您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 教育 >> 正文

不平等的童年:美国贫富家庭子女生活差异扩大

更新时间:2015-12-21 9:20:45 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Rich Children and Poor Ones Are Raised Very Differently
不平等的童年:美国贫富家庭子女生活差异扩大

The lives of children from rich and poor American families look more different than ever before.

美国贫富家庭子女的生活差异,看起来比以往任何时候都大。

Well-off families are ruled by calendars, with children enrolled in ballet, soccer and after-school programs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. There are usually two parents, who spend a lot of time reading to children and worrying about their anxiety levels and hectic schedules.

皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)的一项新调查发现,富裕家庭完全按日程安排行事,子女跳芭蕾、踢足球、参加课外项目。这些家庭通常是双亲家庭,家长会花大量时间给子女读书,并且担心他们的焦虑程度和紧张的日程安排。

In poor families, meanwhile, children tend to spend their time at home or with extended family, the survey found. They are more likely to grow up in neighborhoods that their parents say aren’t great for raising children, and their parents worry about them getting shot, beaten up or in trouble with the law.

调查也发现,贫困家庭的孩子往往待在家中,或在大家庭中消磨时光。他们成长的社区,更可能被其父母形容为不适合养育孩子,而父母会担心他们遭枪击、挨打或参与违法活动。

The class differences in child rearing are growing, researchers say — a symptom of widening inequality with far-reaching consequences. Different upbringings set children on different paths and can deepen socioeconomic divisions, especially because education is strongly linked to earnings. Children grow up learning the skills to succeed in their socioeconomic stratum, but not necessarily others.

研究者认为,子女抚养方面的阶级差异正在扩大,这是不平等现象加剧的一个征兆,将会有深远的影响。不同的养育方式会将孩子置于不同的发展路径,并加深社会经济的差距,尤其是考虑到教育与收入有很强的关联。孩子成长过程中,会学到在其所处的社会经济阶层内取得成功的技能,但不一定会学到其他技能。

“Early childhood experiences can be very consequential for children’s long-term social, emotional and cognitive development,” said Sean F. Reardon, professor of poverty and inequality in education at Stanford University. “And because those influence educational success and later earnings, early childhood experiences cast a lifelong shadow.”

斯坦福大学从事贫穷和教育不平等研究的教授肖恩·F·里尔登(Sean F. Reardon)指出:“早期童年经历会对儿童在社会、情感和认知方面的长期发展产生很大影响。由于这些因素会影响教育的成功,进而影响以后的收入,因此早期童年经历会影响人的一生。”

The cycle continues: Poorer parents have less time and fewer resources to invest in their children, which can leave children less prepared for school and work, which leads to lower earnings.

这个循环还不止于此:较穷的父母可以投入到子女身上的时间和资源较少,可能会使子女的入学和工作准备不足,进而导致收入降低。

American parents want similar things for their children, the Pew report and past research have found: for them to be healthy and happy, honest and ethical, caring and compassionate. There is no best parenting style or philosophy, researchers say, and across income groups, 92 percent of parents say they are doing a good job at raising their children.

皮尤的报告和过去的研究发现,美国父母对子女的期望都差不多:希望他们健康快乐、诚实有道德、有爱心和同情心。研究者认为,世上不存在最好的养育方式或理念;在所有收入阶层中,92%的父母认为他们在养育子女上做得不错。

Yet they are doing it quite differently.

但是,他们的养育方式却有相当大的差异。

Middle-class and higher-income parents see their children as projects in need of careful cultivation, says Annette Lareau, whose groundbreaking research on the topic was published in her book “Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life.” They try to develop their skills through close supervision and organized activities, and teach children to question authority figures and navigate elite institutions.

安妮特·拉罗(Annette Lareau)认为,中产阶级和较高收入的父母将子女看成需要精心培育的工程。他们努力通过密切的监督和有组织的活动来培育孩子的技能,教导孩子质疑权威,出入于精英机构。拉罗将有关该主题的突破性研究发表在《不平等的童年:阶级、种族和家庭生活》(Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life)一书中。

Working-class parents, meanwhile, believe their children will naturally thrive, and give them far greater independence and time for free play. They are taught to be compliant and deferential to adults.

