这也“没有”那也“没有”的周末,它的好的一面是可能带来很多新体验:自创的游戏、家庭舞会,或者在户外度过的时光。

我们家实施这一策略的效果特别好,我在大女儿不久前的生日派对结束后收获了终极赞美。这是“我生命中最好的一天”,她兴高采烈地告诉我。我们没有为派对花钱,而是在附近的公园里玩了一个寻宝游戏——我们让孩子们在那一片地方四处搜寻,找出一些有用的东西来应对挑战——比如制作容器,以保护一枚从10英尺高的地方落下的鸡蛋。孩子们分成三组,每一组都以独特的方式把手头的材料组合在一起,其中包括报纸、杯子、剩下的万圣节南瓜灯笼、土、棉花和气泡布。没有一只鸡蛋碎掉。

一切都很好,直到我们回到家中。“我现在可以拆礼物了吗?”我女儿问。“是的,”我迟疑地答道。我今后还有大把别的机会再次说不。

翻译:陈亦亭、李琼

To Raise Better Kids, Say No

WASHINGTON — Another Trump is on her way to the capital.

Tiffany Trump, the 23-year-old daughter of President Trump and Marla Maples, the second of his three wives, plans to attend law school at Georgetown University, a school official said on Monday.

“She has taken all the steps to enroll,” said Mimi Koumanelis, a spokeswoman for the school.

Ms. Trump’s decision ended monthslong speculation about where she would choose to go to school, and on what merit. Would it be Yale, the top-ranked law school in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report? (It is unclear if she applied there.) Or would it be Harvard, Columbia or New York University, all top-flight schools where Ms. Trump was reported to have visited last fall?

In the end, it seems that Ms. Trump kept it in the family.

Eric Trump, Mr. Trump’s second son, has a degree from Georgetown, where the law school is ranked 15th, and is a member of the school’s Business, Society and Public Policy Initiative advisory board. Ivanka Trump, Mr. Trump’s elder daughter, who serves in the White House as assistant to the president, attended Georgetown for two years before transferring to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Trump’s appearance in Washington will most likely subject her to a newfound degree of scrutiny, one at odds with the lower profile she has kept over the years. According to reports, Ms. Trump had difficulty adjusting to life on the campaign trail with her family, and her mother suggested that her relationship with Mr. Trump had been more distant compared with those of her siblings.

But since her father moved into the White House, she has seemed to quietly join the fold: Her carefully curated Instagram account shows only a sporadic presence in Washington, but her appearances are at family-focused events, including the White House Easter Egg Roll. Last week, Ms. Trump congratulated her sister on the publication of her book.

On Monday, Eric Trump told The Daily Mail, the first outlet to report the news, that his younger sister was “going to love” her time in Washington.

“Georgetown is an incredible school with great significance to me personally,” he added in an email relayed by a spokeswoman to The New York Times. “I am so proud of Tiffany and all that she has accomplished. She is an amazing young woman, a terrific sister and has a remarkable future ahead of her.”

Last fall, President Trump praised his youngest daughter’s work ethic. “She was always a great student and a very popular person no matter where she went,” he wrote in an email to The New York Times.

Shortly after the news was announced on Monday, Twitter accounts and Facebook groups of students at the school began lighting up.

Brenna Gautam, a first-year law student, said that security was among the primary concerns raised by her fellow classmates on Monday on a private Facebook group for Georgetown law students: “How will this impact our peers who may be personally threatened by her father’s policies?” Ms. Gautam asked, referring to gay and transgender students, and students who are minorities.

“There’s also been discussion surrounding which professors she may have,” Ms. Gautam said, “and, of course, some joking about whether graduation will now be held in Mar-a-Lago.”

Eric Lipton contributed reporting.