2022-01-10 10:04:00来源:网络


  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 balancingact.


  Cara Greene, a mother of three children ages 1 to 8, is wary of

  deliberately pumping up herkids' egos, for fear of instilling the sense of

  entitlement she sees in young adults 'who havebeen told they're wonderful and

  they can do anything.' But she also wants them to have healthyself-esteem.



  'We wouldn't be doing our children any favors by overinflating their egos.

  At the same time, Iwant them to have the confidence to tackle any challenge that

  is placed before them,' saysMs. Greene, of New York City.


  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 actuallybe good for kids to have low self-esteem, at

  least temporarily. And praise can harm if itdisregards the world outside the

  home. Children who have a realistic岸not inflated岸understanding of how they are

  seen by others tend to be more resilient.


  In the past, many parents and educators believed that high self-esteem

  predicted happinessand success, and that it could be instilled in kids simply by

  doling out trophies and praise. Butresearchers have since found self-esteem

  doesn't predict these outcomes. High self-esteem ispartly the result of good

  performance, rather than the cause. Inflating kids' self-esteem toomuch can

  backfire, making them feel worse later on when they hit setbacks.


  Self-esteem serves as a gauge岸a kind of inner psychological meter岸of how

  much childrenfeel valued and accepted by others, including family, friends and

  peers, based on research byMark Leary, a professor of psychology and

  neuroscience at Duke University, and others. Thissensitivity to others' views

  evolved because of humans' need for social acceptance, which inancient 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 likableor 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



  '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 themselvestemporarily, if they behave in selfish, mean or hurtful

  ways that might damage their ability tosustain 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.


  Ms. Greene's husband Jason, an actor and at-home dad, tries to teach their

  children what hisgrandfather 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



  Later, he explained: 'I know it's hard to go by the rules all the time, to

  stand in line and payattention. But you're not better than the rules, and you're

  not more important than anyone elseon the team.' His son nodded, and 'we had a

  hug,' Mr. Greene says. Wyatt hasn't misbehavedat practice since.


  The Greenes also step in with carefully targeted encouragement when their

  kids hit a roughpatch. When Wyatt fell behind in reading at school last year,

  Mr. Greene says, 'his self-esteemwas 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 uponrewards or grades. It's

  who you are that matters.' And Ms. Greene told him, 'Everyone haschallenges.

  This happens to be yours.' Wyatt now reads well and enjoys it. But the

  Greeneshope he also learned a sturdier basis for self-esteem.


  Exaggerated praise can do harm, according to a study of 313 children ages 8

  to 13 publishedthis month in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. Parents who

  noticed that their childrenfelt bad about themselves tended to pump up the

  praise when working with them, sayingthings like, 'You're so smart,' or, 'You're

  such a good artist,' researchers found.

  今年2月份发表于《实验心理学杂志》(Journal of Experimental



  But those children felt ashamed when they were defeated later in a

  simulated computer game;other children who received more realistic praise that

  focused on their effort or behavior didn'tfeel any shame, according to the study

  led by researchers at Utrecht University in theNetherlands. Well-meaning adults

  'may foster in children with low self-esteem the veryemotional vulnerability

  they are trying to prevent,' the study says. A better path is to praisechildren

  for the effort they invest, an element they can control, the study says.


  Children who have a realistic understanding of how they are seen by others

  tend to be moreresilient. In a 2010 study, 333 preteens played an online version

  of 'Survivor,' posting personalprofiles and receiving peer ratings on their

  likability. All the kids who received low ratingsexperienced a drop in

  self-esteem, gauged via scores on a scale including such items as, 'Ifeel good

  about who I am right now.' But those who started the game with grandiose views

  ofthemselves and inflated feelings of superiority suffered the biggest declines

  in self-esteem,says the study in Child Development.


  When researchers tried to lift the grades of struggling college students by

  raising their self-esteem, the students' grades got worse, according to a 2007

  study of 86 students published inthe Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

  Showering them with messages aimed at makingthem feel good about themselves may

  have instilled 'a cavalier, defensive attitude,' causingthem to study less, the

  study says.

  而根据2007年发表于《社会与临床心理学杂志》(Journal of Social and Clinical


  Laural and Jim O'Dowd's 11-year-old son Cole is getting straight As in

  accelerated seventh-grade math classes, even though he's only in fifth grade.

  'It's hard not to say, 'That's awesome,'' and to congratulate him on his grades,

  says Ms. O'Dowd, an attorney who lives in Boulder,Colo. 'But if we praise him

  constantly, his self-esteem becomes centered on always being verysmart and being

  the best and being perfect. And when you get out in the real world, you're

  notnecessarily No. 1.'

  劳雷尔奥多德(Laural O'Dowd)和吉姆奥多德(Jim


  Instead, she encourages behaviors he is able to sustain: 'It's awesome that

  you're working sohard on your homework.'


  The O'Dowds also invite their kids to see themselves as others might see

  them. Cole often hastrouble waking up in the morning and tends to be cranky with

  his three siblings, says Mr.O'Dowd, an at-home father and former engineer. When

  he lingered in bed recently and snappedat his 9-year-old brother Luke for no

  good reason, Mr. O'Dowd asked him: 'So you want to bethat person who nobody

  wants to talk to in the morning, because you can't be nice? Even ifnobody says

  anything bad to you?' Mr. O'Dowd says. 'You could hear the tires screeching in

  hisworld. He stopped moving. He stopped breathing. He looked at me for a very

  long moment.Then he hung his head, said, 'OK,' and went about getting ready for



  'I try to teach my kids how to be considerate of other people,' he says,

  'not just because it'snice, but because it makes your life better if you

  understand those around you.'



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