U05a1 Family Subsystem Paper
Coun5271 – Marriage and Family Systems
Dr. Dawn Shelton
This family system seen within the movie is unique in the way it works or in this case, doesn’t work. Because that is the case, it is important to see the family not with eyes of the status quo but with non-judging eyes that see something that works, despite the seemingly chaotic way in which it goes about doing it. This is where tools come into play for counselors who generally work with family units. The most used tools are that of the genogram. When using the genogram, one usually looks at the family over the most current three generations. “In taking a genogram one inquires systematically into family patterns among aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc., in an attempt to gather information about patterns of closeness, distance and conflict (Wachtel, 1982).” That being said, there are four family units present within the move Parenthood (1989). There is Frank and Marilyn and their four children Susan, Gil, Larry and Helen Buckman, there is Susan and Nathan Huffner and their daughter Patty, Larry and his son Cool, Helen and her ex-husband Edward and her two children Garry and Julie, Julie herself and her boyfriend turned husband Tod and lastly, Gil and his wife Karen and their three children Kevin, Taylor and Justin. The last family unit, that of Gil and his wife Karen, is the one that this paper will be focusing on. About Family Unit
This family unit consists of two adults, Gil and Karen, and their three children, Kevin, their oldest son, Taylor their middle child and only daughter and Justin their youngest son; they also have a fourth child on the way. While this family looks crazy on the outside, it does have a method to the madness for those inside the family. Just like the three children that Gil and his wife Karen have raised, their family as a unit will hit and go through stages, both good and bad, and survive or not based on how well their family holds together. From an outsiders look, Gil and his wife, who are in the mid-30s to early 40s, play an active role in their children’s lives and like any good parents, worry about their children. They communicate well with each other and their family and have a healthy and respectful relationship.
This, however, is shadowed by the family’s oldest son Kevin who is experiencing problems at school. I saw that Gil and his eldest are very much alike in that they both like things a certain way and have a hard time dealing with things that change the way they like things. Because of the type of business that Gil is in and the way Gil goes at life, it is possible that he has a small case of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which could have passed down to his son either by his son imitating his father or just inheriting it. If that is not the case, then he passed down his anxiety and stress. While it is still unclear if such a disorder runs in the family, the NIMH states that, “…research indicates that OCD might run in families (NIMH, n.d.).” While not a clear sign of OCD, Kevin losing his retainer and then digging through garbage bins to find it might suggest it is true. This however is shown as more anxiety and stress that come with every teenagers period of life as they strife to fit in and been seen as normal by their peers. On that note, the relationship between the parents and their two other children, Taylor and Justin, is very good and even their two children get along as well as can be expected of brother and sister. However, with the oldest son receiving so much attention because of his stress and anxiety that worry both of their parents, Gil most of all, the two youngest are in danger of not receiving the attention they normally do which may result in them acting out to get attention. An article states that attention-seeking behavior in children, “…reflects a dysfunctional desire for more than one's fair share of...
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