When people make their choices in life, they are influenced by the society that surrounds them by changing their social conditions in ways that may at some point encumber or even support their life with family. Interplay exists between an individual’s family and the society, and throughout the adulthood stage, an individual makes choices that are family related. Development is the movement, growth, and transition made by an individual from one state to another in life. This research has been able to state clearly the stages made by people who are developing from one stage to another. This change of state by individuals has brought about intellectual, physical powers, and the impacts brought about by events of life and different experiences of individuals (Carter & Mcgoldrick, 2005).
Monica explains her life span development theory with stages similar to that of Erickson and further ads that stressors in life originating from life situations, transitions, and socio-cultural events produce change to individuals (Boyd &. Bee, 2008). Material, personal, or interpersonal situational stressors include things like loss of a home, income, and vehicle. They are mostly materialistic in nature. Life passages in an individual’s life are transitional stressors, which include transitions made by the family. Values, socialization, deviance, and conflict are examples of socio-cultural stressors. The factors associated with socio-cultural stressors include the ethnic group, sexual orientations discrimination, age, and status of people in the society. Stressors can be private (marriage, promotion) as well as negative (divorce, death experienced in the family).
Human development is the study of physical, mental, and relational changes that are observable which occur to human beings when they are born, mature, age, and eventually die. Intrapsychic (inward), subjective changes in human beings are difficult to identify since they are unique to every individual even with common experiences shared. Human development studies in relation to basic principles or questions that are formative in nature have evolved and are being presented as dichotomies. Monica and Erickson’s theory considers the cycle of life from birth through to old age (eight stages) indicating the experiences of each individual (Brenman-Gibson, 1997).
Each of the stages as presented by Erickson has its own value and should not be seen as being hierarchical. The early stages of an individual are the most basic and important since they serve as a foundation for later stages in a person’s development process. Erickson’s life stages are useful because they give an overview of the issues of development that are pertinent for one’s counseling in many parts of North America and the United Kingdom. Adulthood covers many years thus, Monica and Erickson divided them into stages according to the experiences of the young, middle aged, and older adults. Early childhood stage takes the infancy- autonomy vs. shame and trust vs. mistrust, late (middle) childhood- industry vs. inferiority, adolescence- identity vs. confusion, early adulthood stage- intimacy vs. isolation, middle adulthood- generativity vs. stagnation, and late adulthood- integrity vs. despair (Herr & Cramer, 1988).
"It is human to have a long childhood; it is civilized to have an even longer childhood. Long childhood makes a technical and mental prodigy out of man, but it also leaves a life-long filtrate of emotional juvenile behavior in him."— Erik Erikson (1902-1994). As individuals pass through the various life stages of development, so does the importance of their various counselors in their life who include parents, teachers, and peers among others thus bringing our opposite traits of personality (optimistic or pessimistic, independent or dependent, leader or follower, aggressive or passive). These traits can be temperament as well as learned based on the challenging experiences and support received as one grows. Erickson was influenced by Freud, but believed that the existing ego in an individual’s life is achieved from birth and the behavior acquired is not defensive. He concluded that development course is determined by bodily interaction (genetic programming biologically), psychological, and ethos influences (Newman & Newman, 2008).
Erickson’s philosophy is based on two themes: (1) the world we live in gets bigger as we go along and (2) failure is viewed as cumulative. The second theme asserts that, those individuals who have to pact with atrocious conditions in life when they were children are unable to negotiate at later stages compared to those individual who had less challenges when growing up. For example, he orphans who were never cared for (stroked) as they were growing up have hard times connecting with other members of their peer group especially when they mature to adulthood. Most of them have died without having experienced any contact from other human beings (Newman & Newman, 2008).
The first stage in Erickson and Monica’s development theory is the Infancy (oral sensory) stage, which covers birth to 18 months (trust vs. mistrust). The mother has an important role to play especially since the emphasis made for this stage are visual contact and touch. Kay a young female child passes this life period successfully and learns to trust having confidence in future expectations. If Kay had not had all her needs met during her growth, she would end up feeling worthless, frustrated, and would mistrust the general worldview being given by others. Most people who commit suicide are because of not trusting the world hence early years of development is crucial for any individual. The maternal parent or caregivers’ relationship developed becomes the most significant in this oral sensory stage (Newman & Newman, 2008).
