Parenting Styles: Big Daddy Most Parents Essay

Pages: 3 (1003 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

Parenting Styles: Big Daddy

Most parents do not use a singular parenting style, but combine a variety of techniques, spanning the spectrum of authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative styles. In the 1999 film Big Daddy, the title character played by Adam Sandler immediately strikes the viewer as kind of a 'big kid,' an overgrown thirty-two-year-old adolescent likely to use a permissive style with the five-year-old child he unexpectedly acquires. This tendency of Sonny Kofax to be permissive is almost immediately underlined when he allows the young boy to choose his own clothing, no matter how inappropriate or outrageous, and agrees to go along with the boy's whim call himself 'Frankenstein' rather than his real name, that of Julian Sandler's Sonny more often parents by example -- but rather than encourage Julian by setting a good example, he often encourages the child by 'bad' examples. For example, when the two of them are not allowed to use a restaurant restroom, he instructs the child that the two of them have to use the wall of the restaurant alley in revenge. It is Sonny, not Julian who takes the initiative in this action.

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However, this type of authoritative style can be used in a positive fashion "to be warm and exert firm control" (Cook & Cook 2005, p. 452). A parent dining at a restaurant who wants his or her child to eat vegetables can order vegetables with his or her own dinner. By eating the vegetables and appearing to enjoy them, the parent has more credibility when the child is asked to at least try one bite. This combination of firm guidance that still allows for choice is one reason, psychologists believe, that children raised with an authoritative style of parenting tend to be more successful in school and work. The style fosters personal responsibility and autonomy as well as encourages self-regulation and the instillation of positive values (Cook & Cook 2005, p. 453).

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In contrast, permissive parents only act as indulgent 'friends' to their children, or discipline with a verbal 'slap on the wrist.' They may even condone or ignore their child's drug abuse, as when Sonny says to Julian: Man, this Yoo-Hoo is good…Know what's even better? Smokin' dope." Of course it could be argued that Julian does not understand what Sonny is saying, but many would argue that by taking such a lax attitude, when Julian does begin to understand (and he will, perhaps sooner than his parent anticipates) the ground has been laid for permissive parental attitudes towards real bad behavior. Even if parents in real life do not make such extreme statements as those used in Big Daddy for comic effect, simply by joking about drugs and promiscuity in a 'friendly' and lighthearted manner can send the wrong message to adolescents.

But Sandler also does provide some positive examples of parenting in an authoritative fashion -- when it looks like he will lose custody of Julian, he uses a bedtime story to indicate that they will see one… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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