Thispaper presents a report of stages of development after acomprehensive interview done with different people from different agegroups. The interview was conducted face to face with all therespondents from each age group. Each session went for thirty minutesto one hour. The primary objective was to obtain information on thedifferent stages of development in each age group and actually toconfirm the eight steps that Erik Erikson describes in development.What I thought I will find out and I found out was the differentdevelopmental stages that occur throughout the human life fromtoddler to an elderly person, adjustments involved and considerableindividual variations from one individual to another.
Therespondents included mothers with young toddlers below three years, aboy, and a girl from the age of 3-6 years, individuals from middle tolate childhood between the ages of seven to twelve. Also, Iinterviewed an adolescent from the age of thirteen to nineteen, earlyadulthood from the age of 20- 25, middle adulthood from the age of30- 45 and late adulthood from the age of 65 onwards. It wasdifficult to get information about the parents of young toddlerssince most of them were not keen on their stages of growth anddevelopmental changes that were taking place. All the same, I managedto learn that parents were the principal trigger of the toddlers`development. The toddlers have an emotional reliance on theirparents, and they tend to generalize over things for example, wordmeanings, they are inclined to use one word that they have learned torefer to everything (Newman&Newman, 2014).In addition, a few difficulties were experienced while interviewingchildren between the ages of 3-6 since most of them did not have anidea of what was happening to them, they perceived everything to benormal, and nothing was to be taken seriously. However, I learnedfrom the interview that development in this stage was extensive andvery dynamic. Intensive Motor and Cognitive wasparticularly broad in a way that the children had acquired someskills, and they were able to set some goals for example, playing(Newman& Newman, 2014).Also, it was realized that it was not easy in this stage for childrento stick to one activity for so long, they got tired easily andneeded shifts between the activities.
Theinteractions with the early day’s children between the ages of 7-12were a bit dramatic. In this stage, cognitive activity was much moreselective, voluntary, and systematic. Children were learning toperfect certain social abilities and school dexterity. They were alsotrying to master most of the memory strategies, which meant that theywere able to remember some events voluntarily. At this stage,relationship with peers was imperative and especially the feeling ofbeing rejected and lack of friends formed a crucial part of theirdevelopment. Nevertheless, there was a significant difference betweenchildren of seven years and twelve years and the group had quitediversified but extensive qualitative and quantitative changes.
Whileinterviewing adolescents, I had to take time since there was a lot tolearn. The interview was done one on one with a group of adolescentswho were undergoing tremendous developmental changes. Biologicalchanges were the major developmental changes that were happening inthe lives of the young people, and this compelled emotional changesas well. Additionally, this age pursued their identity wanted to beindependent of adults, and they valued peer relationships whichindicated the social development. All the same, I had to be carefulwhen interviewing this group considering the emotional factors thatcould have hindered them to open up, fear of being exposed, and fearof social stigma, sense of guilt and intimate experiences(Conway& Holmes 2004).I had to keep in mind that adolescents entailed a vulnerable groupthat could have led to amplification and reinforcing the trauma beingthe subject of the interview.
Earlyadulthood was another crucial group, which marked a transition fromadolescent to adulthood. Some of the positive remarks from theinterview were about their supportive families and friends, certainleisure activities, making money and education achievements. However,they had some negative comments about relationships chaos, confusionin choosing the career, unemployment, and financial difficulties.Regarding development, they were on their feet trying to meet theircareer related needs that were facing a significant flux anduncertainty, they felt that failure to achieve one thing would havean adverse impact to another. Example one of them talked of inabilityto acquire post-secondary education or secure a well-paying job wouldlead to one remaining independent even in his adulthood.
Asession with middle age adulthood group took approximately one hour.It was an interactive session since the group appeared to be moremature and exposed. Regarding cognitive development, the middle-agedgroup was more stable, and they performed slightly better than theyoung adults did. Continuing development of adult reasoning wasnoted, and there was the total reorganization of thinking. Most ofthem had varied histories, in their personal and professional livesdue to different options that were taken probably during theiradolescent and young adulthood.
Afull interaction with a 67 years old lady and two old men aged72years and 80 years gave an insight of how intellectual capacitydecreases with age. They seemed to be in conflict between integrityand despair. What they talked much about was a review of their pastlives. They reported of adjusting fairly well to their old age andexperiencing the high level of enjoyment in their current old agecompared to other years. However, one of them said for her to enjoyholistically, depends on the decisions she made in her adolescent andyoung adulthood age.
