Table of Contents
Personal introduction of Childhood- Adolescence
Personally, adolescence was both a time of learning about myself and learning about others. I had an opportunity to learn how the world worked at an early age and that it was unfair to everyone. My family consisted of my mother, father, sister, and myself. My father traveled for business around most of my childhood and started to be around more as early adolescence started finally. I was always a creative and outgoing girl, and I tried to be kind to everyone. I quickly learned that everyone was not always going to be kind to me. My childhood had a good number of friends, but that started to change once I began to puberty. I spent most of my adolescence being bullied and made fun of for both physically developing earlier than the other girls and for just wanting to fix it. I became very depressed and started to self-harm. One of the most meaningful events was when I had to go to the hospital because I cut myself too deeply. I will never forget the look on my parent’s faces and hear my father cry. Another meaningful event was when I skipped over my senior year and took college classes instead. It was a breath of fresh air. I didn’t have to deal with people being immature. I made new relationships and was able to escape some of the constant bullying that occurred.
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Theoretical Perspectives of Development
Stage of Development According to Freud
I find that Freud’s psychosexual stages of development have impacted my life to a greater extent. Recently, I talked to my mother about some of the things I did as a child, and they make sense. I was an avid thumb sucker until I was about six years old. However, I did not fully pass through Freud’s first stage of oral fixation. I think that part of that, along with other factors such as peer pressure, made me start smoking at fourteen years until I quit after seven years due to health concerns. Due to the smoking habit, I still chew on pens and gum. However, I successfully passed through Freud’s anal stage as the harsh potty training made me become an anal-retentive personality with a sense of punctuality, tidiness, respect, and orderliness. I transited from the phallic stage to the genital phase successfully although there were many challenges, particularly in the later stage (Ramser, 1994). In this case, I spent most of my adolescence being bullied by my seniors in school and at home. People often made fun of my accelerated physical development compared to other girls. Hence, I had numerous mind battles trying to fit in, which eventually lowered my self-esteem. I was profoundly depressed, and I recall one instance where I injured my arm to the point that I had to be taken to the hospital.
Stage of Development According to Erikson
Additionally, I find that Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development have impacted my life significantly. Erikson’s theory of development focuses on the influence parents, external factors, and the society on a child’s personality development from childhood to adulthood. I was brought up by a caring and loving family which explains why I avoided much of psychosocial crisis that occurs during the trust versus mistrust stage. I received consistent, predictable, and reliable care that created a sense of confidence. Additionally, I successfully passed through the autonomy versus shame and doubt stage. I was able to assert my independence as I could walk, play with toys, and make decisions on what I would wear. For example, my mother was supportive at this stage as she could give me an opportunity to choose the clothes that I liked. I could also select friends to play with at this stage.
The next stage which is initiative versus guilt was partly successful. One major event that reminds me of this phase is when I went to the bathroom, took a bath but lest foam all over my body. My mother expected me to learn how to bathe on my own and since I failed to do it correctly, she was kind to assist making me feel a sense of guilt. Stage four which is industry versus inferiority was not entirely satisfactory (Burman, 2016). As I entered the puberty stage, I started losing friends because of continuous bullying. I felt inferior to my friends despite having physically developed earlier. Additionally, the next two stages which are identity versus role confusion and intimacy versus isolation were not good for me. Since these phases occur during adolescence, I was supposed to develop sexual identity through a discovery of my body (Shaffer & Kipp, 2013). I was confused and unsure of whether the activities I engaged in were age-appropriate which contributed to depression. To avoid embarrassment by my peers, I skipped over my senior year and took college classes instead where I felt a breath of fresh air.
