Parenthood: Psychology and Birth Order

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Every family system is unique and one of the major contributing factors that determine that is birth order. There have been studies that have been conducted that suggest that your identity, character and personality can be swayed by the order you were born. In the 1989 movie Parenthood, the complexity, culture, gender issues and constant changing of family is examined. This essay will take a deeper look at two family systems from Parenthood and determine their ‘typical’ and ‘untypical’ birth order behaviors. Gil and Karen Buckman have raised their three kids in such a way that they all exhibit ‘typical’ birth order behavior. Kevin is the oldest and strives for perfection through academics and athletics; this is one of the main characteristics of being a first born. In school Kevin’s teacher informs Mr. and Mrs. Buckman that Kevin has emotional problems and too many worries for his age and suggests that a Special Ed program. The Buckman’s do not feel the need to put him into special classes, and will have him start seeing a therapist; this is because they feel he is a direct reflection on them. Kevin also plays baseball, and during the games demonstrates fear of failing. Parents often look at the first born as a second parent and this can be related back to Kevin when he says, “I have to do everything…” At the end of the film Kevin also tells his father that he wants to be just like him when he grows up; this is no surprise because Gil (also a first born) is a business executive and first borns like law, order and definite boundaries. ‘Typical’ first borns have high expectations for themselves (Kevin shows this in baseball, always beating himself up) and strive to live up to their parents expectations. Taylor is the middle child of Gil and Karen and is not shown in the movie as much as her two brothers. Middle children tend to crave attention and there in a scene in the movie where Taylor gets in trouble at school for kissing too many boys, and by...
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