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"Parental Influence: How Positive Parenting Shapes Children's Mental Health and Family Dynamics"

Beautiful People!! Let's Go!!

This week, I was home resting due to illness; while recuperating and practicing self-care, I delved into one of my favorite pastimes while in traction: watching movies; of the several I watched, two stood out for me: "American Fiction" and "Iron Claw" vastly different in content, but shares an important theme, the impact of parenting styles on the mental health of their adult children.

American Fiction and The Iron Claw are two movies that delve into the complexities of family dynamics, various parenting styles, brotherly bonds, and how parental upbringing influences children's mental well-being from cultural perspectives and life encounters. Let me preface this by stating that I am not a "movie reviewer lol." I can provide a blanket overview with the hope that you will take it upon yourself to see both films.

American Fiction

American Fiction is a blend of comedy and drama that explores the realm of American literature and challenges prevalent stereotypes. The main character, Monk, portrayed by one of my favorite actors, Jeffrey Wright, grapples with his identity as a writer amidst societal expectations and industry norms while dealing with depression and moments of anger. He has siblings: Dr. Lisa, portrayed by Tracee Ellis Ross, who works at a women's health clinic, while her brother Cliff, played by Sterling K. Brown, another favorite of mine, is a plastic surgeon who has been engaging in partying and drug abuse due to his delayed announcement about his sexuality.

Exploration of Family Dynamics

The movie delves into the complexities of family relationships, touching on the struggles faced by caregivers, conflicts among siblings, and experiences of shared trauma. The film sheds light on the tapestry of Black family life and the struggles related to representation. Monk's interactions with his family members, his mother Agnes, played by Leslie Uggams, and siblings reveal the roles and expectations within a Black household. The familial relationships are portrayed through unbalanced support, misunderstandings, and efforts to preserve heritage.

Variety in Parenting Approaches

In American Fiction, parenting styles encompass a fusion of values with sensibilities. Monks' parents prioritize education and cultural heritage. At the same time, navigating issues like bias and financial constraints, I encourage you to see the movie for greater context. This dual approach shapes Monk's perspective on life choices, to a large extent romanticizing his childhood and upbringing, and later on in life career pursuits and Cliff's inner struggles as an outed gay man whose life has been turned upside down, all influenced by Agnes in various ways.

Bonding among Siblings

The film excels in creating characters within the Ellison family. Each member is carefully developed, possessing backgrounds and personal struggles.

Monk shares both a loose level of companionship and competition with his siblings. The movie shows how brothers and sisters stand by each other, balancing between gaining their parents' approval and striving for success in a world that tends to overlook them.

Effects on Emotional Well-being

The stress of meeting society's standards and the weight of being a role model significantly affect Monk's wellness. The film tackles themes such as questioning identity, valuing oneself, trauma's impact on a family, and the strain of maneuvering through a society that frequently oversimplifies people.

The Iron Claw

In sharp contrast, "The Iron Claw" is a gripping sports drama based on the story of the Von Erich wrestling family. It delves into their journey through the highs and lows of the wrestling world, shedding light on the challenges and tragedies they encounter along the way.

"The Iron Claw" delves into the family dynamics of a father and his four sons within a renowned Texas wrestling legacy. Inspired by the real-life experiences of the Von Erich family, known for their significant contributions to wrestling, I found it to be a tale that sheds light on issues of "toxic" masculinity.

Despite the brothers' journey to fame and fortune, tragedy seems to shadow their every success, with misfortune lurking at every turn. They are believed to be under a "family curse," shaping their lives as they navigate destiny and their father's influence, witnessing triumphs through their son's accomplishments.

Set in Northern Texas during the 1980s, where a wrestling empire thrives, "The Iron Claw" follows the footsteps of the four Von Erich Brothers—Kevin (portrayed by Zach Efron), Kerry (played by Jeremy Allen White), David (enacted by Harris Dickinson) and Mike (depicted by Stanley Simons)—as they face challenges not in the ring but, in their personal lives.

As the movie unfolds, it becomes evident that Iron Claw has more impact than any curse. Holt McCallany portrays a detestable father figure who controls his sons with expectations, forcing them to live out his ambitions as their own. The childlike innocence of the Von Erichs, each yearning to earn their father's approval, is a familiar scenario for young boys influenced by toxic masculinity.

Central to the narrative are the bonds between the Von Erich brothers, marked by support, shared aspirations, and an inherent responsibility to honor their family's legacy. However, amidst this camaraderie lies conflict, rivalry, and heart-wrenching losses.

The movie bravely addresses how their father's sky-high expectations and career pressures affect their well-being without sugarcoating reality. Exploring topics like depression, substance abuse, and the tragic outcomes that arise from these challenges sheds light on how delicate their mental health was under the negative influence of their father and the emotional non-involvement of their mother, Doris Von Erich, played by Maura Tierney.

Both Movies

Both movies explore the complexities of family dynamics, with American Fiction delving into the societal influences on a family. At the same time, The Iron Claw examines how fame and the wrestling world impact a family.

Regarding parenting styles, American Fiction showcases a blend of pride, familial denial, and practical expectations. At the same time, The Iron Claw portrays an approach with intense demands for achievement.

Sibling relationships are characterized by support and competition in both films. American Fiction intertwines this with themes of race and culture. In contrast, The Iron Claw focuses on upholding a family legacy in the field by any means.

Mental health repercussions stemming from pressures are highlighted in both movies. American Fiction emphasizes the toll of representation and identity. At the same time, The Iron Claw delves into the psychological effects of fame, high standards, and personal loss.

Both American Fiction and The Iron Claw provide perspectives on family relationships and the influence of parenting on well-being, albeit from distinct cultural and situational viewpoints. They emphasize themes such as family ties, aspirations, and pursuing self-discovery and happiness in

facing challenges.

Importance of Positive Parenting and Its Influence on Children's Mental Health

Positive parenting entails creating an understanding bond between parents and children to promote the child's mental wellness. It plays a role in developing a child's confidence, ability to bounce back from challenges, and overall psychological health. The following tips can assist parents in establishing supportive connections.

Strategies to Foster Mentally Healthy Relationships Between Parent and Child

1. Open Communication: The struggle with societal expectations highlights the importance of parents creating an environment where their child or children can express their feelings and thoughts without the fear of judgment. Parents should encourage open dialogues about emotions and experiences.

Any high-pressure environment, such as living up to family and society cultural norms, shows the need for parents to listen actively and empathetically to their children, validating their feelings and experiences.

2. Supportive and Encouraging Environment: Sometimes, the adult child's or children's journey underscores the significance of parents supporting their children's individuality and aspirations. Parents must celebrate and encourage their children's achievements, even when their goals differ from parental expectations. There are dangers of excessively high expectations; balancing ambition with realistic support enables children to pursue their passions while respecting their limits.

3. Promote Autonomy and Independence: Empowering children by allowing them to make choices and learn from their experiences fosters self-confidence and decision-making skills.

Encouraging a child's independence will help them feel in control of their lives, reducing the pressure of living up to external expectations.

4. Model Healthy Behaviors: Parents should model resilience and healthy coping mechanisms when adversity arises. A parent's positive behavior teaches children how to handle stress and setbacks.

Parents acknowledging that it's okay to seek help and discuss mental health openly can destigmatize mental health stereotypes and encourage their children to prioritize their well-being.

5. Create a Stable and Predictable Environment: When a parent is Consistent in rules and routines, it provides a sense of security. Children thrive in environments where they know what to expect.

When you can, check out both films!!

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