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Movie “Parenthood” Essay

“Jesus Julie, how the hell could you do that in my own house?”

Just one statement made in parenting and something that both adults and children have learned to ignore. Yet this is only one parenting type and there are other ways of dealing any one problem. There are three primary methods of parenting which consist of permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative. All of these contain their own benefits and downfalls. A child’s mind is a delicate thing, and knowing that, we should consider our parenting methods carefully since it will probably be the most influential thing as far as our children’s upbringings.

In “Parenthood” we view different outcomes of child development due to various parenting methods. Seeing this from a third person view we say to ourselves, “if that was my kid I would set him or her damn straight.” Those parents seem to have chosen a parenting style that is lacking for their situation and that it might necessarily be their faults that the children have grown up to be the way they are because the parents were raised that way. This is the first thing I wanted to make clear is that most people have leant their parenting methods from their parents, wrong or right that’s how things work and the only way things will ever change is if parents sit down and reconsider their actions.

There is of course the opposite effect, which the main character of the movie, Gil, seemed to have acquired from the extreme lack of love and compassion he adhered from adolescence through adult-hood. Since Gil’s father only took him out on his birthday, and even then would take him to a baseball game and pay an usher to sit with him, Gil developed a strong┬ádetachment to his father. This sprung hatred and resentment, which in turn convinced Gil to grow up to be an extra loving and compassionate parent. This brings us to the first parenting method.

Authoritative child rearing is based upon the idea of positive reinforcement and using punishments as little as possible. This is said to be the healthiest of the parenting methods in that children learn to develop good habits on their own and are still rewarded for their good actions. Parents allow their children to make all their own decisions and do don’t necessarily scold the children if they have done wrong, only letting them know lightly that they didn’t care for their actions. This method of parenting seems to promote positive communications between what a parent and child are feeling and seems to keep the line of communications open. Of course, used in excess, as Gil portrayed in the movie, can very well be an unhealthy thing. As Steve Martin said, if his son, Kevin, had not caught that ball, his whole attitude towards positively would have gone down the tubes.

The second of the three parenting methods is the all powerful Authoritarian method of parenting in which basically the children are domineered into doing what the parents want. This is seemingly the harshest on the children due to the severe dictation that is required. This is probably the most used method of parenting throughout the world (except in the U.S.) because it comes so natural to yell at whoever you are talking to in order to get them to listen to what you have to say. This is the idea of holding absolute order without letting the kids make any of their own choices. Parents will control children by repressing anything they do that they feel is negative. Another method of control associated with this method is the management of rewards and punishments, according to the way the children act.

Another form of child rearing is the permissive method. In this method the parents allow children to make all their own decisions and deal with the results by themselves too. Helen used this form of parenting with Julie and Gary. This parenting method isn’t necessarily wrong assuming there is always a parent there to gently guide the children throughout all their decisions.┬áThe place where this parenting method goes wrong is that normally this is the default parenting method in homes that have both single parents working, so the child is left home alone and does what he wants. Disinformation is another thing that is associated with this parenting method in that if you don’t tell a child about his options he will be forced to make the one that you have chosen for them.

No matter what method of parenting is chosen people need to remember that children always need someone to watch over them, to show them right from wrong and to help them in the hardships they go through. To reign a country with love or fear or to let it run free is a decision people have been making for the past ten thousand years and one method doesn’t seem to be working any better then others at times, but if anything has been shown it is that the real answer is somewhere in-between.

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