Hallenges in Contemporary Youth Culture
Please paraphrase this paper. Do not include sources. I have them already.
Children and adolescents are faced with many challenges when attempting to follow what they feel are norms. In some instances norms can be positive for children and adolescents such as sports. But in some instances, they affect children and adolescents in a negative manner. The film My Girl was chosen illustrate child and adolescent culture. The leading character, Veda, is an 11 year old girl who is faced with some of these challenges when she is forced to conform to the norms of her culture (Brazer, Friendly, Cold, Caracciolo, 1991). In this paper, these challenges will be identified, ways in which a clinician can develop empathy for the children in the film will be discussed, a way to address one of the challenges the children faced will be discussed and insights related to an understanding of contemporary youth culture will be discussed.
In the film, the leading character is Veda who is faced with many of the challenges as a child. The most obvious challenge she is faced with is death. As her father in the film states, shes raised in a funeral home (Brazer et al., 1991). Death is all around this young lady in direct and indirect forms. She faced with indirect death by living in the funeral home and witnessing her father work with corpses, interacting with families who have lost a loved one and seeing many funeral services. Shes directly faced with death by the passing of her mother and best friend, Thomas J. Because she doesnt cope well with indirect death, when shes faced with the death of a close friend, she rejects it.
Being surrounded by death is a challenge for Veda b/c she is outcaste as a result of a circumstance that she has no control over. In one scene of the film, a group of boys pays Veda money to see a deceased person Brazer et al., 1991). Now, she doesnt actually show them anyones corpse, but this scene illustrated how other children find her circumstances bizarre.
Another challenge Veda is faced with in the film is seeking the attention of her father (Grazer et al., 1991). There were numerous scenes in which Veda displayed very bizarre behaviors and made very obvious attempts to gain the attention of her father. This is a challenge that many children and adolescents face because they often seek the attention and approval of those close to them. Often times, they do this prior to seeking the attention elsewhere which in many cases can lead to negative results. Sometimes, parents are unable to give children the attention they desire due to busy work schedules or they dont possess the knowledge that children need attention.
Another challenged Veda faces in the film is her self-esteem (Brazer et al., 1991). There was a scene in which she was speaking to Shelly and she asked Shelly does she feel she is pretty (Brazer et al., 1991). There is another scene in which a group of girls teased her for being friends with a boy, Thomas J (Brazer et al., 1991). This is a challenge for Veda, because at her developmental age, being accepted by her peers is important to her (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, 2013).
According to Kirst-Ashman and Hull (2012), empathy involves not only being in tune with how a client feels, but also conveying to the client that you understand how he or she feels (p. 56). Showing empathy is very effective when working with children or adolescents. Conveying the message that you understand their feelings or situation is a great way to enhance worker-client relationships (Kirst-Ashman and Hull).
In regards to the film, one way to develop empathy is to acknowledge their friendship. In the film they were criticized by their peers for being friends because they are of opposite sex. Acknowledging them as friends and not mentioning their sex is a way to display empathy for them. Making comments like, you guys get along pretty well and Im sure Veda/Thomas J is a pretty dependable friend are ways to acknowledge their friendship without passing judgment of the fact that they are opposite sex.
Another way to develop empathy for Veda to acknowledge to her that you understand it can be difficult living in a funeral home, which is a business. Ways to do this is to perhaps acknowledge that their house may be busy, there may be a lack of privacy or they may have a lot of family interruptions. Developing this empathy with Veda can be very instrumental in developing initial rapport with her.
Death can be difficult for many adults, so one can assume this for children as well. From this film the because she is used to it, does not means she is used to it approach can be taken. One cannot assume that because Veda is faced with death daily in an indirect manner, that she should know how to handle death. This was one challenge faced by this adolescent in this film, but unfortunately many youth and adolescents are faced with many challenges when attempting to conform to youth culture. As social workers, we must remain cognizant of these challenges to better prepare ourselves to be able to work with the youth and adolescents.