Thefollowing paragraphs indicate the responses from the respondents
Theinterview was done to a mother with one-year-old child. The main areaof focus was language development, physical skills, like standingwalking and holding items, and their urge to be independent. Theobjective was to find out whether this child is undergoing all thesedevelopmental changes. During the interview, the mother said that hischild could utter two to three words but not clearly. Interviewee:‘it has been one of the amazing things to hear my child cal me‘mum`. Interviewer: how many words do he utter, interviewed: two tothree words. On physical skills, the mother reports of the childtrying to kick ball, hold a pencil and climb stairs. The child reliedon her mother emotionally and in doing most oh her things fulfillingthe stage of trust vs. mistrust according to Erik Erikson.
Amother with a three years boy, reports of his son constantly askingquestions, identifies pictures by naming them washing and dryinghands. The child was always fighting to stand on his own, putting onclothes without his mother`s assistance thus satisfying the stage ofAutonomy versus shame and doubt.
Therespondent was an adolescent girl aged 14 years in the stage ofidentity versus role confusion. She was shy this was noted since shenever wanted to look me directly. I had to use all the tactics toextract information from her. I had to take extra care and frame thequestions in a way that the adolescent will not feel like she isbeing judged, but rather the need to know who she is. The primaryobjective was to identify their biological, psychological and theirpsychosocial development. The three changes are the most common inthe life of an adolescent. During the questioning, the respondentsaid that she has experienced major changes biologically, she was shyto mention some of the changes, and I had to make her write down someof the changes and she wrote menstruation, the growth of hair in herpubic area and increase in her breast size. On her psychologicaldevelopment, she was more likely struggling with her identity, andshe preferred using actions to present her feelings rather thanspeaking out. Asking her about friends, she looked excited as sheindicated that friends were everything to her and that she valuedfriendship more than anything else. She mentioned that her peergroups influenced the way she wore and how she spent her free time.
Ayoung man aged 17 years. He had a more developed sense of humor, andhe was able to talk freely about his biological changes. He displayedthe ability to think through the ideas and had a delay to satisfygratification. He was also able to make firm decisions basing on thequestions that I asked him. For instance, I asked him what would hedo if their mother was to separate with his father. He sternlyanswered that he would remain at home and take care of theirproperty.
Therespondent was a woman in her mid-twenties. Looking at her, she washealthy, vibrant, and active. She said that she was a mother of twoand working in a certain company as the human resource manager. Thefocus was on her physical changes, emotional changes and cognitivechanges since these were the main developmental stages in her agegroup. Asking her about her weight before she gave birth or duringher adolescence, she said that she had put on much weight, and muchhad changed in her body and she did not feel the young girl she usedto be. She also reported that despite her additional weight, shesuffers from anorexia due to her tight schedule, pressure from thefamily and the drive to achieve greater things. It was clear that herthinking was far much mature when I asked her some questions,compared to the previous session with an adolescent. Her thoughtswere flexible she had different options in approaching issues. Beinga working class with a family, she was more balanced in life and hadthe ability to develop her career as well as take care of the family.The evidence of having a family, a husband and friends that shementioned during the interview clearly indicated some emotionalmaturity was fulfilling the stage described by Erik Erikson as loveversus isolation.
ErikErikson`s theory of psychosocial development assisted inunderstanding better about the eight stages that he describes. Hetalked of trust vs. mistrust, a character that was well demonstratedin the first respondent, her child was one-year-old, and shecompletely believed her mother and relied on her in everything. Thesecond respondent expressed the stage autonomy vs. doubt. The childwas learning to explore, with support from his mother, he finallygains the confidence and becomes autonomous. In almost all therespondents, the psychosocial stages were well fulfilled with thedifference in few of them probably due to how they were brought up.Piaget in his theory of cognitive development also mentioned animportant stage that was well demonstrated in one of the respondentsrespondent #2. The pre-operational stage that involves the child notcapable of conceptualizing and needs actual physical situations thiswas demonstrated in second respondent when the three years old boywould respond to anything physical that he saw.
Somequestions such as how does one develop a sense of their identity?How do individuals know where they belong? How does one personpresent to be confident and secure while another one feels depressedand continually question their lives? are conflicts associated witheach stage of development and if one does not deal with the conflictin one stage, the consequences are manifested in the next stage oreven in later stages (Newman&Newman, 2014).The interview has proposed a comprehensive theory of the differentways that individuals can develop their identity and societalinfluence on their development. This argument flags the name ofstages of psychosocial developments made up of stages ofpsychological development that is characterized by conflicts andother important events that lead to growth.
Itis clear that each scene unfolds after the other preceding stage in aparticular kind of a sequence. In addition, each stage has a widerinvolvement with others and each stage presents a life task for theindividual. In each phase, it involves two irreconcilable conflicts,and it requires an individual effort to come up with a particularratio between the two.
