Child Development

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This term paper focuses on film Croods to discuss how different life experiences affect child development. The paper gives an evaluation of how different episodes in the film affect the educational, social, gender role expectations, family systems, and health care aspects of children. Martin Herbert’s view on typical and atypical aspects of child development is also reviewed and integrated into this work.


Child development is a matter of concern to all parents and caregivers. Functional development depends on the experiences that children interact with from birth, in their childhood and adolescence. This term paper focuses on the film The Croods and discusses the influence of different life experiences on child development. It gives an evaluation of how different episodes in the film affect the educational, social, gender role expectations, family systems, and health care aspects of children. Typical and atypical aspects of child development, as categorized by Martin Herbert, are also under review in this work.

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The Croods Film

“The Croods communicates some themes which are very significant to children. This is an animated movie that seems very humorous and mainly talks about risks of death and worries, and the end of the world. To communicate this theme, the pre-historic time is portrayed as very wild, dangerous and unstable. This is marked by scenes of falling rocks and the Tumble Mountains. The situation is worsened by the earth’s opening to swallow the ground and all-natural and man-made creatures (The Croods, 2013).

In other scenes, the frequent talks and peril about the end of the world are seen to make young children very nervous. This is also marked by conversations about parents dying and the kids themselves being in great danger. At some point, the movie even reveals that the main character has perished in the tragic incidences (The Croods, 2013).

Other scenes also picture the attempts of various characters battling for supremacy. A situation of economic crisis is also revealed causing them to scramble for food, water and other basic needs for survival. As a result of this, the author exposes a lot of hitting and slapsticks. The female characters are portrayed as more vulnerable than their male counterparts. Respectively, the male characters tend to save and protect them from the imminent dangers (The Croods, 2013).

The movie also presents certain social and gender aspects that are found within the family set up. For instance, it reveals a character by the name Eep, a teenage girl who resides in a cave in pre-historic times. She lives in this cave with her family members, who include her mother Ugga, father Grug, grandmother Gran, brother Thunk and younger sister Sandy (The Croods, 2013).

Eep, who is also the main character, is presented as one who has a great desire to go out of the cave in order to explore what is beyond it in the mountain wall. This is against the will of her father who as a traditionalist believes that she should not go outside the cave as this could endanger her life. However, the teenage girl does not believe the statement on the basis that other family members went out to hunt for food and were never killed (The Croods, 2013).

One day, she sneaks out being lured by a sliver of light. On her way, she meets a young man named Guy who knows how to set a fire. Suddenly, as the ground started sinking under their feet, the young man perceives dangerous changes ahead. He suggests Eep and her family accompany him to a safer place out of the rocks. However, even the safer place is not clearly known and may make them more vulnerable (The Croods, 2013).

Educational Aspects

Although the movie may seem to be imperfect in revealing accurate and scientific facts like The Flintstones, its educative value is shown in its historical approach to life. It, therefore, educates children about historical facts that the earth and the universe have an origin and a destiny. Furthermore, other religious beliefs such as the end of times are effectively communicated to the kids. In addition to this, human economic activities such as hunting and gathering that were historical to most of the human societies that have been rapidly eroded in contemporary society can be effectively communicated to children. The movie can, therefore, act as a powerful tool for teaching and affirming certain historical and religious facts.

Social and Economic Aspects

From a socio-economic point of view, the world is presented as a place of scarcity where creatures have to struggle to meet their daily needs. This is communicated through their scramble for food and water. It can, therefore, inspire children for work and at the same time prepare them for various economic challenges that they may experience in the course of their growth and development. Although the movie does not contain modern forms of production and consumerism, certain entrepreneur and commercialism skills such as partnerships are well communicated through the wild companies.