Early childhood (18 months to 3 years) tries to develop the ego outcome to be that of autonomy vs. shame. In this stage, Kay learns to walk, talk, and feed, finer motor development, and toilet training skills. Her self-esteem and autonomy is being built in this stage by gaining more control of her body and acquiring new skills through differentiating wrong from right. Low self-esteem is experienced when she becomes ashamed of learning the important life skills like toilet training technique as a result; she feels ashamed and doubts her capability. Courage, self-control, and will are her basic strengths. The parents’ relations with her are important at this stage (Demick & Miller, 1993).
Play age (3 to 5 years) brings out the initiative vs. guilt ego development. Kay has the desire to copy the adults in her environment and initiates the situation of play creation by making up stories of playing out the roles in a trial universe environment. Here, she explores the use of the word “WHY?” Erickson downplays the sexuality, which is biological, and in favor of the features of psychosocial which are the conflicts between the parents and the child who in our case is Kay. They say that at this stage an individual becomes involved in “Oedipal struggle” which is classic and manages to resolve the struggle through the “social identification role.” Purpose being her basic power maintains that if she becomes frustrated over the acquisition of natural goals and desires, she easily experiences the guilt feeling (Newman & Newman, 2008).
School Age (6 to 12 years) ego development outcome is that of industry vs. inferiority. This is the latency stage where Kay is capable of learning, creating, and accomplishing new skills and knowledge thus, she becomes an industrious being. This social stage needs to be fully developed in order to reduce the competence and self-esteem problems. The school and neighborhood at large become the significant relationship to be observed even though the parents still play a role in the development of the child (Demick & Miller, 1993).
Adolescence (12 to 18 years) has the identity vs. role confusion in its ego outcome development. What is being done to us is the factor dependent in this developmental stage according to Erickson. From here on to the last stage, what we do is the primary factor of development. Kay tries to find her own identity by struggling with her social interactions in the society and come to grips with her moral issues. As she tries to discover herself individually separating her family and society from her process, she learns so many things that spill to her career and lifestyle development in future. In this stage, she has to make decisions that will reflect her future life. If she does not navigate through this phase of development successful, then she will experience confusion role and mayhem. Peers are our strong relations, but we should always be realistic in our encounters with them since we become too devoted (Demick & Miller, 1993).
Young adulthood (18 to 35 years) carries the intimacy and solidarity vs. isolation development of the ego. This stage is crucial in developing our careers and lifestyle especially since we are looking for companionship and love. Marital partners and friends will encourage us and will see to it that our careers are well built in order for us to acquire a good life in future. Lifestyles developed will depend on her peer pressure influence, which brings out her positive and negative sides in the end. Isolation will; not be the best route to take since we need other people for motivation, encouragement and experiences so as to choose a career path meeting all our needs and wants in a comfortable and happy environment (Demick & Miller, 1993).
Middle Adulthood stage (35 to 55/65) is the one that has generativity vs. self-absorption (stagnation) outcomes of the ego developed. Our family and work occupy our minds since we need to be creative and have meaningful work, which leaves us with the issue of being in charge of others hence the lifestyle we choose to live in will determine the kind of perception your children will decide to have of the world. Generativity is the ability of a person to care for others by producing things that contribute to the improvement of the society hence one should not be inactive or without meaning. The work place, community, and family are the significant relationships (Demick & Miller, 1993).
Late Adulthood stage (55/65 to death) has integrity vs. despair in its ego development. Our strength in this stage comes from wisdom since the world we live in is very large and we have a disconnected apprehension for life as a whole by accepting death as our life’s completion on earth. Those parents in disparity at this stage are as a result of their perceived failures and experiences. According to them, the theory of development from this research has given adolescence stage as the one establishing identity in an individual’s life (Stafford, 1989).
Donald Super says that career development in the past 40 years was a vocabulary since it did not exist. In most cases, people get married and live happily thereafter, but in the development of their careers, evolution has to take effect from experiences emerging in a person’s life. Career development has many facets or segments, and aspects, which make the whole theory process complete and valid. According to him, the life span stages include growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance, and decline. The establishment stage generally begins at age 25 and the maintenance stage looked at the theory of transition where recycling (women) came in also (Super, 1990).
