Case Study: Relationship of Mark, an Adolescent

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[. . .] He had always obeyed his parents, even if it were grudgingly so because they were his parents. He never talked back to his parents and was never considered a problem. However, when he was 17 years old he began to view the actions, beliefs, and philosophies of his parents in a different light.

One of the first instances occurred when his father, a staunch republican was watching a political television advertisement and began belittling democrats as being "stupid" and "communists." Mark, who was watching the television as well and had studied communism in his Government class in school thought that the advertisement which advocated placing more money in developing homeless shelters and to develop funds to help impoverished people made sense to him. He told his father that it is not communist to want to help poor people and that it is the duty of citizens that are not poor to assist with those who are in need. His father was somewhat shocked by his son's defiance, but stated that the redistribution of wealth by the government was the philosophy of communists. Mark pointed out that there was no mention of redistributing wealth in the advertisement, just the development of programs for the poor and needy. His became angered and stated that people without jobs and without homes should not be taken care of with tax dollars. These people were "lazy" and were looking for a hand out. "When I was growing up if you did not work you did not eat" Mark's father added. Mark stated that not all homeless people were lazy and that many were unable to work for various reasons ranging from disabilities to 'societal imparity" a term one of his teachers had used. Mark's father replied that Mark was too young to understand life and that he should listen to his father because his father lived in the "real" world and had to support a family and understood life better than Mark. He told Mark to go do his homework and that he did not want to hear anymore "communist" philosophies. Mark told his father that some aspects of socialism were actually good, but that he was not a communist. He felt that his father was being extremely unfair and felt a strong sense of dislike for his father following his father telling him to go do his homework. Mark was angered but decided not to say anything else.

These political debates became even more heated. As Mark learned more in school he began to question his father's political views more often. For instance, when the Obama administration passed the healthcare bill Mark's father was quite furious. However, Mark told his father that he believed that some form of national healthcare plan was a good idea. His father continued to be surprised at his son's voicing opinions that were not in harmony with what he had believed and preached for years. He was also surprised at his son's logic: that a national health care is an equal right of all people, that there should be the implementation of that right through a social insurance system that provides universal health coverage, equitable financing of health care, and a commitment to equality in health care. Mark's father found his argument hard to dispute. More and more Mark was able to apply logic and look at all the elements of an argument and apply solutions to them. However, when Mark told his father that he would be a democrat Mark's father began to question his logic. Mark's father pointed out that the democrats supported such things as big government, higher taxes, and more government programs. He believed that people prosper better if they work on their own, have less government support, and are allowed to spend their money as opposed to giving it to the government. Mark countered that the republicans stacked the deck in favor of the rich and that in order for there to be truly equal opportunities in the country the government had to intervene. This led to a very heated argument where Mark called his father's views arcane and stupid. He was sent to his room.

Mark also began questioning the way his father did things. For instance, when Mark went to the grocery store to help his father with the grocery shopping as his mother had the flu he questioned his father's choices. He pointed out that by buying generic brands actually saved a substantial amount of money and often by looking at the differences between the larger sizes of an item and buying several smaller sizes one could save a substantial amount of money. In some instances the two argued over the best strategy, but also Mark's father took his son's advice on several occasions.

Nonetheless, Mark's logic failed to serve him more often than it worked for him in confrontations with his father. For instance, Mark wanted to set up a workout area in the basement with some weight-lifting equipment and some other exercise equipment in the basement, which was not being used for anything specific; however, when Mark's father heard of it he told Mark that he did not want a gym in the basement. When Mark questioned him as to why his father simply told him that it was his basement and he did not want to have a gym in it. Mark argued that the basement was not being used for anything and what difference did it make if he put in a small gym down there, no one was using it. But Mark's father still declined stating that he did not want a gym in the house. Mark told his father that his logic was faulty and that it made no sense. He became quite upset and went to his room muttering he would be glad when he left the home.

Mark began to question the clothes that his parents bought for him to wear. For instance, some of the slacks and shirts his father had bought were a little too "formal" for Mark. When he decided to wear blue jeans and a tee-shirt to school one morning his father, who was on his way to work, stopped him and told him to dress better for school. Mark complained that everybody dressed this way and that everyone will think he is a "dork" if he keeps wearing dress slacks and shirts to school. His father was having none of this and told him that "No son of mine will go to school looking like a hobo. I work too hard for that." Mark became very depressed and went up to his room stomping the floor and throwing his clothes around the room while crying and thinking to himself what an idiot he looked like all dressed up at school when everybody wore jeans. He felt for sure that everyone thought that he dressed like a "tool." Nonetheless, Mark reluctantly changed his clothes; however, he continued to blame his father for everyone thinking he was a dork. This ritual happened several times with each time his father making him change his clothes. He blamed his father for not understanding how he felt and what it was like to be in school. According to Mark his father had no idea what he felt and how everyone must think he is a prude. Interestingly he was later voted one of the best-dressed in his senior class, an honor that later made him quite proud.

The tension between mark and his father continued to mount. For years, Mark and his brother went to church every Sunday on a church bus that stopped by the house to pick them up. Their parents insisted that the boys attend church, but they themselves never went. Mark viewed this as being unfair. One Sunday he confronted his father by asking why he and mother did not attend church and yet Mark and Roger were made to go weekly. Mark's father told him that he was to go to church because his father told him that he had to go and not to question his father's authority. Mark replied that his father was a hypocrite for not doing what he made his children do. He added that it was not fair and that his father should set an example for his children by practicing what he preached. Mark's father told him that he spent years in church and that Sunday was his only off day from work. He wanted to relax on Sunday, but he believed that Mark and his son should go to church in order to form their own opinions regarding God and how they believed concerning spiritual issues. He wanted Mark and Roger to have good religious training in order to deal with the weightier issues regarding life's meaning later in their lives. He told Mark at the end of his senior year in high school he could decide on his own whether or not he… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Relationship of Mark, an Adolescent.  (2012, April 5).  Retrieved June 26, 2019, from

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"Relationship of Mark, an Adolescent."  5 April 2012.  Web.  26 June 2019. <>.

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"Relationship of Mark, an Adolescent."  April 5, 2012.  Accessed June 26, 2019.