For a long time, this drama with comedy elements is showing to viewers the crucial issues of family relationships, growing up, and the importance of communication. The plot of the film is a small live segment of one huge family, which includes five generations. The filmmakers tried to give us a simple recipe for a happy life. The film has a psychological orientation since the actors on the screen embody realistic heroes and raise fairly typical and relevant problems.
Erickson’s Psycho-Social Stages of Development
The realistic personalities presented on the screen allow us to trace the stages of the psycho-social development of the personality. For example, the main character’s father, Frank Buckman, is in the transition from Middle-aged Adult to Late Adult. When a crisis occurs in the family, he tries to keep the situation under control. Besides, he tries to show care about his son Larry, offering him financial assistance (Howard, 1989).
However, Frank and his wife’s way of life is already more secluded, he looks back and recalls his youth working on his car. A typical representative of Integrity at Late Adult is the family’s Grandma. She quickly agrees to move for her great-grandson’s well-being. She is calm and not afraid of death, which is demonstrated by her communication with younger generations. For example, Grandma has fun at the kid’s birthday.
Gil Buckman and his sister Helen are definitely in Generativity of Middle-aged Adults. Scenes, where they care about children very much, demonstrate this. For example, Gil actively defends his son Kevin at school, and Helen tries to gain her son’s trust (Howard, 1989). Gil is worried about his work and is holding as much as he can. His sister Helen also tries to date a good man.
Nathan Hoffner and his wife are on the transitional stage from Young Adult to Middle-aged Adult. They seem to be mature and are trying to invest as much as possible in the future generation – their daughter. Throughout the film, they teach foreign languages with her, Nathan reads Kafka with the girl and teaches her martial arts (Howard, 1989). However, Susan needs love, as shown in the scene where she talks with her husband about the desire to spend time together, and her husband is a little isolated in his aspirations. For both of them, the solution to the crisis is love.
Larry Buckman is a typical representative of isolated Young Adult. This is characterized by excessive preoccupation with himself, avoiding interpersonal relationships, and also by his inability to establish calm and confidential personal relationships. Todd is also at this stage. He seeks to find himself – he tries different places of work, changes his and his girlfriend’s appearance. However, he is more open than Larry and strives to be more responsible for his and Julie’s relationships.
Speaking of the younger generation represented in the film, one may say with confidence that Gary is at the Adolescent stage. He is overcoming the challenging crisis of growing up. He learns new things about himself, his body, and becomes more private (Howard, 1989). Kevin, Gil’s middle son, is at the stage of a School-Age Child. Due to unresolved inner feelings and emotions, he has problems. As a result, school teachers demand Kevin’s transfer to a special school.
However, proper help and care can help the boy to become better. Justin, the youngest Gil’s son, is in the transition from Early Childhood Years to Preschooler. He studies the world around him, even learns how it tastes, for example, the training cards of his cousin. In addition, he already wants to become a little older, looking for an example to follow. His cousin, little Patti Hoffner, is very different from Justin, she is Daddy’s pride in the age of Preschooler. However, under her father’s pressure, she moves early to the School-Age Child stage, the character demonstrates this to the audience during the whole film.
Types of Parenting Styles
This film perfectly shows different parenting styles that are interesting for studying. Frank Buckman’s relationship with his son Gil demonstrates a neglecting parenting style. One of the leading examples is baseball matches, which Gil loves very much. However, his father takes his son there once a year, not spending time together, but transferring duties to an assistant. Frank’s impulsive son Larry almost entirely imitates his father’s parenting style in his relationship with Cool – he does not communicate with his son and is not interested in the child’s life. Both fathers do not set rules for children, and are usually unresponsive.
Gil Buckman did not have a good enough male and parental example but wants to be an excellent father. Gil is very warm and sensitive and, at the same time, does not set clear rules for his kids. As a result, the youngest son behaves impulsively and does what he wants, and the eldest son has problems with communication and feels insecure. These factors are clear indicators of the Permissive parenting style.
Nathan Huffner sets very high expectations for his child but does not show enough parental warmth and sympathy. His daughter is his project, the embodiment of future success. He is an Authoritarian type of parent. His daughter is still small and obedient, and there are no problems now. However, if in the future, she disappoints father or does not meet expectations, there may be problems with her self-esteem, education, etc.
Helen Buckman clearly demonstrates the Authoritative parenting style during the movie. She is warm, understanding, and trying to support children and appreciate their independence. For example, Helen helps her daughter when she gets married early (Howard, 1989). Very bravely, she behaves with her son during his puberty crisis. The children are badly affected by another parent – their father.
Howard, R. (Director). (1989). Parenthood. Web.