It is appreciable that the experiences that an individual goes through in life shape a person’s life. The environment in which an individual is brought up in is particularly important in influencing life (Fontaine & Fletcher, 2009). It is also notable that the process of human development is continuous and according to Erik Erikson, development takes place in stages starting from childhood until death. The eight stage developmental theory developed by Erikson is particularly important in describing human development.
Personally, this developmental model is helpful in describing my personal life up to the current young adulthood stage. In addition to developmental theory as described by Erikson, my moral development is also largely described by Kohlberg’s developmental theory as well as influences of gender (male) and culture. Described below is my personal portrait as per Erikson’s developmental stages and Kohlberg’s developmental theory with a description of gender and cultural influences. Stage 1: birth to 18 months
According to Erikson, this stage is necessary for learning trust if one successfully goes through the stage. Mistrust on the other hand is developed if trust is not developed. Considering that an intimate relationship with the maternal caregiver is the main determinant of the developmental outcomes, I consider myself as having had a fruitful relationship with my mother who must have showed much care to me with constant positive contact. Resultantly, I have become optimistic about the future and life in general.
Having both my parents present in my infancy (although primary care coming from my mother), my parents provided quality care thus proving to be dependable. Cumulatively, the trust that I developed in my parents has always given me the motivation that the world has much to offer and other people can also be depended. Stage 2: 18 months to 3 years This is the early childhood stage of development where Erikson described that either autonomy develops or shame as the opposite extreme. As per Erikson’s postulation, this is a very crucial stage where one learns skills such as walking, feeding as well as toilet training.
It is a basis for establishing self-esteem which determines ones autonomy. Personal will is also developed at this stage and finding a child saying “NO” to something is not a strange thing. The most influencing environment is the interaction with the parents (Harder, 2009). Considering my life, I experienced both autonomy and shame although autonomy was dominant. Whereas I am told that I had learnt to a plausible extent how to feed myself and would refuse to be fed and also walked and talked appreciably, I was a bit lacking in toilet.
I was not adequately left to handle toileting by myself and my parents would insist on taking care of my toileting. Whereas it did not make me feel ashamed, I developed some doubts in handling some matters in my life and to some extent made me have a low self-esteem in some areas in my life. Currently, I find myself doubting my capability in doing things that my friends question on my ability. Stage 3: 3 to 5 years Erikson described this stage as the play age where the word “why” is very common.
Not only does a child become more playful but he or she also takes initiative in coming up with playful situations. It is also important to note that this stage of development is characterized by tendency to imitate the adults who are immediate in our lives. A successful outcome in this stage is that of initiative while guilt is bound to be experienced when the child’s purpose is not discovered (Palombo, Bendicsen & Koch, 2009). This is one of the stages that I successfully passed through since my basic family was there for me.
I can still trace all the different toys that I had from some that were purchased to others that my father made for me. I remember well one time I injured my little brother when I used a sewing needle to inject her as I imitated my father who is a doctor. I also emerged as a very creative and imaginative child and I would lead other kids to playing games regarding family roles and I preferred playing the father role. Stage 4: 6-12 years This is the school age where Erikson proposed that the child either develops industrious and competent or develops inferiority (Harder, 2009).
I was successfully ushered into this developmental stage as I started developing more relationships with school friends as well as friends in my neighborhood. Through my interaction with friends at school, I acquired new knowledge not only from an academic viewpoint but also on the social aspect as I spent more time with school mates. I started appreciating mathematics which I have since then liked and performed well. I also remember that I first joined baseball at the age of eight and I not only played it at school but also with my neighbors after school and during the weekends.
In general, I would rate myself having been industrious despite the fact that I would still feel doubtful about my capability in baseball especially after one of my friends doubted my skills. Stage 5: 12 to 18 years Adolescence years are described by Erikson as years of finding ones identify failure to which one ends up being confused about his or her role. Being a transitory stage from childhood to adulthood, life becomes more complex and what a person does as compared to what others do to you determines the developmental outcome (Harder, 2009). I experienced all aspects of this developmental stage as described by Erikson.
Whereas at times I found myself navigating successfully and finding my identity, I also found myself confused about my role. With my peers being more significant than my parents, I remember I became quite deviant and I was always at conflict with my parents. I always hated their constant imposed rules and restrictions when I wanted to be with my peers. I remember well it is during this period that I first experimented with sex. Just for curiosity purposes. Despite this crisis, my parents never abandoned their responsibility of directing me through this confusing stage.
