Social Studies Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 2
Social Studies Critical Reading
Questions 1–7 are based on the following passage.
This passage explores the theory that the first three years of life are critical in the development of a child's character and suggests a parenting model that strengthens moral behavior.
Does a baby have a moral conscience? While a baby is not faced with many serious ethical dilemmas, his or her moral character is formed from the earliest stages of infancy. Recent research has shown that the type of parenting an infant receives has a dramatic impact on the child's moral development and, consequently, success later in life. The renowned childcare expert T. Berry Brazelton claims that he can observe a child of eight months and tell if that child will succeed or fail in life. This may be a harsh sentence for an eight-month-old baby, but it underscores the importance of educating parents in good child-rearing techniques and of intervening early in cases of child endangerment. But what are good parenting techniques?
The cornerstone of good parenting is love, and the building blocks are trust, acceptance, and discipline. The concept of "attachment parenting" has come to dominate early childhood research. It is the relatively simple idea that an infant who is firmly attached to his or her "primary caregiver"—often, but not always, the mother—develops into a secure and confident child. Caregivers who respond promptly and affectionately to their infants' needs—to eat, to play, to be held, to sleep, and to be left alone—form secure attachments with their children. A study conducted with rhesus monkeys showed that infant monkeys preferred mothers who gave comfort and contact but no food to mothers who gave food but no comfort and contact. This study indicates that among primates love and nurturing are even more important than food.
Fortunately, loving their infants comes naturally to most parents and the first requisite for good parenting is one that is easily met. The second component—setting limits and teaching self-discipline—can be more complicated. Many parents struggle to find a balance between responding promptly to their babies' needs and "spoiling" their child. Norton Garfinkle, chair of the Executive Committee of the Lamaze Institute for Family Education, has identified four parenting styles: warm and restrictive, warm and permissive, cold and restrictive, and cold and permissive. A warm parent is one who exhibits love and affection; a cold parent withholds love; a restrictive parent sets limits on her child's behavior and a permissive parent does not restrict her child. Garfinkle finds that the children of warm-restrictive parents exhibit self-confidence and self-control; the children of warm-permissive parents are self-assured but have difficulty following rules; children of cold-restrictive parents tend to be angry and sullenly compliant, and the most troubled children are those of cold-permissive parents. These children are hostile and defiant.
The warm-restrictive style of parenting helps develop the two key dimensions of moral character: empathy and self-discipline. A warm attachment with his or her parent helps the child develop empathetic feelings about other human beings, while parental limit-setting teaches the child self-discipline and the ability to defer gratification. The ability to defer gratification is an essential skill for negotiating the adult world. A study conducted by Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, tested a group of four-year-olds' ability to defer gratification. Each child in the study was offered a marshmallow. The child could choose to eat the marshmallow right away or wait fifteen minutes to eat the marshmallow and receive another marshmallow as a reward for waiting. Researchers followed the children and found that by high school those children who ate their marshmallow right away were more likely to be lonely, more prone to stress, and more easily frustrated. Conversely, the children who demonstrated self-control were outgoing, confident, and dependable.
This research seems to answer the old adage, "you can't spoil a baby." It seems that a baby who is fed at the first sign of hunger and picked up on demand can perhaps be "spoiled." Most parents, however, tend to balance their baby's needs with their own. Many parents will teach their baby to sleep through the night by not picking up the baby when she awakes in the middle of the night. Although it can be heart wrenching for these parents to ignore their baby's cries, they are teaching their baby to fall asleep on her own and getting the benefit of a full night's sleep.
While many parents will come to good parenting techniques instinctually and through various community supports, others parents are not equipped for the trials of raising a baby. Are these babies doomed to lives of frustration, poor impulse-control, and anti-social behavior? Certainly not. Remedial actions—such as providing enrichment programs at daycare centers and educating parents—can be taken to reverse the effects of bad parenting. However, the research indicates that the sooner these remedies are put into action the better.
- The primary purpose of the passage is to
- a. advocate for the ability to defer gratification.
- b. educate readers about moral development in infants.
- c. chastise parents for spoiling their children.
- d. inform readers of remedies for bad parenting.
- e. demonstrate the importance of love in child rearing.
- In line 8, the word sentence most nearly means
- a. statement.
- b. pronouncement.
- c. declaration.
- d. judgment.
- e. punishment.
- The author presents the study about rhesus monkeys (lines 19–22) to
- a. prove that humans and monkeys have a lot in common.
- b. suggest that food is used as a substitute for love.
- c. support her assertion that love is the most important aspect of good parenting.
- d. disprove the idea that you can't spoil a baby.
- e. broaden the scope of her argument to include all primates.
- According to the third paragraph of the passage, a cold-restrictive parent can best be characterized as
- a. an aloof disciplinarian.
- b. an angry autocrat.
- c. a frustrated teacher.
- d. a sullen despot.
- e. an unhappy dictator.
- Based on the information in paragraph four, one can infer that children who are unable to defer gratification are most unlikely to succeed because
- a. they are unpopular.
- b. they lack empathy.
- c. their parents neglected them.
- d. they are unable to follow directions.
- e. they lack self-discipline.
- Which of the following techniques is used in lines 59–64?
- a. explanation of terms
- b. comparison of different arguments
- c. contrast of opposing views
- d. generalized statement
- e. illustration by example
- The author of this passage would be most likely to agree with which statement?
- a. Babies of cold-permissive parents are doomed to lives of failure.
- b. Good parenting is the product of education.
- c. Instincts are a good guide for most parents.
- d. Conventional wisdom is usually wrong.
- e. Parents should strive to raise self-sufficient babies.
Questions 8–16 are based on the following two passages.
Passage 1 describes the potlatch ceremony celebrated by native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. Passage 2 describes the kula ring, a ceremonial trading circle practiced among Trobriand Islanders in Papua New Guinea.
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