而工薪阶层的父母则认为子女可以自然而然地成长,给他们更多自主权和自由玩耍的时间。孩子们被教导要顺从成年人,对成年人要尊敬。

There are benefits to both approaches. Working-class children are happier, more independent, whine less and are closer with family members, Ms. Lareau found. Higher-income children are more likely to declare boredom and expect their parents to solve their problems.

两种方法各有长处。拉罗发现,工薪阶层子女更快乐、更独立、抱怨少,与家庭成员更亲近。在收入较高的家庭,子女更可能觉得无聊,期望父母帮他们解决问题。

Yet later on, the more affluent children end up in college and en route to the middle class, while working-class children tend to struggle. Children from higher-income families are likely to have the skills to navigate bureaucracies and succeed in schools and workplaces, Ms. Lareau said.

不过之后,富裕家庭的子女上大学和进入中产阶级的道路更顺畅,而工薪阶层子女则往往要奋斗。拉罗说,高收入家庭的子女更擅于应付官僚程序,在学校和工作中取得成功。

“Do all parents want the most success for their children? Absolutely,” she said. “Do some strategies give children more advantages than others in institutions? Probably they do. Will parents be damaging children if they have one fewer organized activity? No, I really doubt it.”

“是否所有父母都希望子女获得最大的成功?绝对是,”她说。“某些策略是不是可以让孩子在学校里取得更多优势?这有可能。如果父母少安排一项活动,是否就会给孩子带来损害?我对此真的很怀疑。”

Social scientists say the differences arise in part because low-income parents have less money to spend on music class or preschool, and less flexible schedules to take children to museums or attend school events.

社会科学家认为,出现差异的部分原因在于,低收入的父母可以花在音乐课或学前班上的资金较少,日程灵活性也较差,没时间带孩子去博物馆或参加学校活动。

Extracurricular activities epitomize the differences in child rearing in the Pew survey, which was of a nationally representative sample of 1,807 parents. Of families earning more than $75,000 a year, 84 percent say their children have participated in organized sports over the past year, 64 percent have done volunteer work and 62 percent have taken lessons in music, dance or art. Of families earning less than $30,000, 59 percent of children have done sports, 37 percent have volunteered and 41 percent have taken arts classes.

课外活动集中地体现了皮尤的调查中发现的养育方式的差异,该调查的样本包括1807位父母,具有全国代表性。调查发现,年收入超过7.5万美元的家庭中,84%称其子女在过去的一年中参加过有组织的体育活动,64%做过志愿者工作,62%参加过音乐、舞蹈或艺术类学习班。在年收入低于3万美元的家庭中,59%家庭的子女参加过体育活动,37%做过志愿者,41%参加过艺术学习班。

Especially in affluent families, children start young. Nearly half of high-earning, college-graduate parents enrolled their children in arts classes before they were 5, compared with one-fifth of low-income, less-educated parents.

尤其是在富裕家庭中,孩子们很小就开始(参加各种活动)了。在大学毕业的高收入父母中,有近一半的人在子女5岁之前就为其报了艺术学习班,相比之下,教育程度较低的低收入家长这么做的比例为五分之一。

Nonetheless, 20 percent of well-off parents say their children’s schedules are too hectic, compared with 8 percent of poorer parents.

尽管如此,富裕家庭的父母当中,还是有20%认为,其子女的日程安排太紧张。而相比之下,贫穷父母的这个比例是8%。

Another example is reading aloud, which studies have shown gives children bigger vocabularies and better reading comprehension in school. Seventy-one percent of parents with a college degree say they do it every day, compared with 33 percent of those with a high school diploma or less, Pew found. White parents are more likely than others to read to their children daily, as are married parents.

另一个例子是朗读。研究显示,朗读能让孩子在上学后拥有更大的词汇量和更好的阅读理解能力。皮尤的研究发现,在有大学学历的父母中,有71%的父母称他们每天这样做,而相比之下,只有高中或以下文凭的父母这么做的比例是33%。在婚内双亲家庭中,相对于其他家长,白人父母每天为子女朗读的比例更高。

Most affluent parents enroll their children in preschool or day care, while low-income parents are more likely to depend on family members.

大多数富裕的父母为其子女报了学前班或日托班,而低收入父母则更可能将子女托付给家人。

Discipline techniques vary by education level: 8 percent of those with a postgraduate degree say they often spank their children, compared with 22 percent of those with a high school degree or less.