Resultantly, I upheld the philosophy of a positive future and I would feel that I was meant to be a successful person in life. I always imagined of how I would one time become a great leader in either the political world or an influential person in life. It is unfortunate that I viewed life and my way to success as a conflict-free path, thus I was more in an ideal world than in reality. Stage 6: 18 to 35 years This is the stage that I am currently in. According to Erikson, this is the stage where one develops intimacy or else one ends up in isolation.
Initially, it is identified that there is tendency to find love and companionship (Palombo, Bendicsen & Koch, 2009). This may be through getting attached to one or more companionships. Eventually, the love is bound to end up in starting up a family. Personally I have at least gone through the initial stages having dated at least four women in a period of five years. Currently, I have already identified a mutually satisfying relationship and planning to start a family in the next few years. As such, I consider myself as being intimate and in love. Kohlberg’s developmental model of moral development
Kohlberg has defined a six stage model of moral development which is undoubtedly portrayed in my life. Kohlberg’s developmental model unlike Erikson theory does not describe moral development in stages as determined by a specific age limit but it is mainly on moral skills of understanding and reasoning (Crain, 1985). In stage 1, obedience versus punishment stage, a child perceives that given rules and obligations are supposed to be followed without questioning. Failure to obey the rules often results into punishment. In my situation, this is what is believed in before I was age 10.
I knew that if I failed to do school assignment, I would end up being punished by the teacher or even my parents. I also believed that it was bad to steal because I would be beaten if I was identified. In general, I viewed morality to be a higher command. In the second moral developmental stage, Kohlberg examines individualism versus exchange. This means that people have differing viewpoints regarding a moral question thus what constitutes moral is relative. Nevertheless, everyone is ready to compromise their viewpoints as long as there are benefits.
I cannot forget how I had refused to be punished since my mathematics teacher had found me copying a mathematical problem from one of my classmates, which had proved hard for me to tackle. I felt that I was supposed to cheat because the teacher had given me a tough math problem beyond my capability. Kohlberg describes stage 3 of moral development as the good interpersonal relationships stage where the expectations of the society and the family determine morals. Some behaviors/actions are regarded as ‘good’ whereas others are defined as ‘bad’.
Personally, I grew up in an environment where I was always appreciated when I did what was viewed as acceptable e. g. helping with household chores and I was highly reprimanded upon disobeying set rules. As such, I knew that I had a responsibility to do what was ‘right’ and keep off from what is ‘bad’. In the fourth stage of moral development, Kohlberg identifies that morals are upheld for the purpose of social disorder. It is appreciable that at one time, I started to view the need to hold to some principles for the good of the society (Crain, 1985).
I was more responsible of my actions and for the purposes of avoiding chaos in the larger society, I avoided breaking laws at school and the few national laws that I knew. Stage 5 is the social contract versus individual rights stage. Kohlberg viewed that morals are upheld as a commitment to a larger social contract where certain things are agreeable among everyone. This is the stage that I am currently appreciating. I have developed the respect for basic rights such as life and speech and I appreciate that only democratic processes can be used to change such viewpoints.
Stage six which puts more weight on universal principles with justice at the center stage is closely tied to stage five. As such, I am in the transitory stage. It is pertinent to note that gender and cultural factors have influenced my personal development. For instance, being a male from a culture where males are supposed to approach females for dating and courtship made me easily appreciate young adulthood stage of development as per Erikson. Nevertheless, I cannot deny that the egoistic nature has also denied me opportunities to date women who have approached me for a relationship.
Also as an influence of culture and gender, my play age stage was greatly influenced. I identify that I preferred to play in the role of a doctor (my father) rather than a nurse (my mother is a nurse) since nurses are perceived to be females. In fact we used to reserve the nurse roles to female children in our play group. In general, the fact that I have grown up in an environment that has shown conditioned me to view the world positively has modeled me to be a highly optimistic individual. Conclusion
Erikson’s developmental theory is an excellent theory that describes personal development. Evaluating and analyzing myself as per the theory, this theory is largely describing my development from infancy to the current young adulthood stage. Kohlberg’s developmental model of moral developmental is also largely defining my moral viewpoint. To a large extent, these two theories are effective in describing personal development. Nevertheless, the influence of culture, gender and environment in general is inseparable.
All these factors have had a role in my development. References Crain, W. C. (1985). Theories of development. New Jersey, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Fontaine, K. L. J. and Fletcher, S. (1999). Mental health nursing. ISBN: 0805316442, 9780805316445: Addison-Wesley. Harder, A. F. (2009). The developmental stages of Erik Erikson. Retrieved 3, May 2010 http://www. learningplaceonline. com/stages/organize/Erikson. htm Palombo, J. , Bendicsen, H. K. and Koch, B. J. (2009). Guide to psychoanalytic developmental theories. ISBN: 0387884548, 9780387884547: Springer.
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