This project involves the developmental milestones that one takes throughout life. The overall goal of this paper is to give the reader the understanding that the writer has knowledge about the theories and concept of Human Growth and Development. It will incorporate more about the development and growth of the writer. Information from the writer’s mother about her journey of her pregnancy and if she had any problems with her pregnancy. There will be an explanation from the mother about developmental milestones reached. There are a few early events that took place during the writer’s development it will be showcased in the paper. Finally the conclusion of the paper will focus on the lifestyle behaviors that might influence the writer’s current aging process and if there are any issues exactly how she would address it.
Keywords: development, lifestyle, journey, young adulthood, human growth, milestones
Developmental milestones are important journeys that everyone takes throughout out life. Once a mother first finds out that she is pregnant the child in which she is carrying begins to embark on their journey of life. Everyone does not reach their milestones on target or even at all. Each person is at a different stage in their life, therefore their milestones and journey will vary, from one to the other. My particular journey and development has followed the path of Psychologist Erik Erikson’s psychosocial stages of human development. I am currently between stages five and six. Stage five is identity vs. identity confusion and stage six is intimacy vs. isolation. Although I am a young adult I am still developing and hitting milestones on my journey of life.
While being pregnant with me my mother speaks that she had no problem during her entire nine months of pregnancy. She did not have any problems until delivery. She was in labor for two days. Her water was broken and at that time I stopped moving down. She did not dilate anymore. Once dilation stopped it was found that the umbilical was wrapped around my neck. Although the cord caused stress and my heart rate to drop while in labor, it did not cause any other known complications once I was born. She was in labor for two days.
Developmental milestones are important in a child’s life. Developmental milestones have a wide range of different functional skills that a child is able to do as they hit certain ages. “Infancy and childhood are dynamic periods of growth and change” (Gerber, Wilks, & Erdie-Larena, 2010). At each age a child is supposed to reach milestones in their life that would consider them as developing normal. If the child does not reach that particular milestone for their age then they are considered to have a developmental delay. Developmental milestones are associated with a child’s gross motor, cognitive, social, language, and fine motor skills. When a child develops their gross motor skills they are able to walk, stand, and sit. They learn how to use their major muscle groups. When the child reaches the cognitive milestone he or she shows that they are able to solve problems, show an understanding, and reasoning skills. Developing milestones also include language.
When a child embarks on certain milestones they will develop abilities such as communication skills, speaking, and body language. Learning how to interact with others, for example peers and family is a social developmental milestone. Milestones are important for children to reach. It is crucial to monitor and watch a child as he or she develops. “Surveillance involves analyzing the milestones in the context of a child’s history, growth, and physical examination findings to recognize those who may be at risk for developmental delay. A thorough understanding of the normal or typical sequence of development in all domains (gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, receptive language, expressive language, and social-emotional) allows the clinician to formulate a correct overall impression of a child’s true developmental status” (Gerber, Wilks, & Erdie-Larena, 2010).When a child is delayed in reaching their age milestone parents and doctors will start to show concerns. Although it can be tough for parents worrying about if their child will meet the milestone, it is a developmental journey that is wonderful and joyous to watch.
Erik Erikson was a psychologist who developed the psychosocial developmental stages. “Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is one of the best-known theories of personality in psychology. Much like Sigmund Freud, Erikson believed that personality develops in a series of stages. Unlike Freud’s theory of psychosexual stages, Erikson’s theory describes the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan” (Cherry, 2014). Although there were other psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget who had their own developmental theory, the one who I identify best with is Erik Erikson. After speaking with my parents from what they both remember I seem to hit all my developmental milestones without problems or issues.
