Due to the fact that the nervous system is not yet fully developed at this stage, a lot of the actions performed during this stage can be involuntary or just abrupt and spontaneous. Vision is undeveloped at ages 1 month to 5 months. Typically they are able to see just roughly 10 inches out. Once they reach 6 months old, their vision should be at full capacity, Initially, all actions are involuntary. Their arm may go up, but they are unsure as to how it got there, or why did it just hit them in their face. Suckling is another involuntary movement that is simply in their nature to do. Slowly they begin understanding that they control these movements. They are then able to figure out what they want and how to get what they want. Learning to trust the primary caregiver. Believing they will continue to feed them, change them, play with them, comfort them etc. Their primary form of communication is crying or cooing. When they need something they will cry to indicate a current need is not being met. Typically a coo would indicate all is well and they are content.
During infancy, the body is very disproportionate. During the transition into early childhood, the body starts to transform in to what seems to appear as a mini adult form. The baby fat begins to go away, they gain a longer neck, and the round belly shrinks. During this stage they grow approx.. 2-3 inches per year. Brain development continues during early childhood. Children learn rapidly and brain changes enable more reflective coordinated thought and memory (Stassen Berger, 2010). Children learn when and how to express emotion. Emotional regulation influenced by brain maturation. Social guidance gradually increases from age 2-6. Children teach one another to be kind and loyal and how to control aggressive impulses (Stassen Berger, 2010)
Middle and Late Childhood
Growth slows down and muscle develops and health is usually good. Many children age 7 to 11 eat too much and exercise too little and become obese and overweight as a result (Stassen Berger, 2010). School age children have active minds and can learn almost anything. Reaction time increase. The brain becomes more selective in attention. Children are more efficient in memory (Stassen Berger, 2010). There are important transitions that happen during middle and late childhood that grow during adolescence. At the stage of middle and late childhood, children still relate to their families. Their parents have a strong influence regarding their decisions and actions. However, friendships are starting to grow and become more and more important. Friendships are developed based on “convenience”. However, similar interests are starting to become an important factor in making friends. Friends have not yet become an influence in behavior. The urge to be independent hasn’t taken place yet.
Puberty takes places during adolescence. Each step involved with puberty happens at different ages. A non-physical change associated with puberty is the release of hormones. One of the hormones is the sex hormone. This causes a heighten desire for sexual activity. Physically, females go through changes such as the growth of their breast, the beginning of their menstrual cycle, and a growth spurt. Males go through a growth spurt, enlargement of the testicles and penis, and their first ejaculation. The adolescent brain develops at different times. The portion of the brain associated with emotions develops first. This explains why teenagers show a range of emotions are easily made upset. During the later adolescent years the brain develops the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with making healthier decisions and planning ahead (Berger 2010).
Because of the delay of in brain development, teenagers do not think of the consequences of their actions. It is also during this stage that teenagers develop a sense of self, identity. During adolescence teenagers search for independence. Although they are not old enough to support themselves and make their own decisions, they try to find small ways to experience independence. Teenagers will try to make decisions on what they wear and what they do with friends. These kinds of decisions can create tension between teenagers and their parents. Parents are losing control of their teenager. They also do not share the beliefs of their teenager because they belong to a different cohort. While teenagers are trying to establish their own beliefs and morals, they can clash with their parents. During this stage in life teenagers will conflict the most with their parents. Friends become the main influence in an adolescent’s decisions. It is during this stage that a teenager cares the most about what their friends think.
In early adulthood, between adolescence and middle age, the body begins to change. This is sometimes the point where the body is at its healthiest. Changes in diet affect how weight is gained or lost. How proper health habits will change the way the body reacts and grows. Life experiences begin to lend a hand to problem solving. More experiences lead to better decision making when it comes to relationships, career choice, or what events to attend. More of a realistic look on life versus a daydream or an idea. Goals are achieved by becoming more focused on the tasks in front of them, The ability to process problems for the best solution. Desire for intimacy. Having personal relationships become more fulfilling. A sense of self-sacrifice when it comes to others. A sense of belonging when in large groups. Fears isolation, ridicule, and loneliness. Change of behavior occurs dependent on the individual’s marital status, and continues until status is changed. Establishment of career goal and status.
Aging has become a factor. Hair begins to turn grey or become lost, skin begins to wrinkle, and the body slows when it comes to metabolism which decreases weight loss. Women may start going through menopause while testosterone levels will decrease in men. The brain in middle adulthood goes through some changes and begins to slow down. People start to become forgetful and cannot remember things, which can be very frustrating and people start going into a midlife crisis. This is all caused by the brain shrinking as we get older. A person’s personality and temperament also changes as they begin to age. Middle aged is important time to have and keep good friends who are also in their middle age. The reason is that they are also going through all the different changes and all the anxiety as you are. Having friends that are going through the same things as you is very beneficial and supporting especially when you are having a hard time dealing with the changes in life. Intimacy is also something that is always needed throughout all stages of life.
In late adulthood, it is very common to lose vision to where it is harder to see things and it is common to develop cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. More common physical changes are sensory loss and more health problems such as cardiovascular disease which is common in late adulthood. It is very important for the elderly to get some exercise just like they use to do when they were younger, whether it is just walking, climbing stairs, or something that keeps you moving and not staying still all the time are all ways to stay healthier The adult brain in late adulthood changes just like it does all throughout life. In late adulthood, the brain does not function as well as it use to during the younger days.
There is a lot more confusion and it is harder for a lot of elderly to understand things. As people get into their late adulthood they start gather some things that mean a lot to them and hoard them for safe keeping. Also people like to keep traditions going in order to stay in touch with family and friends as they age. Some people also still continue to work as long as they do not have any disabilities restricting them from doing so, while others are retired and rely on their retirement funds, AARP, disability payments or Medicaid to survive. Then as we get older, we start having to deal with the sad part of life called death that happens to everyone at some point in life.
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