Stage of Development According to Piaget
Similarly, Piaget’s four-stage theory of cognitive development influenced my childhood and adolescence significantly. After talking to my mother, I realized that the first stage which is the sensorimotor stage was fortunate during my childhood. The caring nature of my family allowed me to learn about the world through actions such as grasping, looking, sucking, and listening. Since my father used to travel a lot for business purposes, my mother was the closest person to me (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). I learnt that I was an avid thumb sucker, a behavior that progressed throughout my childhood. The preoperational stage was also successful as I could use words and pictures to represent objects. My mother told me that I did not like sharing my things with my sister which depicts the egocentric characteristic during this stage. During the concrete operational phase, I realized that people were making fun my physically developed body which made me develop a peculiar behavior and develop low self-esteem (Burman, 2016). The formal operational stage was not entirely successful as I engaged in risky behavior such as smoking. The look on my parent’s faces and hearing my father cry after cutting my arm was the most painful thing I experienced.
Nature versus Nurture
Nature versus nurture is a principle of cognitive development which insists that both nature and nurture impact development. Nature refers to the inherited characteristics that influence development. My childhood was excellent as I had the capacity to learn how to walk, draw inferences about how different individuals perceived the world, imitate others, understand language, and use simple tools. With a reasonable environment, the genes acquired from my parents allowed me to develop as a reasonably capable person (Shaffer & Kipp, 2013). However, I inherited the genes that contributed to my fast, physical development that caused trauma while interacting with my peers during adolescence On the other hand, nurture is the environmental conditions that influence a person’s development. Factors such as depression negatively affected my puberty (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).. I was always a creative and outgoing girl, and I tried to be kind to everyone. I quickly learned that everyone wasn’t always going to be kind to me. Therefore, both nature and nurture impacted my development from childhood to adolescence differently.
According to Bowlby, the attachment theory emphasizes on the significance of a secure and trusting relationship between the mother and infant during development. The quality of attachment that I experienced during my childhood has a critical impact on my development. Since I spent most of my time with the family, there were no major deprivations which contribute to my personality of being affectionate, increased intelligence, reduced aggression, and low delinquency. Protest, despair, and detachment were not evident because I had several friends in my childhood (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). The early childhood relationships with my family and friends directly impact my adolescence. The model of attachment I had has helped me react to my needs and other life circumstances accordingly. In this case, the model that best suited me was that of self as efficient when interacting with friends and family. Ultimately, this mental representation has shaped my current social and emotional behavior.
I find that Fowler’s stages of faith and identity were relevant in my childhood and adolescent developmental processes. From a personal perspective, the first phase which occurs between birth and two years was successful. My parents treated me well. Thus I developed a definite character of trust as explained in Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development. The second stage which is intuitive was also successful because I was aware of time and formed images that impacted my life later. I remember asking my mother a lot of questions such as where I came from. The third stage called mythical-literal stage was not very successful because my mother did not have adequate time to tell stories and beliefs associated with our community (Fowler & Dell, 2006). During this phase, I experienced little development spiritually, and hence my childhood was not well informed. The synthetic-reflective stage was quite phenomenal as I extended my faith beyond my family and formed relationships with friends. Eventually, this made my adolescence life positive because I developed a sense of identity and personal values. For example, I could understand why I went to church on Sundays.
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Challenges and Success
During my childhood and adolescence development stages, I experienced a number of challenges as well as success. One major factor that enhanced my success was the availability of my parents and sister who helped me overcome the various developmental crisis. Skipping over my senior year and took college classes instead gave me a new experience that strengthened my personality. The event helped me to make new relationships and escape some of the constant bullying. Furthermore, I have developed a secure attachment to family and friends and also acquired a faith that defines my personality. One of the challenges that I experienced was developing depression and smoking at the age of fourteen due to peer pressure. Additionally, spending most of my adolescence being bullied affected my personality negatively. However, together with the help of my sister, mother, and friends, I was able to overcome the challenges and become the individual I am today.
- Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson.
- Burman, E. (2016). Deconstructing developmental psychology. Taylor & Francis.
- Fowler, J. W., & Dell, M. L. (2006). Stages of faith from infancy through adolescence: Reflections on three decades of faith development theory. The handbook of spiritual development in childhood and adolescence, 34-45.
- Ramser, P. (1994). Theories of Developmental Psychology. Psyccritiques, 39(1), 98.
- Shaffer, D. R., & Kipp, K. (2013). Developmental psychology: Childhood and adolescence. Cengage Learning.