Trust vs Mistrust
“The first stage of psychosocial development of basic trust vs. basic mistrust, he introduces the word hope which was to become the first human strength or virtue. According to Capps (2012) trust is a sense of dependence and confidence where on the other hand mistrust is caution and uncertainty. From birth to eighteen months Erikson called this stage the trust vs. mistrust. During this time the child develops a trust for people, like their parents or caregiver. When I inquired about what signs or anything significant where I showed trust or mistrust my mother said she had the perfect story. She told me that around six months due to the military my dad had to leave for about five months. Before he left I was very attached to him and cried when he left my eyes. Once he left I became attached to my brothers. When he returned I no longer wanted to go to him. The best way to describe it is that I lost trust in him and he became a stranger to me. It did take a while but eventually I was able to trust him and no longer feared him or had a mistrust for my dad.
Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt
Erikson’s early childhood stage is known as the stages of the two and three year olds. “Erikson’s second stage, autonomy versus shame and self-doubt, involves the struggle for personal control and separation from others” (Vogel-Scibilia, et al., 2009). In this developmental stage the child has a control over their physical skills. Best example given by my mother for this one was my potty training. Potty training was a smooth training for me. But when I made a mistake and went to the bathroom on myself I was ashamed and I was no longer proud of my accomplishments. It was just the opposite though if I did not use the bathroom on myself. I was excited and even happier when I received praise. I guess I had a sense of happiness and endeavors.
Initiative vs Guilt
Erikson’s locomotor stage happens during the ages of three through six. In this stage Erikson called it initiative vs guilt. “During this period the primary feature involves the child regularly interacting with other children at school. Central to this stage is play, as it provides children with the opportunity to explore their interpersonal skills through initiating activities” (McLeod, 2008).The outcome of the locomotor stage is for the child to gain independence. “The child takes initiatives which the parents will often try to stop in order to protect the child. The child will often overstep the mark in his forcefulness and the danger is that the parents will tend to punish the child and restrict his initiatives too much” (McLeod, 2008). I can remember this time of my life, like it was yesterday. Around the age of five I felt that I would take the initiative and start pick out my own clothes and also dress myself. The night before my first day of kindergarten I picked out my clothes and could not wait to dress myself. I prepared everything I needed to be ready for the next morning.
The first day I woke up eager and excited to get dress. I did everything right according to my mother, except for putting my shoes on the right foot. But the only problem with that was nobody could tell me I was wrong. I was adamant about putting these shoes on the way I wanted too. My brothers tried to help me but I refused their help. My mother gave up trying and let me walk to the car with my shoes on the wrong foot. When I did make it to the car my feet were hurting and I felt ashamed and guilt. I was ashamed and embarrassed because I was wrong. I felt guilty because I would not let anyone help me and I was acting like it would kill me to let my family help me. The locomotor stage showed me and helped me develop a sense of knowing that it is okay to ask for help. I never need or have to be too proud to get help with I do not understand.
Industry vs Inferiority
“The fourth stage is industry versus inferiority and children try to hone and master culturally important skills. The achievement of these skills results in a sense of industry and the psychosocial strength of competence” (Dunkel & Sefek, 2009). It focused on age six to twelve. The outcome in the latency stage is the industry vs inferiority. Erikson set this stage for the school age children. He believed that during this time school age children learn new skills. They are going to learn how to deal with success or suffer with the possibility of failure. If a child is not able to learn their new task or study, they have to understand that there is a chance that failure will occur. I really cannot remember an example that occurred in this stage for me. However I do know what it is like to learn or know about failure. At this age I was learning new things and understanding many different life lessons. I recall in the 7th grade I had to write an essay about black history month.
Although I thought I knew a lot I quickly found out that I did not. In the third grade I won an award for writing a black history essay. Well in the sixth grade I just knew that I would succeed and win again, I was sadly mistaken. I learned and improved my writing skills but I had to experience failing. I felt a sense of incompetence when I did not win. During this developmental milestone it took me awhile to learn and understand that I was not perfect and I would not succeed in everything I did and would do. But overall the journey that I took was great and I would later find out that anything I wanted to do was possible. This stage helped shape me and get me thus far.
