Development Theories Demonstrated in the Movie Three Men and a Baby.
The movie Three Men and a Baby demonstrated an understanding of what constituted an effective relationship of caregiver and child by applying attachment and bonding theories in a real-life setting. This movie capitalized on the relationship and familiarity of the audience with basic human knowledge of care-giving and attachment. Several socioemotional development theories in infancy were evident in the movie adding to its audience appeal.
The scenario opened with a baby named Mary being abandoned by her mother and left to the care of her irresponsible and illegitimate father, Jack, and his two bachelor roommates. The temperament of the child was unsettling at first. Mary showed her individual emotional response to having been dropped at the doorstep of people with whom she was not familiar and cried frequently to express her physical and emotional needs.
The infant showed "distress at the unfamiliar surroundings and displayed stranger anxiety". The situation was worsened due to the behavior of the adult strangers and their lack of experience with children. The movie stressed the point that the three men that had no clue how to react to her temperament. But once she had been held and rocked by the men, she calmed down and became an "easy child". As she gained their entire attention and they became comfortable with holding her and changing her, she developed trust. This exemplified Erik Erikson's "trust-versus-mistrust stage" in infant development. The trusting relationship developed during infancy forms the foundation for a child's development. .
The movie truly revolved around the concept of attachment between the caregiver and the child. In the film, soon after the baby was taken in by the three men it was determined that the child would have needs including food and diapers. This very first duty showed acceptance of responsibility by the poorly prepared new parents, but confirmed that an attachment had already begun.