1. Identify and describe the parenting style of Precious’ mother? How did this parent style impact Precious in terms of her physical, cognitive, social and moral development? Provide very specific examples. Precious’ mother exhibit’s extremely authoritarian parenting style and some aspects of neglectful parenting. Her authoritarian parenting comes in the form of her need to always be in control and exerts that control on Precious. She always wants things to be done her way and does not give precious a chance to have a say in anything. She tells Precious she should not go to school but rather rely on welfare checks. She wants precious to cook for her whenever she wants. She does not show any warmth or affection for Precious or her two grandchildren. She is verbally and physically abusive. She is also neglectful because she is more concerned about her own wants and needs does not care about Precious. Impact
Physical- The poor parenting style of Precious’ mother, led to her daughter’s sexual abuse, and early pregnancy. Precious demeanor was always of anger and frustration that she experienced at home. Her mother was not concerned about what her daughter ate and she obviously ate whatever was available, hence her obesity. Cognitive- She had problems learning at school. She did not have the right environment and parents to motivate intellectual growth and her mother kept telling her she is stupid and can’t learn anything. It took the help of Ms Rain to develop her learning ability. Poor problem solving skills when people made funny of her in school she became really aggressive.
Social- She shows aggressive behavior in school, she is aggressive towards the little girl in the neighborhood and later towards her mother. She does not show a friendly disposition, hardly smiled; she almost always looked angry and frustrated. Moral-Precious showed some morally inappropriate behavior such as stealing the bucket of chicken when she was hungry and had nothing else to eat. She did not show any concern about being caught or any remorse or regret for her action. Being aggressive and verbally abusive are also morally inappropriate.
2. What is the task of adolescence according to Erikson? (See chapter 11). In your opinion, did Precious accomplish gthe task/challenge? Explain your answer. According to Erikson, the task of adolescence is to “decide who they are, what they are all about and where they are going in life”. This is based on his fifth developmental stage- identity vs identity confusion. She spent most times trying to figure out who she was. For every situation she went through, she did not exactly imagine herself to be hopeless. She always seem to have some sort of “out-of body” experience of her being someone famous, beautiful, loved, with dignity and class and achieving her dreams. Through dreams and fantasies she paints a picture of who she really wants to be and in the latter part of the movie, with the support she had got from Ms Rain, her friends, and others, she knew she was headed towards fulfilling her dreams. She indeed accomplished the Erikson’s task of adolescence, she worked hard, got rid of the belief that she was stupid and dumb, made huge improvement in her TABE exam.
She rejected going back with her Mom because she was now sure of the kind of life she wanted to live and she would not let anyone or anything stop her. As she walks away with her kids and future ahead, it was obvious she had an idea of where she was going. 3. What role did peer influence have on Precious while she attended the Alternative Higher Education Program? Peer influence at the Alternative higher education really influenced Precious positively. Finally, she had people who understood her and were willing to listen to her. She had people who believed in her, stood by her when she had her baby. The girls were not perfect, she had some not so good moments with them but even in their imperfections, they were people she could relate with. Being able to read her story to them, and hear their story, gave her a sense of belonging. When Ms Rain asked her how she feels participating in class she said “I feel here”. This is an indication of a sense of belonging. 4. Which structure of Freudian personality theory would best describe Precious? Her mother?
Freud’s “Id” is the most appropriate personality theory for Precious’ mother. Her actions were irrational, selfish, and impulsive, although totally conscious. She transferred her anger and aggression towards her daughter, throwing things at her, hitting her, being inhumane towards her and her own grandchildren. Her actions were motivated by sexual drives and the desire not to lose her man. Precious on the other hand has some similarities with Freud’s “ego”. She has been through a lot in her young life. Although she has unconscious thoughts that she uses to escape reality, avoid pain and unpleasant situation, she uses all that energy and drive to make reality better. She developed her cognitive skills because she imagined herself as becoming famous and a well admired person. Her self esteem improves overtime. Whenever negative emotions, anxiety and unpleasant feelings come, she resolves to ego defense mechanisms such as thought suppression.
5. In your opinion, which ego-defense mechanisms did Precious frequently use to check her fears, anxieties and impulses?
Suppression; She makes conscious attempts to push her negative experience into the subconscious and rather imagine a different and more positive experience. This happened when her mother was being violent and physically abusive, when her father was sexually abusive and when the boys in the neighborhood made her fall flat on her face and called her names.
6. The movie “Precious” is based upon a best selling book entitled Push by Sapphire. In your opinion, is “Push” an appropriate title for this story? Explain and provide evidence to support your position. Push is an appropriate title for the book. Precious from the beginning to the end kept being pushed by positive and negative forces. Her Mother’s physical violence, her father’s sexual abuse, mother hood at a young age, pushed her towards desiring a better life. In her desire to be better, she had to be pushed, by Ms Rain, who encouraged her to read and write, by the social worker who encouraged her to talk about what she was going through. She got to the point where she says “”I’m gonna break through or somebody gonna break through to me – I’m gonna learn, catch up, be normal…” 7. Overall, what is your reaction to this movie? What if anything did you learn from watching this movie?
The movie is a very emotional one and has important life lessons. Personally, I was motivated by how Precious persevered and continued to have hope. It made me realize that no matter how hard things get, there is always a reason to believe. It motivated me to keep pushing harder, to “never say never” and to keep hope alive. Heather, I noticed something in your discussion that I should have added to mine. You are indeed right that Precious was in the “ego” stage but starting to develop into the “superego” stage and you gave accurate examples of that. Another example was when she put her scarf around that young girl whom she had yelled at and pushed before in the neighborhood as a form of comfort. She was now developing a sense of right and wrong, tolerance and appropriate behavior. Her mother on the other hand seemed more to me to be in the “Id” stage. I do not think she carried out her instinctual desires in appropriate ways. She carried them out in aggressive ways. She was stuck in her sexual iesires and obsession over her man ignoring the reality a man that is abusing their daughter sexually is not even worth fighting to keep. There are definitely different ways to look at the situation.