处罚子女的方式因教育程度不同而存在差异。在有研究生学历的父母中,有8%的父母称他们经常打孩子屁股,而相比之下,教育程度在高中或以下的父母这么做的比例是22%。

The survey also probed attitudes and anxieties. Interestingly, parents’ attitudes toward education do not seem to reflect their own educational background as much as a belief in the importance of education for upward mobility.

调查还探究了家长的态度和焦虑情况。有意思的是,家长对教育的态度似乎与家长的教育背景关系不太大,而与是否持有教育对向上流动具有重要意义这个信念的关系更大。

Most American parents say they are not concerned about their children’s grades as long as they work hard. But 50 percent of poor parents say it is extremely important to them that their children earn a college degree, compared with 39 percent of wealthier parents.

多数美国家长表示,只要孩子努力学习,就不关心孩子的分数。但贫困家长中,有半数称,他们认为孩子取得大学学历很重要,相比之下,较为富裕的家长中这个比例仅为39%。

Less-educated parents, and poorer and black and Latino parents are more likely to believe that there is no such thing as too much involvement in a child’s education. Parents who are white, wealthy or college-educated say too much involvement can be bad.

教育程度较低的家长,较为贫困的家长,以及黑人和拉丁裔家长,更倾向于认为过多干预孩子的教育不是一个问题。而白人家长、富有的家长或受过大学教育的家长则表示,过多干预孩子的学习可能产生坏作用。

Parental anxieties reflect their circumstances. High-earning parents are much more likely to say they live in a good neighborhood for raising children. While bullying is parents’ greatest concern over all, nearly half of low-income parents worry their child will get shot, compared with one-fifth of high-income parents. They are more worried about their children being depressed or anxious.

父母的焦虑反映了他们的家庭条件。高收入的家长更倾向于表示,他们生活的社区适合抚养孩子。尽管总体而言,孩子受到欺负是父母最大的担忧,但低收入的家长中有近半数担心孩子遭到枪击,高收入父母中则只有五分之一。他们更担忧的是孩子出现抑郁或焦虑。

In the Pew survey, middle-class families earning between $30,000 and $75,000 a year fell right between working-class and high-earning parents on issues like the quality of their neighborhood for raising children, participation in extracurricular activities and involvement in their children’s education.

在皮尤的调查中,年收入在3万至7.5万美元的中产家庭,在居住的社区是否适合养育孩子、参与课外活动、干涉孩子的教育等问题上,正好处在工薪阶层和高收入阶层家长之间。

Children were not always raised so differently. The achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families is 30 percent to 40 percent larger among children born in 2001 than those born 25 years earlier, according to Mr. Reardon’s research.

养育孩子的方式并不是一直都有这么大的区别。里尔登的研究发现,在高收入家庭和低收入家庭之间,出生于2001年的孩子当中的成绩差距,与25年前出生的孩子相比扩大了30%到40%。

People used to live near people of different income levels; neighborhoods are now more segregated by income. More than a quarter of children live in single-parent households — a historic high, according to Pew – and these children are three times as likely to live in poverty as those who live with married parents. Meanwhile, growing income inequality has coincided with the increasing importance of a college degree for earning a middle-class wage.

过去我们周围都住着不同收入水平的邻居,但现在社区之间按照收入有了更大的隔阂。超过四分之一的孩子生活在单亲家庭,根据皮尤数据,这是有记录以来的最高水平,而这些孩子生活在贫困当中的可能性,是婚内双亲家庭的三倍。与此同时,收入不平等加剧之际,要想赚到中产阶级的收入,大学学历的重要性越来越大了。

Yet there are recent signs that the gap could be starting to shrink. In the past decade, even as income inequality has grown, some of the socioeconomic differences in parenting, like reading to children and going to libraries, have narrowed, Mr. Reardon and others have found.

不过最近有迹象显示,鸿沟可能开始缩小了。里尔登和其他学者发现,在过去十年里,虽然收入不平等加剧了,但在读书给孩子听、去图书馆等一些养育方式上,社会经济差异却缩小了。

Public policies aimed at young children have helped, he said, including public preschool programs and reading initiatives. Addressing disparities in the earliest years, it seems, could reduce inequality in the next generation.

他说,针对儿童的公共政策起到了帮助,包括公立学前教育项目和读书活动。从童年初期开始应对差距,似乎能够减少下一代的不平等。

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表