Dr. Julie Rosenzweig, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

Parenthood---The TV Show

Parenthood---The TV Show

I couldn’t help myself, I had to watch. Too much temptation---producers: Ron Howard & Brian Grazer, cast members: Craig T. Nelson, Bonnie Bedelia, Peter Krause, & Lauren Graham (Okay, I admit to watching Gilmore Girls with my daughter). And the show’s theme song, Bob Dylan’s Forever Young, which always makes me cry---especially when it is played with high school graduations’ video collages. Sniff.

Several story lines emerge from the Braverman family, but the one to watch is about eight year-old Max.  This youngster is introduced to viewers as a kiddo who is “developmentally different”. We see him with his family, on the baseball field, and in the classroom, often dressed his pirate costume.  Soon the elementary school principal is telling his parents that the school can’t meet their son’s needs.  Moving forward, a top child psychiatrist shares the Asperger diagnosis with Max’s parents.  Asperger’s Syndrome or Asperger Disorder is considered by the majority of professionals to be on the higher functioning end of the Autism spectrum.       

Max’s parents are fortunate to have the financial resources and connections to access experts knowledgeable about developmental disorders and the finest school for their son. This is when viewers need to remember that it is a TV show. Many parents of children with special needs don’t have this level of resources or connections and struggle at length to find professionals and community programs that can help.

The show does a good job of focusing on the parents’ emotional reactions as they let the diagnosis sink in. The initial mix of relief from hearing a diagnosis, overwhelming sadness for your child, the grief over loss dreams, and a desperate need to fix it…a typical cascade of feelings parents experience when they enter this new confusing world.  

One of my favorite scenes is when the psychiatrist says to the parents”…join Max where he is and he’s ready, you walk him into the world”.

Keep watching.

 

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