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BESC1061 : Developmental Psychology

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BESC1061 : Developmental Psychology

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BESC1061 : Developmental Psychology

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Course Code: BESC1061
University: Australian College Of Applied Psychology is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia


The purpose of this case study is to integrate the understanding of two developmental theories with a practical example. Within this integration is an identification, analysis and evaluation of major life themes with the inclusion of strengths and challenges faced by a fictional character.
Your Case Study will need to address:
· Case study written and is inclusive of the naming of major life themes in the chosen source· Identification of the chosen character with a brief summary of the context in which the character is introduced· Identification of key aspects of each of the two major developmental theories and application of these theories to an analysis of the life stages of the character, including the strengths and challenges faced by the character· Reference to current literature and integration of relevant theory into your discussion


The “Parenthood” is a 1989 film directed by Ron Howard, which covers different family matters in Buckman family. The film “Parenthood” has different characters in different stages of life. They stages range from the earliest stages of life all the way to elderly. The five generations of the Buckman family demonstrate the world the problems, as well as joys of family. These challenges along with joys in the films may be experienced on several families. The whole of Buckman extended family and otherwise, struggles to raise their kids the “right” way since they are not happy with the manner they were raised as they want their kids to be better than them. This implies that the children have some development concerns that will be addressed by development theories.  In this movie, there are different characters that demonstrate diverse life transitions that show developments aspects because of these transitions. These stages that exist among the characters can be described using different development theories to explain, especially those characters that are in transition (Ilinger-Tallman & Cooney, 2005). For this assignment, Julie Buckman is a character that is transiting from youthful life into marriage where she will be leaving home and join his husband and she is also pregnant and expecting a baby. This paper will analyze Julie Character as an ideal character using development theories.
Major Themes
The major themes in the film are, parenting and development within the family settings whereby the families to struggle to the relationship amid different challenges. Theorists that organize childhood in addition to adolescence into detailed stages of development consider that how caretakers persuade a child at every phase would impact the child’s emotional health, social ability along with general personality.  The movie shows four generations of a family as well as demonstrates how parenting styles affect the children. The movie is about parents attempting their best to bring up normal and adjusted children; what they learn to loosen up, as well as accept their kid’s imperfections. The majority of the families look on outside, they all have some kind of challenges in the inside (Olson DeFrain & Skogrand, 2011). There are many parenting styles that are evident in the movie that entails a list of behaviors, which parents employ to influence the behavior of their kids. The film is about a lot of parents and children-four generations, from a traditional matriarch to a 3-year old. Since nearly every character in this film ha both parents and children, at least everyone is both a parent and child, and much of the movie’s strength emanates from the manner it sees each generation in response to its parents’ emotions of parenthood (Johnson & Lambert, 2014).
Character Analysis
Julie Buckman (Martha Plimpton) is a female character that is in young adulthood life and has a boyfriend named Todd.  Julie is liberated youthful female character who is not opposed to getting her giggity in her mother’s house. She is smart, and scores highly on her SAT’s prior to turning up married, pregnant, as well as in no fit to be beginning a family with a person who is jobless. Julie comes from a single-parent family where her mother is Helen (Pusse & Walter, 2013). Julie and Todd represent the committed-partners family for the most part of the film. Julie lives in a macro system that says being sexually active is okay (Bannink, 2007).  The microsystem with mom is exactly the opposite (Ilinger-Tallman & Cooney, 2005, p. 18). Thus, this offers Helen a premature overcrowded nest just when she is starting a association with a science educator, Mr. Bowman. This jam-packed house is maintained to keep Julie in addition to Todd from poverty. This too keeps Julie in school and out of the work force. Living at home to eradicate monetary cost is repeatedly a motivation adult kids to return their parents’ homes. In the end of the movie, Julie and Todd give parenthood the college try. Julie’s arc is majorly about learning to be less impulsive, as well as stick with her decisions (Johnson & Lambert, 2014).  
Development Theories
For many years, human being has effectively reproduced and brought up kids who have evolved to form the society. In the Parenthood movie there are two families that strive to raise the children in the right manner in the society so that they become responsible parent when they grow up. Parenting is a field where generations upon generations of human beings have succeeded and yet the concept “parent” has become widely used during the 1980s (Ishak et al., 2012). In the same way, the area of positive psychology is comparatively novel with the field only becoming distinct in 1998 (McLeod, 2018). Julie is one of the characters in the movie in which her mother want her to live a life that will not have challenges by not marrying Todd. The development theories that will used to describe Julie’s transition from young adulthood to adulthood phase that presents several challenges are Jean Piaget theory and Erick Erickson theory. These theories will provide an understanding on the transition of Julie.
Jean Piaget Theory
Jean Piaget theory is appropriate in looking at Julie’s transition from young adulthood to the world of parenthood. Julie transited to parenthood by leaving her mother and joining Todd who is the boyfriend. Despite objection from her mother not to get married to Todd, Julie demonstrated a strong will to marry and start a family with Todd who is jobless. Jean Piaget (Swiss psychologist) fashioned a cognitive-developmental stage theory, which described the manner children’s behaviors of thinking because they interacted with the world around them (Peterson, 2013). Piaget theory underscore the fact that cognitive development plays an important in the development of human beings as it determines the preparedness of the individual to reason while making life decisions. Piaget offers four fundamental stages in cognitive development of individuals. These stages include sensory motor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational (Abrhiem, 2014).