Identity vs Role Confusion
“According to Erikson, adolescence was the time when young people were given opportunities to reflect on what career they would choose, what kind of social and romantic relationships they would enter into, and what values and beliefs they would hold” (Schwartz, Zamboanga, Meca, & Ritchie, 2012). The way Erikson explained the adolescence and young adult stages fits me to a tee. Even though the adolescence and young adult stage are spoken about separately they both describe me as I am right now. Erikson described the adolescence stage as the identity verses role confusion. It usually occurs during ages twelve to eighteen. At the stage the developmental goal is for the adolescent to learn how to obtain and maintain relationships. The relationship that is developed is between the adolescent and their peers. In most cases the adolescent learns how to identify their role and identity.
Intimacy vs Isolation
Currently the young adult stage that Erikson described is where I am supposed to be in life. It is the developing milestone where the young adult ultimate goal is to have a love relationship. It deals with ages nineteen to forty. “Erik Erikson spoke of intimacy as a stage of young adulthood that everyone must negotiate, via faithfulness to commitments and readiness for sacrifice” (Torrens, 2009). As a young adult you are trying to develop your relationships with your love ones. Such as your significant other. This is the time that the young adult must understand how to love or they will feel left out as if they are isolated. According to McLeod (2012) when this stage is completed successfully it will lead to a calm and relaxed relationship, a sense of commitment, and a care within the relationship. If one avoids the intimacy and isolates themselves it can and will lead to isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression.
My Current Development
I find myself in between the adolescence and young adult stages. Although I feel successful at developing relationships with my peers, which is the ultimate goal of adolescence, I still feel as if I have not identified exactly where I want and need to be, career wise. I am still learning myself and finding out who I am. Ever since I was in the adolescence stage I seem to have been trying to figure out my life and what it is I want to do with myself, career wise. In some moments and instances I felt as if I did not have the friends and relationships I deserve or should have. When I finished college I knew I wanted to work with the County Bureau of Investigations.
When I applied and was turned down I figured that something was wrong. I was not mastering this milestone as I should have. I then started working with clients who suffer from mental disabilities. It was a just a stepping stone job that was supposed to get me through until I was able to become an investigator. Four years later I was still working with clients and not my dream job. Still loss and confused I started working at child support. I am still there to this day and feel like I am still confused and not sure exactly what I need to be doing, as far as occupation. According to the theory of Erik Erikson’s psychosocial stages I am in the young adult stage. I feel that I am not quite there with developing the intimate relationship. Although I have been in a relationship for a while I still feel like I am isolated. I have not completed this stage and still have a few years to go before I am there.
Both the adolescence and young adult stages I did not succeed with ease. It is taking me longer to get through these developmental stages. The two stages are helping me to become the young woman and adult I am supposed to. It is just taking me much more time. Currently in my life I am stuck between the two. I have had several disappointments and mistakes in both stages. I have associated myself with the wrong crowd to now working with individuals who want something in life and I feel can help me succeed. I am still a work in process.
“The inattentiveness to spiritual development in the mainstream social sciences can be graphically illustrated in the study of development psychology” (Roehlkepartain, Benson, King, & Wagener, 2005). Spiritual development takes time to understand. Therefore when it comes to the younger adults it is important for them to understand and form their own spiritual opinions. I have never been a big person on spirituality or religion. Overtime I have started to understand, believe, and accept my spiritual development. Spiritual development is a physiological and psychological movement in one’s life. For me I am growing stronger mentally. Being spiritually developed relieves a person of harmful toxins. A person is able to become healthier and stronger. Although I have begun the process of developing spiritually, I am far from there. I have a lot of hurdles to climb before I am able to say that I have developed spiritually. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both and forever” 2 Peter 3:18
In conclusion, developmental milestones are important for everyone. Everyone is not going to make it through all the milestones with ease. There will be bumps and bruises along the way. Even though Erik Erikson psychosocial best describes me there are other psychologist that one may feel more connected too. Erikson’s stages explain my journey and I am able to see my way through.
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