Discipline During Adolescence (downloaded from Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]

This is sort of a Centron “discussion film” for parents (though it was not made by Centron). Steve’s parents are worried about him because he’s been staying out late every night, neglecting his schoolwork, and generally having a bad attitude about things. Steve’s mom, amazingly enough, wants to deal with this by ignoring it, because this tactic worked with the teenaged son of one of her friends. Steve’s dad is all for punishment, but he decides to try it Mom’s way after she talks him into it. Unfortunately, Steve’s behavior just gets worse, so Dad steps in and lays down the law, grounding Steve for a week and cutting off his allowance. This means Steve can’t take his girlfriend to the big school dance, an end-of-the-world outcome for a 50s teen. So, while the narrator asks us what we think about Steve’s parents, we see Steve looking at the want ads, obviously in preparation for leaving home. Steve’s parents portray the simplistic parenting extremes of total lenience vs. unfairly harsh discipline, but I think that’s supposed to be the point. The fact that it’s more complex than that is strongly implied, making this a more intelligent film than I was expecting. Of course, it would only really be valuable if intelligent discussion and guidance followed, which is not always how educational films were used. The film’s portrayal of 50s teen life is appealingly corny––it could have served as a model for the 70s “Happy Days’ kind of idealized portraits of the 50s.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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