Fromthe interviews, Erik Erikson theory on psychosocial stages ofdevelopment remains to be strong with heavy influence by SigmundFreud. The German psychoanalyst, Freud, explored three importantaspects of identity. One is the ego identity that presents self thesecond is personal identity, which represents the uniqueidiosyncrasies that differentiate a person from the other. The lastaspect is the social and cultural identity, which presents the socialroles that an individual might play. On his psychosocial theory ofdevelopment, Erikson put into consideration the impact of theexternal factors, parents, neighbors, teachers and the society in theprocess of development from childhood to adulthood(Conway & Holmes, 2004).According to his theory, Erikson says every person is entitled to gothrough eight similar stages in the entire life span as seen in theinterview. The following indicates stages proposed by Erikson in histheory
Birthto 18 months
Duringthis time, Erikson says that the baby`s primary emphasis is on his orher mother and father`s ability to care for the child basically bytouching and visual contact. If the child receives the best care, heis most likely to develop confidence and security unlike the lesscared for who is most likely to feel insecure and lack trust in theworld.
Earlychildhood years /toddler 1-3 years
Inthis stage, a child has an opportunity to build self-esteem. Thechild learns new skills and knows what is wrong or right. What bringsthe difference is how the child is cared for, and the attentiongiven. A well-cared child tends to be confident while a child who isless cared for is likely to develop low self-esteem.
3– 5 years- preschoolers
Inthis stage, the child tends to admire adults and strive to imitatethem. They take initiatives to create play stations and the word WHYis always on their mind and they work towards exploring it. This isthe stage, according to Sigmund, Oedipus complex develops childrentend to be sexually attracted to their opposite-sex parents(Conway& Holmes 2004).
6to 12 years
Inthis stage, known as the latent phase, the child can achieve andaccomplish most of life skills thus developing a sense of industry.This period also marks an important stage in which any unresolvedconflicts, inferiority complex can lead to significant problemsconcerning self-esteem and competence in future. With the expandingworld, during this phase the neighbors and teachers are alsoincorporated in the life of the child, and the parent is not thecomplete authority.
Adolescent12 to 18 years
Thestage comprises of identity versus role confusion or fidelity. Thisstage of development primarily depends on what an individual does. Astruggle to identify the identity involves negotiating with socialinteraction and trying to fit to gain a sense of belonging and buildmorality with an intention of knowing what is right or wrong. Some ofthe adolescents, who become unsuccessful in this stage, end up havingrole confusion and cause major upheavals in future.
YoungAdult 18 to 35
Aphase in which people starts looking for intimacy and love, otherstend to settle and have families. Significant relationships are withspouses and friends. If this is unsuccessful, isolation is likely tooccur.
Middle-agedadults 35 to 65
Careerand work, as well as family, are the most important things at thisstage. People in this age group are bound to take heavierresponsibilities. People work towards establishing stability andproducing something that can make a difference in the society(Dacey, Travers & Fiore, 2006).Stagnation, inactivity, and meaningless are the most fears at thisstage.
Lateadult 65 to death
Eriksonargued that this phase was more of reflection of the past. Some wouldlook back and feel contented and having fulfillment leading asuccessful life and considerable contribution to the society. Othersmay look behind with despair counting the many times they failed intheir endeavors(Jessor & Jessor, 2007).Fear of death may encroach in their lives as they try to find themeaning of life.
Throughoutthe study, much have been learned, first, it is clear from therespondents that not all children undergo similar milestones, someare bound to delay while others move on very first. However, anaverage child has to experience fundamental developmental stages inlife. Again, it is important to note that the different conflictsthat occur in every stage are prudent to deal with them beforetransiting to the other stages. This prevents a lot of regrets infuture and especially during the last phase where an elderly personmay live to despair and fear death due to lack of fulfillment inlife.
Erikson`spsychosocial theory presents an important and powerful tool inself-awareness, teaching, and helping others. His model of eightdistinct stages gives an assertion that human continues to change anddevelop throughout their life span. It is an optimistic and helpfulidea, which is evident in human development. I agree with theErikson’s theory since it is almost a true reflection of humandevelopment. The entire learning experience was worth since it hashelped in understanding human development in a better way. Thisinformation would be critical for field placements since I will useit in understanding the different individuals that I will interactwith during the placement period and resolving issues that mayemerge.
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Dacey,J. S., & Travers, J. F. (2006). Humandevelopment: Across the lifespan.Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
Hamachek,D. (1990). Evaluating Self‐Conceptand Ego Status in Erikson`s Last Three Psychosocial Stages. Journalof Counseling & ,68(6),677-683.
Jessor,R., & Jessor, S. L. (2007). Problem behavior and psychosocialdevelopment: Alongitudinal study of youth.
Newman,B., & Newman, P. (2014). through life: A psychosocial approach.Cengage Learning.