Psychosocial Development as Seen in the Movie the Blind Side

Psychosocial Development Psychosocial development is an integration of the principles of personal, psychological and cultural or social development. The psychosocial view of problems focuses on the idea that problems are rooted in relationship issues. Heinz Kohut said humans have narcissistic needs that are satisfied by other people, represented as self-objects. If the child receives enough mirroring (positive attention) from self-objects (chiefly the mother), the sense of self develops appropriately and affects their social life.

If there’s too much mirroring, the child won’t be able to deal with frustrations. If there’s too little, the development of the self is stunted. In the movie “The Blind Side” Before meeting Tuohys, Michael was reserved and had very few friends. It is apparent that he did not receive sufficient mirroring from his parents while growing up which resulted in his ‘psychosocial dysfunction’. At school he was ridiculed because they thought he was dumb in the sense that he did not speak to anyone and he wasn’t cognitively smart.

As he gradually bonded with Sean Junior he ‘came out of his shell’ and began expressing himself and communicating with others even more effectively than before. For example when he saw the children at the park playing and he went towards them, his approach scared them away, but after he was told to smile and present a warm approach to the children to let them know that he is friendly the children were willing to allow Big Mike to play with them. This improved his social abilities to a great extent. Michael was introduced to a different milieu, he not only learnt from the new family that adopted him but he also taught them something.

This is seen when Michael stayed over for Thanksgiving and while everyone else was watching television and eating their meal in the living room he was seated around the table. When Mrs Tuohy saw him around the table she demanded that the entire family sit around the table. This goes to show that this was a social grace or something customary to Michael that was not a part of the Tuohy’s socialization. One other theorist, Karen Horney suggested that Psychoanalytic Social Theory is built on the assumption that social and cultural conditions, especially childhood experiences, are largely responsible for shaping personality.

People who do not have their needs for love and affection satisfied during childhood develop basic hostility toward their parents and others and, as a consequence, suffer from basic anxiety. In addition, watching the movie “The Blind Side”, I have observed the main character Michael as being socially handicapped as a result of his family background and experiences. Michael’s hostility was that of silence as it can be assumed that his need for love and affection was not satisfied during his childhood due to his parents’ absence.

His father was not involved in his life at all but his mother was there for him or she wanted to be there for him but because of her drug addiction it disabled her ability to supply his needs as a child. According to Albert Bandura most human learning is observational learning, not conditioning and occurs by observing what others do and imitating what one sees. One need not actually perform the behaviour oneself. Taking for example in the movie where Michael was not cognitively intelligent in other subject areas but he was tested 98% in protective instincts.

This might have been because of his past experience as a child and growing up he had to fend for himself, not because he saw persons fending for themselves but because he was left with no other option. This especially was due to the fact that he was a ward of the state and was placed in foster care but did not want to stay. His protective instinct could also have been adapted from observing how the gangsters from his community would defend themselves in gang fights , hustling in the streets etc. Therefore, his strong area of social development was in protecting himself/ his blind side.

Another instance in which Big Mike’s psychosocial development was evident was in the connection between the time Mrs Tuohy saw him walking in the cold and asked him if he had somewhere to stay. Because of his hesitation she said “don’t you dear lie to me. ” He ended up developing meaning from this dialogue and learnt that lying is wrong. In the ending after being questioned by Mrs Granger, out of rage and anger he repeated the same phrase to Mrs Tuohy (“don’t you dear lie to me”) when he tried to find out from her whether or not she was forcing Big Mike to go to the college of Mississippi.

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