View Two Movies Focusing On Adolescent Development
Adolescence is a stage of physical and psychological development that occurs between puberty and adulthood. It is usually the time of the teenage years although it has physical, psychological and cultural expressions that begin earlier or can end later Jaffe, 1998.
Adolescence is also a time for cognitive development which takes place rapidly. Piaget in his cognitive development theory defines adolescence at the stage when the thoughts of the individual start taking more of an abstract form and where the egocentric thoughts of the individual decrease. This allows the adolescent to think and reason from a wider viewpoint. There are also biological changes which take place in the brain structure and its interaction with the increased knowledge, experience and the changing demands of the individual socially therefore it produces a rapid cognitive growth Golden & Norwood, 1993.
Development of adolescents has been featured in several movies and there is a lot that a counselor can learn from these movies. A counselor needs to be well versed on adolescent development in order to be able to counsel adolescents and there is a lot that they can learn from these movies that depict adolescent development.
Thirteen is the story of a girl who is thirteen years old and how she relates to her mother. This relationship is put to the test when her mother discovers that she has been using drugs, engages in teenage sex and other petty crimes in the company of her cool but troubled best friend. For many years, Tracy is a smart girl who was a straight A student although she had always been naive. This led her to be cheated by her best friend, Evie who was the most beautiful and popular girl in their school. This friendship leads Tracy down a path that is filled with sex, drugs and other petty crimes. These petty crimes include stealing money from people's purses and stealing money from stores.
Tracy was led down this path as a result of the painful relationship that she suffered with her mother as a result of having a broken family and her mother's boyfriend known as Brady. Tracy begins to smoke and cut herself in order to alleviate this emotional pain that she suffers. As Tracy transforms herself to become a ruin and her identity changes, her world becomes one that is fueled by tension that exists between her, her mother and her mother's boyfriend. New tension forms between Tracy, her teachers and her new friends.
Her life after meeting Evie changed and became upside down. However, it didn't take too long for the new world and attitude of Tracy to take a tool on her, her friends and her family. It all began by her wanting to fit in more with the cool crowd in school but she got more than that. Tracy gave in to peer pressure and this made her turn to her darkest side one that none of her friends, family or relatives had seen. Her mother was also a recovering substance abuser and had been a dropout of high school. Therefore her life was nor a good example for Tracy to follow. The boyfriend of Tracy's mother was also a former addict of cocaine. Since her mother was struggling to provide for the family, Tracy has to do with second hand clothes.
When Tracy met Evie, they went "shopping" in Hollywood but Tracy was unaware that shopping meant shoplifting. This is where Tracy's life of petty crimes began. Tracy and Evie become ever closer as she and her mom grow more apart. This is what leads to the emotional troubles of Tracy who then ends up cutting herself in order to deal with the stress.
Tracy's mom manages to take Evie back to live with her legal guardian, Brooke who is working as a bartender. Tracy seems to agree with her mother's step and this is what led to the fall between Evie and Tracy. Evie began snubbing Tracy and betraying her at school. She also told everyone that Tracy has stolen some items at school. This made Tracy to continue becoming an outcast at school. Tracy began getting bad grades and she soon realizes that she may have to repeat her seventh-grade year as a result of this.
One day, Tracy returns home to find Evie, Brooke and her mother waiting for her. She is confronted about her behavior which Tracy readily blames Evie for. Evie, however, as manipulative as she is, manages to convince them that Tracy was the mastermind of the thefts and drug abuse. Evie also manages to get Brooke to side with her. Brooke informs Tracy that they were moving away to get away from her. Tracy's mom tries to defend her daughter which leads to a bad fight leading to Brooke and Evie being chased away.
The movie then ends as the relationship between mother and daughter is rekindled as they hug and fall asleep together and then Tracy wakes up with a confident fresh start and realizes that her future has become quite uncertain as a result of her behavior but has hope of a brighter future.
The movie shows that adolescents are very prone to peer pressure from their school friends. Therefore a good point for the counselor to note is to encourage the adolescent to form meaningful relationships with friends who bring positive effects to their lives rather than those who bring negative developments.
The movie shows that the relationship between an adolescent and her parents is extremely important and thus it is important as a counselor to remind the parents that they need to develop a good relationship with their children. Additionally, the movie shows us that parents need to set good examples for their children. This starts with the parent being cooperative and changing any bad behavior that they had. Since there is a potential for an intergenerational-cycle of the parent's bad behavior, as a counselor, it is important to let the parents know that their children look up to them thus they need to set good examples for them.
Another important concept that is learnt from the movie is that parents always tend to believe their children are the best. They are easily swayed by manipulative children. Therefore, as a counselor, it is important to let the parents understand that their children could be prone to lying and that they should be able and willing to accept this as a fact.
Kids is a movie set in the mid-90s Manhattan. It is about Telly who is a nihilist. Nihilism is a revolutionary doctrine which advocates for the destruction of the social system for their own sake. Telly's business in life was to deflower virgins. He does so not because he is in love with the lady nor is it because he enjoys the sex. Rather, it is because he believes that through the act of taking away the virginity of young girls he can be sage from contracting any sexually transmitted infections since the girls have never had sexual relations with any other man before.
After Telly deflowered his latest conquest, Sarah, he and his friend, Casper runs to town looking for some kind of distraction. Meanwhile, two of Telly's former sex partners received mixed news from a test they took at a public health clinic. Jennie who had had sex only once with Telly is diagnosed to be HIV positive while Ruby who was promiscuous is clean. Important to note is that Jennie had not had sex with anyone else other than Telly. This news leaves Jennie devastated and she begins searching for Telly to let him know about this.
Telly and Casper have their adventures in town where they buy weed from a dealer in the park, they shoplift malt liquor from a store run by a Korean guy, they beat up a man who had hurled insults at them and they also go to a party that is full of teenagers during the night. Telly meets with another girl who is thirteen years old and seduces her. As Telly is busy deflowering her, Jennie who had taken a strange drug earlier in the day, arrives and passes out on the couch. Casper finds Jennie passed out on the couch and takes advantage of the situation by going ahead to rape Jennie thus getting infected with HIV.
Kids tells a story of how teens in New York City are living and how their world can be quite disturbing from those observing it. The film focuses on the controversial issue of teenage sex which is quite common among the adolescents of New York City. It exposes the grim reality of a group of skate-boarders who are thought to be the cool people in the society. Primarily, the whole plot of the movie takes place within 24 hours and it shows how fast HIV can be spread through unprotected sex.