The film ‘This Boy’s Life has clearly brought up the concept of dysfunctional families through its character Caroline. She is unconventional eager to travel and discover instead of making babies and being oppressed by her husband. However, she looks her son but her decisions are proving of destruction including the decision to remarrying in the effort to providing Toby with a stable and a safe home life. In an attempt to assume the conventional family oriented lifestyle, Caroline betraysherself and suffer for the decision undertaken which is not the intention of inflicting harm on herself or Toby. Caroline and her son pack their luggage after her divorce and drive to Washington with the hope of starting fresh. She hopes that her son, Toby will overcome the situation, cope with life and being to perform better with her school work. They settle in an ominous town named Concrete, where Caroline met Dwight, a man willing to marry her. Dwight is determined that her marriage with Dwight will work out because she promises her security and to be a father figure to the young boy. Caroline’s temper is mild similar to that of her son. When Toby cause serious problems and shamed himself by stealing. Caroline cannotbear thethought ofstriking and even reprimand him verbally. Her restraints are a direct result of her abusive experience from her former husband; she is scared by violence and cruelty she encountered (Travers, 1993).
Dwight’s true personality is revealed after the Toby spends months with him separately from her mother and the other siblings. Toby stepfather seems to be willing to mold him into a better person, but the approach used abuses the boy physically, verbally and emotionally. As the marriage proceeds, Caroline realized that the Dwight objective is to dominate the marriage and every person around him. She is patient because she believe the marriage is for the best of her son, however, several of dysfunction arises. In the course of his school life he befriends a classmate, who is misfit and ambiguous homosexual. Toby continues to suffer under the authority of his stepfather with the hope of leaving Concrete town to live with his brother. He applies for a scholarship in the East Coast prep-school.
When a child grows up in a dysfunctional family, they experience trauma and pain from the actions, attitude and words of their parents. The trauma experienced as the child grows is different from other children because they miss the essential part as they prepare for adulthood for being forced into unnatural role in their family. Some people became adults and tend to overcome past pain through drug abuse. Other are forced to repeat abusive action and word on their children and their spouse while other develop anxiety feeling without knowing why and how to handle the situation. Adysfunctional family is characterized with a strained relationship between children and their parents. The problem arises when one member of the family has a serious personal problem that affect every member of the family, and every member of the family is constrained to adapt to their role in the family for survival (Myers, Abell & Sani, 2014, p. 57).
Toby is experiencing deficient parenting from his stepfather and the continuous absenteeism of his mother hurting him by omission rather than commission. Dwight control Caroline is resulting to emotional withdrawal for Toby to ignore his needs and feelings. Toby is unable to take his role as a boy making his get the company of a classmate who is emotional misfit making him feel inadequate and guilty. His stepfather is controlling with the assumption that he has attained the appropriate age. Dwight dominates and make a decision for Toby without even consulting him mother and consideration of his age. Dwight aims at being relevant like a father figure and mold Toby’s life to be a responsible adult. He is also afraid that he might become unnecessary to Toby. As a result, Toby feels powerless and inadequate to control his life making him apply for a scholarship and over away from his abuse step-father. Toby experienceisverbal and physical abuse. Verbal abuse includes belittling criticism from an entrusted person with the care of Toby. Dwight criticism is on Toby intelligence, basic value and capabilities directly. On the other, physical abuse arises when parent strikes their child. Striking a child is aimed at meeting emotional expectations with the concern on the child. Dwight defended his action of abusing Toby physicallyas a way disciplining the child. The relationship between Toby and Dwight is developed on terror because the abuse is unpredictable and random. Toby has a tremendous difficulty in developing feelings safety and trust from him step-father and classmates at school. As a result of abuse and excessive control from his step-father, Toby suffers from low self-esteem making to believe that he does not deserve good things in life. He is depressed and became anxious on his life. Toby feeling that he cannot accomplish his goals in the presence of his father, but with the support of him older brother who understands his needs (Allen, 2010, p. 115).
Dysfunctional family theory is used in criminal justice system to understand the motivating factor for people who are frequently involved in crimes. The home environment in a child develops determine to a large proportion of their adult life. The criminal justice system stress on criminal punishment and liability after a crime has been committed. Dysfunction family theory can be used to reduce and prevents through counseling sessions for people who encountered a hostile relationship with their parents. According to research, half of all sentenced young offenders encountered violence at home. 42 percent of the female offender were either abused by their parents or their former husbands (Twenge, 2006, p. 28). The nature of offenders’ relationship with their parents and the behavior of offender’s parent can be used to identify the compelling factor to engage in criminal activities (Siegel, 2010, p. 104).
When a child grows up in a dysfunctional family, they experience trauma and pain from the actions, attitude and words of their parents. The trauma experienced as the child grows is different from other children because they miss the essential part as they prepare for adulthood for being forced into unnatural role in their family. Some people became adults and tend to overcome past pain through drug abuse. Other are forced to repeat abusive action and word on their children and their spouse while other develop anxiety feeling without knowing why and how to handle the situation. Dysfunctional family theory is used in criminal justice system to understand the motivating factor for people who are frequently involved in crimes. The nature of offenders’ relationship with their parents and the behavior of offender’s parent can be used to identify the compelling factor to engage in criminal activities.
Allen, D. M. (2010). How dysfunctional families spur mental disorders: A balanced approach to resolve problems and reconcile relationships. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger.
Myers, D. G., Abell, J., & Sani, F. (2014). Social psychology. London: McGraw Hill.
Siegel, L. J. (2010). Introduction to criminal justice. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Travers, P. (1993). This Boy’s Life | Rolling Stone. Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/this-boys-life-19930409
Twenge, J. M. (2006). Generation me: Why today’s young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled–and more miserable than ever before. Simon and Schuster.