Holding the baby 为人父母的难处

更新时间 2013年 6月 10日, 星期一 - 格林尼治标准时间10:37
Baby's feet

Vocabulary: parenthood 词汇: 为人父母

What sort of upbringing did you have? Did your parents impose strict discipline?

Raising a child is not easy and the challenges of parenthood have turned childcare advice into a multi-billion pound industry. Books, magazines and television shows compete for credibility.

If your mother fed you only at the right time and ignored any cries for more, she would have been applauded by Dr Frederick Truby King. He was given a top honour in 1925 and credited with reducing infant mortality in New Zealand.

Character building was something to be started at a young age according to the stern doctor: he recommended no more than 10 minutes of cuddles a day. The formative months were for eating, sleeping and growing.

The stress on bonding was important for Dr Benjamin Spock, possibly the 20th Century's most famous childcare guru. He encouraged a touchy-feely approach to bringing up children, and told parents to trust their own instincts and common sense.

The Spock guide to parenting went mainstream in the 1960s when mothers were getting used to household appliances and disposable nappies. It left them far more time for cuddling, doting and pampering than most Truby King parents were likely to have enjoyed.

In Britain, paediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott helped to address some parents' sense of guilt by promoting the idea that it was OK not to be perfect. Occasional failure was not just inevitable - it was part of the child's learning curve. He didn't believe in setting regimes or even giving instructions. Winnicott's philosophy was all about understanding, not admonishing.

But a new technique is gaining popularity. Some 21st century children have to put up with the no-nonsense approach of professional nanny Jo Frost. This self-styled Mary Poppins from the reality TV show Supernanny has reached millions of viewers across 47 countries.

For many parents, Frost is the inspiration for the "naughty step" technique. Children who are misbehaving get a warning, but if they carry on they have to sit on a step. After waiting one minute for every year of their age they have to apologise for what they've done.

The best measure of the success of each technique might be how the baby has turned out. If you are good and happy, who is to say your parents' method was wrong?

Quiz 测验

1. What did Dr King recommend parents to ignore?

The baby's cry for more food.

2. Who encouraged more cuddles?

Dr Benjamin Spock.

3. What did Donald Winnicott's philosophy reject?

Admonishing children.

4. Is this statement true or false? Supernanny is the name of the new Mary Poppins movie

False. It's the name of a reality TV programme presented by Jo Frost.

5. Which expression means 'practical'?


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