Last week, I watched the movie Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron. This movie is the real-life story of NFL player Michael Oher and his rise out of the depths of poverty, neglect, and homelessness to become one of the NFL’s greatest athletes. The movie is all about inclusion, the benefits of hard work, and the importance of family. Sometimes, the viewer feels it shines over many of the challenges that Oher and his rescuer Leigh Anne Tuohy (played by Sandra Bullock) must have faced. I asked myself how significant family involvement is for teens to grow, develop, and strive hard to make their dreams come true?
The Story Line
Before becoming an All-American college football star, Michael Oher was a brawny-but-tender teen attending a Christian school in Memphis with no roof over his head or family to support him. In the movie, he’s soon befriended by S.J. and Collins Tuohy, children of wealthy fast-food franchise owner Sean Tuohy and his decorator wife, Leigh Anne. Leigh Anne makes it her mission to remake Michael’s life, inviting him into her home and, later, the family itself. A bright future for Michael appears on the horizon in the form of football, a sport for which his build and protective instincts seem ideally suited. But first, he needs to get his grades up and his head in the game. In his struggles, he witnessed that his adopted family was side-by-side with him, and eventually, he succeeded in his venture.
The Impact of Family Involvement on Teens Attitude and Mindset
Researchers believe that the relationships between parental attitudes, parental involvement, family relationships, teachers’ opinions, disability severity, and children’s social skills matters during the early age of teen-hood. The research emphasizes the link between healthy family relationships, exceptionally high levels of parental involvement with schooling, and more significant social skills development in children. Families with highly cohesive, idealized, and democratic family styles strongly influence children’s social skills by providing a safe and sound foundation for children to explore their social environment. As projected in the movie, these kinds of family lifestyles also influenced others who, maybe, don’t belong to that family – eventually becoming the role model for everyone.
Identity and Inclusion
In today’s time, every teen is seeking out their individuality. As shown in the movie, Michael didn’t like to be called ‘Big-Mich‘ because this name offends his individuality. Similarly, teens are concerned about their self-identity which includes their physical appearance. For example, Am I tall? Am I fat? Am I attractive? How they feel about how they look is extremely important to adolescents and, when exploring their identity, their appearance is often the first thing they attempt to change. As much as you can, allow your teen to experiment with their identity and appearance, reaffirm that you love them no matter how they look and try not to be more attached to their appearance than they are.
As humans, we always want to belong to a particular group, and for teens, the first group they want to belong to is their family. In the movie, when Michael was asked if he wished to become part of Tuohys, he replied with utter astonishment that ‘I kinda thought I already was.’ Every kid requires inclusion. When children get older, they tend to seek approval and belonging from their peers. This sense of belonging can be increasingly crucial for adolescents, particularly adopted children or children with attachment issues. Be open to allowing them to try new things. Keep reminding them that they are always a part of your family and make sure they feel they have a contributing role in the family.
The movie Blind Side tells the story of an emotional struggle between a teen and the family who wants to be part of his struggle and support him. But it also shares a diverse connection and the impact a teen must-have when they witness their family involvement through thick and thin.