Family and Gender Role Aspects

The movie has several lessons about gender and family-related aspects that are useful for children. For instance, it defines the concept of family as an institution of father, mother, siblings, and grandparents. It also exposes that in a family set up children are vulnerable to several dangers and should remain under the care of the parents. Furthermore, it reveals that girls are more exposed to dangers hence deserve more attention. The movie also communicates to children that in a family context it is important to listen to and obey instructions from the elders and parents. It, further, warns them that too much anxiety may expose one to unknown dangers hence should be treated carefully. It also teaches children that in a family each member has a role towards each other. For instance, the men should protect and guard their wives while the parents have a role to provide for the needs of their children. It, therefore, does not only educate them about the role of their parents within a family structure but also prepares for the same when they grow up.

Health Care Issues

On matters of healthcare, the movie reveals extreme vigor and violence that the characters involved in as they compete for wild game. As a result of this, they end up hitting and harming each other with their hunting tools and weapons. This warns children of the dangers of involvement in violence as it may threaten their health. Furthermore, it encourages kids to engage in healthy competitions and get life skills that will enhance survival without harming life.

Typical Analytical Development from Conception to Adolescent

Martin Herbert has been acknowledged as one of the most profound scholars in child psychology and development. In his book “Typical and Atypical Development: From Conception to Adolescence”, he bridges the gap between conception and adolescence by analyzing various educational, psychological and clinical issues that affect the development of children at various stages (Herbert, 2003).

In his approach, Herbert skillfully addresses clinical, educational and psychological issues and their effect on child development. He also discusses how various aspects of the environment can influence the nurturing of a child. Although his main target was to write a training guide for those who handle child development issues, like doctors and clinicians, his writing has proved significant to any person who is involved in child upbringing, including parents and early childhood educators (Herbert, 2003).

According to Herbert’s findings, child development can be categorized as either typical or atypical. In this case, typical development is general and follows a normal path marked by normal patterns, procedures, experiences, and stages. For him, these typical aspects determine the continuity and similarities of children’s features (Herbert, 2007).

He also argues that there are certain atypical facts about child development. These are difficulties that children are exposed to in the process of development, which is responsible for differences in children’s features. These include pervasive developmental disorders and genetic disorders. He also argues that physical impairments and learning disorders can affect child development. As a result of this, a child may experience delay at certain stages which may even lead to retarded growth and late maturity (Herbert, 2003).

Brain damage and emotional disorders are also reported as atypical factors of child development. Brain damage may cause mental impairment while emotional and behavioral disorders can be responsible for weak or extreme emotional reactions even to simple and common matters. He also reports that personality and physical disorders can cause atypical development (Herbert, 2003).

Herbert concludes that whether a child will experience typical or atypical growth and development depends on the various environmental conditions that the child is exposed to (Herbert, 2003). These include medical, clinical, sociological and natural environments. The personality of a child at the maturity stage is, therefore, understood and interpreted by various environmental aspects that the child has been exposed to right from conception to adolescence (Herbert, 2007).

Potential Effects of Films on Children’s Overall Development

Films can have both positive and negative impacts on the development of children depending on their nature and the message it contains. Good children’s movies are known to be educative and informative. Furthermore, they can also be useful in establishing good morals as they tend to develop certain traits of their most preferred characters. Good movies can also help children explore various areas of life as they create anxiety and thirst for inquiry. They can also help in developing careers as well as promoting positive emotions. Comedy movies may be a form of entertainment and stress busters for children (Villanas, 2001).

However, movies can affect children’s development negatively in various ways. For instance, it may take much of their time that could be useful for doing constructive activities like homework. Romantic movies can also be dangerous to children as they can defile their chastity at a very early age (Neuendorf, 2002). Horror movies are also very dangerous t as they may cause negative anxiety and lead to sleep disorders and bad dreams. Although the characters and the scenes may not be realistic, children may end up believing in such existence hence living a scary and fearful life. In some extreme cases, children might fall sick and suffer severe health problems after watching such movies (Villanas, 2001).


Child development can be influenced by different encounters in every environment where the child finds him/herself. Thus, the educational, health, social and economic, gender role expectations and the family system orientation that children learn as they grow up are all subject to daily experiences. Children should, therefore, be given the right environment for the upbringing and be encouraged in functional and optimal development.

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