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Вот несколько понравившихся мне цитат из этой книги.


- A publication by the Irish Department of Health and Children (which has been circulated and adopted by other organizations all over the world) offers ten examples to illustrate the concept of "emotional abuse." Number two on the list, right after "persistent criticism, sarcasm, hostility, or blaming, is "conditional parenting, in which the level of care shown to a child is made contingent on his or her behaviours or actions."

- How we feel about our kids isn't as important as how they experience those feelings and how they regard the way we treat them.

- In some situations, love withdrawal might be even worse than other, apparently harsher, punishments. "Although it poses no immediate physical or material threat to the child," he wrote, love withdrawal "may be more devastating emotionally than power assertion because it poses the ultimate threat of abandonment or separation."

- ... there is one more finding worth mentioning: the effects on kids' moral development. Hoffman conducted a study of seventh-graders that found that the use of love withdrawal was associated with a lower-level form of morality. In deciding how to act with other people, these children didn't take specific circumstances into account, nor did they consider the needs of a given individual. Instead, having learned to do exactly what they're told in order to avoid losing their parents' love, they tended just to apply rules in a rigid, one-size-fits-all fashion.

- Love withdrawal and positive reinforcement can produce a number of disturbing outcomes, from a feeling of helplessness to an unwillingness to help others, and (once children are grown) from a fear of abandonment to a resentment of their parents. But one result that threads its way through the summaries of research findings in this chapter and the preceding one has to do with the way people subjected to conditional parenting come to regard themselves.

- The problem with the latter approach ["if you don't cut that out, you'll be punished"] is that once your power begins to ebb - and it will - you've got nothing left. As Thomas Gordon pointed out, "The inevitable result of consistently employing power to control [your] kids when they are young is that [you] never learn how to influence." The more you rely on punishment, therefore, "the less real influence you'll have on their lives."

- Furthermore, seventh-graders who reported that their parents placed a lot of emphasis on academic achievement were likely to show signs of distress and "maladaptive perfectionism." Those problems were far less common among their classmates whose parents were more concerned about their children's well-being than about their achievement. Notice that these two goals not only are different, but sometimes pull in opposite directions. And, as the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm once lamented, "Few parents have the courage and independence to care more for their children's happiness than for their success."

- The effects, moreover, are particularly damaging if kids (of any income level or ethnic background) are being pressured not just to do well but to do better than their peers. Such children become to regard everyone around them as potential obstacles to their own success. The predictable results include alienation and aggression, envy (of winners) and contempt (for losers). And their self-esteem often suffers along with their relationships. After all, when your sense of competence depends on triumphing over others, you will, at best, feel reassured and confirmed only sometimes. By definition, not everyone can win.

- ... those who rely on traditional discipline have a tendency to overestimate what children can manage on their own. Such parents don't understand - or else they just ignore - how kids below a certain age simply can't be expected to eat neatly or keep quiet in a public place. Young children don't yet possess the skills that would make it sensible to hold them accountable for their behavior the same way that we hold an adult or even an older child accountable.

- Parents who berate their children and rely on coercive measures, then, may be doing so partly because they hold unrealistically high expectations with respect to behavior.

- The fact that freezing cold temperatures are uncomfortable doesn't mean we have to up with boiling heat. And that point also applies, incidentally, to another artificial choice: "Instead of punishing (or criticizing) kids when they're bad, try rewarding (or praising) them when they're good." The problem is that rewards and punishments are really just two sides of the same coin...and that coin doesn't buy very much.

- As a rule, when your basic emotional needs haven't been met, those needs don't just vanish when you're older. Instead, you may continue to try to satisfy them, often in indirect and even convoluted ways. That effort sometimes requires an exhausting, near-constant focus on yourself in order to prove that you really are smart or attractive or lovable.

- The last version of pseudochoice occurs when parents go through the motions letting the child choose but make it clear how the results must come out. Some options are acceptable and others are not, and the child is expected to figure out what the parent wants him to do - that is, if he ever wants to have the chance to "choose" again. ("I guess you're not mature enough to be allowed to decide these things for yourself" means "You didn't pick what I wanted you to.") Better just to tell a child "I'm going to pick for you," which at least is honest, than to go through this charade.

- The idea that hitting children doesn't harm them if they're part of a culture that accepts this practice as appropriate would seem to imply that the children themselves regard it as legitimate. Toddlers are too young to have formed such a judgment, which may in itself pose a problem for the whole theory. But one study asked older children (ages nine to sixteen) in the West Indies, where harsh physical punishment is widespread, what they thought about it. It turned out that such punishment had the same negative effects on kids who believed it was appropriate that it did on those who didn't believe this: "The psychological adjustment of youths who believe parents should punish them physically tends to be impaired to the same degree as the adjustment of youths who do not share this cultural belief."

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