Julie has successfully navigated through the first three phases of cognitive development and currently struggles with the fourth and the last stage of cognitive development-formal operational stage. Julie attempts to make life decisions towards becoming a parent by marrying Todd. However, her mother (Helen) is opposed to Julie marrying Todd because her mother believes that this relationship will not work because Todd is without employment. In the formal operational stage, which more often lasts from the age of 11 years, adolescents learn to reason more abstractly to resolve challenges and to reason symbolically. In the movie, it is clear that Julie want to marry Todd so that they become financially independent, yet the current boyfriend has no job and it appears life will be full of challenges. This is prompted by the fact that Julie is pregnant and they are trying to cope with life while they are students. Her reasoning is abstract because becoming a parent at the college level will be challenging since meeting their basic needs will not be easy. Therefore, Julie reasoning is not based on reality but on the abstract world. According to Piaget theory, Julie is in the formal operations stage of development, which is the final stage of cognitive development (Walsh, 2003).
Erik Erikson Theory
Erik Erikson (1959) was a psychoanalyst who pioneered a model of lifespan development and unlike several of his peers; he acknowledged that human beings carry on evolving all through their lives. Thus, at each level of development, Erikson believes that there is a psychosocial crisis that emanates from a blend of social and maturational realities. This implies that individuals affected have a role to resolve the crisis prior to subsequent crisis. The success in resolving the conflict will result in virtuous characteristics while unresolved crisis will upset the normal development process of the affected person (McLeod, 2018).
Julie in the film is considered being the first character who is a young adult.  It is apparent that Julie is character in the movie that faces psychosocial crisis because of trying to leave home and enter into parenthood with Todd. Julie is in early adulthood characterized by intimacy and isolation where love drives her decisions into adulthood through embracing parenthood despite being in college (Wilcox & Kline, 2013). This would place Erikson young adulthood stage of development. Julie demonstrates this stage in many ways. First, Julie is very attached to Todd, who is her boyfriend and will do anything to make sure that she retains and keep Todd in her relationship (Blondal & Adalbjarnardottir, 2009). This intimacy is very strong that drives her crazy and doing things that affect her college education. She values her affection more and likes the idea of being in love with Todd and anyone criticizing her relationship becomes an enemy. Furthermore, Julie has become pregnant at a young age and appears to be satisfied with this state with having child and becoming a parent and having family of her own (In Capuzzi & In Stauffer, 2016). Julie is seen to be very concerned with what Todd does as need to ensure that she retains his companionship. For Julie, her relationship is very important towards ensuring that she becomes a parent and would not turn back. Intimacy and isolation is common in the character of Julie who has made sure that she defends her boyfriend from an attack from her mother. Her mother is against the relationship of Julie and her boyfriend. Therefore, Julie goes to the extreme end when she decided to marry Todd that shows her craving for that serious relationship. She feels that the emotion of love for Todd and is very emotionally attached to him (Abrhiem, 2014).
The movie “Parenthood” is a perfect case of transition of characters from one stage to another where there are many challenges that the characters face while making transition. Julie is character that is making a transition to parenthood and makes decisions that have impacted her life. Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson theories provide a basis towards understanding the stages that Julie passes through and decisions she makes in her life. Based on Piaget theory, Julie is in formal operational stage where her reasoning makes to move towards parenthood while using Erik Erikson theory emphasizes the intimate relationship between Julie and Todd. She believes that she needs a serious relationship that will make her happy. Generally, the movie represents her perfect example where characters transition from one stage of development to another.
Abrhiem, T.A. (2014). The Role of Parenting Styles in Psychosocial Development of Adolescents. Business and Management Review. 3(11) pp. 47 – 52.
Bannink, F. P. (2007). Solution-focused mediation: The future with a difference. Conflict Resolution Quarterly , 163-183.
Blondal, K., & Adalbjarnardottir, S. (2009). Parenting practices and school dropout: A longitudinal study. Adolescence, 44, 729-744.Johnson, A., & Lambert, C. I. (2014). Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey Across the Life Line. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Ilinger-Tallman, M. & Cooney, T. M. (2005). Families in Context: An Introduction. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
In Capuzzi, D., & In Stauffer, M. D. (2016). Human growth and development across the lifespan: Applications for counselors. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Ishak, Z., Low, S.F., & Lau, P.L. (2012). Parenting style as a moderator for students’ academic 1achievement. Journal of Science Education & Technology, 21(4), 487-493.
McLeod, S. (2018). Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development. Simply Psychology. Retrieved August 6, 2018 from
Olson, D. H., DeFrain, J., & Skogrand, L. (2011). Marriages and Families: Intimacy, Diversity and Strengths (seventh edition). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Peterson, C. (2013). Looking Forward Through the Lifespan eBook. Melbourne: P.Ed Australia.
Pusse, T.-K., & Walter, K. (2013). Precarious parenthood: Doing family in literature and film. Berlin : Lit.
Reiter, M. D. (2007). The use of expectation in solution-focused formula tasks. Journal of Family Psychotherapy , 18; 1-28.
Walsh, F. (2003). Normal Family Process: Growing Diversity and Comlexity (Third Edition). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Wilcox, W. B., & Kline, K. K. (2013). Gender and parenthood: Biological and social scientific perspectives. New York : Columbia University Press.

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