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Raising Children 美式教养观

Raising Children 美式教养观

  The job of raising children is a tough one. Children don't come with an instruction manual. And each child is different. So parents sometimes pull their hair out in frustration, not knowing what to do. But in raising children-as in all of life-what we do is influenced by our culture. Naturally then, American parents teach their children basic American values.

  养育孩子是件伤脑筋的差事,孩子们并不是生下来就附有说明书的,而每个孩子又都不尽相同,所以有时候父母们真是挫折地扯光了头发,还不知该怎幺办。然而以教养孩子而言,就像生活中所有的事一样,我们的行为都受文化的影响,因此,美国父母很自然地会教导他们的孩子基本的美国价值观。


  To Americans, the goal of parents is to help children stand on their own two feet. From infancy, each child may get his or her own room. As children grow, they gain more freedom to make their own choices. Teenagers choose their own forms of entertainment, as well as the friends to share them with. When they reach young adulthood, they choose their own careers and marriage partners. Of course, many young adults still seek their parents' advice and approval for the choices they make. But once they "leave the nest" at around 18 to 21 years old, they want to be on their own, not "tied to their mother's apron strings."

  对美国人而言,教养的目标在于帮助孩子们自立更生。从婴幼儿期开始,每一个孩子都可能拥有自己的房间;随着孩子的成长,他们有更多机会自己作决定;青少年们选择自己喜欢的娱乐方式,以及跟什幺样的朋友一起玩;当他们进入了青年期之后,他们选择自己的事业和结婚伴侣。当然,很多的年轻人在作选择时,还是会寻求父母的忠告和赞同,但是当他们一旦在十八到二十一岁左右「离了巢」之后,就希望能够独立,不再是个离不开妈妈的孩子了。


  The relationship between parents and children in America is very informal. American parents try to treat their children as individuals-not as extensions of themselves. They allow them to fulfill their own dreams. Americans praise and encourage their children to give them the confidence to succeed. When children become adults, their relationship with their parents becomes more like a friendship among equals. But contrary to popular belief, most adult Americans don't make their parents pay for room and board when they come to visit. Even as adults, they respect and honor their parents.

  在美国,亲子之间的关系不是那么地严肃,美国父母们试着将孩子视为个体,而不是他们自我的延伸,他们允许孩子去实现自己的梦想。美国人会赞美并鼓励孩子以给予他们成功的信心。当孩子长大成人之后,亲子之间的关系会更像地位平等的朋友,可是与大家一向所以为的恰好相反,当父母来访时,大部份的美国成年人并不会要求父母付食宿费,因为就算已经成年,他们还是很敬重父母的。


  Most young couples with children struggle with the issue of childcare. Mothers have traditionally stayed home with their children. In recent years, though, a growing trend is to put preschoolers in a day care center so Mom can work. Many Americans have strong feelings about which type of arrangement is best. Some argue that attending a day care center can be a positive experience for children. Others insist that mothers are the best caregivers for children. A number of women are now leaving the work force to become full-time homemakers.

  大部份有孩子的年轻夫妻们都为了养育孩子的问题而大伤脑筋。传统上,母亲们会和孩子待在家里,但是近几年来,把孩子放在幼儿园好让妈妈去工作的趋势渐长。对于哪一种安排才是最好的,许多美国人都有自己强烈的主张,有些人认为进幼儿园对孩子而言是很正向的经历,另一群人则坚持母亲是照顾孩子的最佳人选,许多的妇女现在也离开工作市场成为全职的家庭主妇。母来访时,大部份的美国成年人并不会要求父母付食宿费,因为就算已经成年,他们还是很敬重父母的。


  Disciplining children is another area that American parents have differing opinions about. Many parents feel that an old-fashioned spanking helps youngsters learn what "No!" means. Others prefer alternate forms of discipline. For example, "time outs" have become popular in recent years. Children in "time out" have to sit in a corner or by a wall. They can get up only when they are ready to act nicely. Older children and teenagers who break the rules may be grounded, or not allowed to go out with friends. Some of their privileges at home-like TV or telephone use-may also be taken away for a while. Although discipline isn't fun for parents or children, it's a necessary part of training.

  训诫孩子是另一项引起美国父母们争议的议题。许多父母觉得老式的责打能够帮助年幼的孩子明白:父母说「不」就绝对禁止去做,然而某些人则较赞同其它形式的训诫方式。例如:「隔离法」即是近年来颇被接受的方式,被隔离的孩子必须坐在墙角或是墙边,除非他们肯乖一点才可以起来;年纪稍大的孩子或是青少年若是违反规定,则可能受到被迫停止某项权益或是不准和朋友出去的处罚,而他们在家中的某些特权,像是看电视或是打电话,也会被取消一段时间。虽然处罚对于亲子双方都不是什么有趣的事,但是它仍是训诫孩子时必要的一部份。


  Being a parent is a tall order. It takes patience, love, wisdom, courage and a good sense of humor to raise children (and not lose your sanity). Some people are just deciding not to have children at all, since they're not sure it's worth it. But raising children means training the next generation and preserving our culture. What could be worth more than that?

  担任亲职是必须付出极大代价的,教养孩子需要付出耐心、爱心、智能、勇气以及高度的幽默感(同时不失去你明智的判断力)。有些人根本就决定不生孩子,因为他们不确定这样的付出值不值得,但是养育孩子意味着训练下一代并且保留我们的文化,又有什么会比这更有价值呢?