Lindsey Toper SWU 171 10/23/08 Children and their Families I decided to choose the movie, Cheaper by the Dozen, to depict the topic of children and their families. The movie was released in 2003 and stars Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt as parents of the Baker family and parents of twelve children. The Baker family moves from the countryside to the city when the father gets his dream job as head football coach of his alma mater. At the same time, the mother gets her dream of getting her book published and going on a book tour. This leaves the father in charge of twelve children and a football team for a couple months while his wife is traveling on her book tour. This obviously leads to many troubles with the children and their family as a whole. Something I noticed while watching the movie was that the social learning theory was used quite a few times within the circle of siblings. The younger siblings would learn new concepts, new behaviors, and new ways to deal with problems through their older siblings, friends, and their parents. Many methods were used within the siblings too to bring about these new behaviors such as modeling and positive reinforcement. (Segal, Gerdes, & Steiner, 2007) I remember a part of the movie when an older sister was talking to her younger brother about how he was apart of their family no matter what and that nothing would change that. Positive reinforcement turned his spirits around and after their talk, he felt more apart of the family. I also noticed the psychosocial theory throughout the movie and especially when the family had to deal with the fact that their mother was going to be away for a couple months, and their father was going to take charge and play the role of the mother and father. To some people this wouldn?t be a major crisis but for a family like this, I believe this type of change could really have a huge affect on day-to-day life. They work through the crisis though and learn through each other how to deal with the crisis and how they can resolve it together. (Erikson, 1968) One of the siblings in Cheaper by the Dozen is adopted into the Baker family and always feels left out at times but the other siblings are always reassuring him that he is still apart of their family as well. Adoption involves legally moving a child to an adoptive family, in this case, the Baker family. (Segal, Gerdes, & Steiner, 2007) The Baker family never has huge problems where child protective services has to be called, or a social worker needs to be provided for the family but by the end of the movie, I decided they all definitely need to invest in group therapy or family therapy. All families have problems but with this family, they had trouble letting other family members know when there were problems and they had bad ways of resolving the problems sometimes. I also wanted to point out that if the family was ever to have serious problems and child protective services were to be called, the siblings would most likely be split up. This is probably one reason why I could never work for CPS because I think I would try too hard to preserve the families and keep the siblings together even when I knew it was nearly impossible. Child protective services have goals and they are to protect the children from abuse and neglect, preserve the families, and plan for permanency. (Segal, Gerdes, & Steiner, 2007) A social worker could aid in the situation (if their was one) by keeping contact with the children and the parents and forming a therapeutic relationship with them so he or she could dig deep into the situation. They also need to protect the children at all times so if taking the children away was the only solution, they would need to do that. To preserve a family of twelve children is incredibly hard and almost impossible without a miracle or very devoted relative so as a social worker, I would make sure the siblings have at least one other sibling living with them somewhere and I would make sure they are all close to each other such as in the same city or area. Although this movie didn?t have huge crisis, it did depict children and their families? very well. Lindsey Toper
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