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What's Eating Gilbert Grape Life Stages

2416 words - 10 pages

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape: A Look at Various Life Stages
COUN5004- Survey of Research in Human Development for Professional Counselors

The life stages for an individual changes as a person grows older and has various experiences in life. There is a change in the physical, intellectual, social, and emotional growth as an individual age. “The process of development is linked to internal conflicts, changing self-awareness, and a dynamic social environment” (Newman & Newman, 2012). Understanding the current stage, assist the counselor in therapeutically preparing for treatment. This paper will view the members of the Gilbert family including Gilbert, Arnie, and Bonnie ...view middle of the document...

“Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC;2010). This delay hinders Arnie in being capable to understand things at an age appropriate developmental level. Every since the Grape’s father death, the siblings have been responsible for caring for Arnie and the mother. The parental role is being shared among the siblings in their care for Arnie.
His early moral development is affected by this delay and the inconsistent parenting among the siblings. In the moral development domains, there are evidenced delays in the areas of emotion, knowledge, and action. This is evidenced by Arnie’s habit of climbing the tower in town regardless of redirection from authority figures and ill regard for his well being by participating in such a behavior. There is no true consequence for his negative behaviors. According to Newman & Newman (2012) “Moral behaviors can be shaped by the consequences that follow them” (pg 250). For a mental health counselor, teaching the family to develop moral development by introducing learning theories can assist in positive behaviors from Arnie. Evaluation of the family parental discipline techniques can help prepare treatment and carefully plan for treatment.
Arnie does not comprehend cause and effect. This is evidenced by the smashing of a bug in the mailbox and later feeling guilt for his actions. According to Piaget’s concrete operational stage, which occurs between six to eleven, Arnie is delayed as seen by his low computational skills of being able to understand cardinal numbers. The social expectations for Arnie are very low. Even though he turns 18 years old in the movie, his siblings are responsible for preparing his meals, supervising him at all times, bathing him, and his general care. The people in the town understand that Arnie is delayed and allows this delay to excuse his behaviors. Due to these expectations, Arnie does not feel a sense of inferiority. Newman & Newman (2012) stated “Feeling of worthlessness and inadequacy come from two sources: the self and the social environment (pg. 322). Arnie’s older brother attempted to assist Arnie in developing his industry by instructing Arnie to bathe himself. Arnie was unsuccessful in completing this task and remained in the tub all night until his brother took him out of the tub the next day.
Arnie’s developmental delay affects his neurological functions which causes difficulty for him in verbalizing himself to others. He seeks comfort from his mother to calm him down. In Newman & Newman (2012), “Healthy brain development must be coupled with a social environment that encourages hypothetical, abstract reasoning; opportunities to investigate and explore alternative solutions; and a well developed symbolic capacity for carrying out mental representations and operations” (pg 356). Without these skills and developmental delay, Arnie may not be...

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