Growth stage (0-14) has pre-adolescents conversant of self-concept and workplace where they have been exposed to use computers, the web and back up resources. The transition that takes place from elementary to secondary school gives assumptions of early cluster of job in making decisions thus choosing appropriate study levels. Exploration stage has dynamism on antithetical hence the counselors and teachers give encouragements to students in being able to widen their research of full spectrum possible occupations. From the growth stage, we look at the establishment with particular reference on Career Consultants who are Pathing and as Cybertraining Consultants for the Press of Research Psychologists. A career pathing consultant is given an opportunity to interact with clients by interpreting inventories. The Cybertraining fellow on the other hand, uses e-resumes and online assessments on careers in his research. Both of these individuals share the same models of career decisions, stresses, and types of stereotyping and mindsets of clients. In the last stage, maintenance, globalization, downsizing, and merges have had traumatic effects on the workers (The Bulletin, Spring 2003)
Recycling in women is much clearer as compared to those of men with emphasis on career crises elements. This transition needs to be coped with by both men and women, but the frequency of this element differs in both parties. Fixedness of these stages has been taken by women to be important especially since they saw these stages as being age related and thus they had no general application to their sequence of life. Productive and meaningful career development studies of women give focus to the determinants (situational and personal). Situational determinants are associated with sociologists who refer to structures of opportunity, to the social attitudes, and mores while personal determinants are linked to the psychologists who give emphasis on how the people interact (Santrock, 2008).
Self-concept should not have the article “the” but ‘role’ which are complex in nature. For example, a high school student who considers himself a good scholar, but poor athletes are seen as role self-concepts, which are important constellations (positive or negative self-concepts). Individuals need to deal with realities in life that comes with stressors and concepts thus counselors need to help individuals make the accidental happenings happy. For instance, bright girls who ought to be attending colleges could not go because they cannot afford it should be awarded scholarships by their learning institutions in order to help them overwhelm their negative predictions and change them to happy accidents happening. People should be able to clearly examine their realities, assimilate them, and find a solution to them (Super, 1990).
Career theories give matching to individuals and their occupations by looking at their interests, abilities, activities, and achievements. Emergent decisions should be made from those approximations of success by any individual especially those of ages 14 and 15. Maturity of career or developments, planning, and knowledge are measure applications used in explaining and exploring the kinds of decisions made by the person, to be able to make decisions that are tentative and hence subject to revision with ones experiences at hand, and be able to make long term decisions involving your study. Work importance and life roles like study, work, homemaking, leisure time, and community hence when a person considers work as lacking importance he/she qualifies to be recognized as being vocationally mature. The components of this level of maturity include planning of the career, its exploration, the world of work knowledge and skills, skills in decision making of career choice, and the preferred occupation of the individual (Holland, 1985).
The concept of vocational amplified by Super gives acknowledgment to the distinct characteristics (self) of the individual while acknowledging simultaneously the similarities of other people. An individual makes vocational decisions that are consistent with his/her self-concept since the processes of identification progress with that of differentiation concurrently. The role-playing in the self-concept theory facilitates the development process of vocational theory of self-concept by doing a reality test, which in turn solidifies the whole concept (Patton & McMahon, 2006).
Lining up experiences from the past with assumptions that have underlying assumptions in an individual’s life does equate them to the choice manifestation, environment, and opportunity. The experiences that one obtains during his developmental stages pave way to his/her career choice. For example, if one is born in a family where the parents are drunkards, the child might decide to become a counselor in order to give advice to other children who want to engage in the vice of drinking while others might get involved in drug taking and abuse at an early age in life. The opportunity that life presents itself in one’s development stages reflects greatly on the assumptions made by an individual. Those who have plenty of opportunities at their disposal become reluctant in choosing careers since they have a variety of them to choose from while those with insufficient funds have minimal career choices due to the fact that they can afford a majority of them. The environment that one grows in will determine their career development process since the teachers, coaches, and community at large need to contribute in building of their career, which is a long process, all together (Herr & Brook, 1990).
The age of individuals at different life span development stages comes with different choices. Those who are in their early stages will make choices depending on their parents’ decision and lead while those in their mid stages are bias and think only of themselves. The older adults will make choices bearing in mind that there are so many people who will be affected They put the needs and feelings of others first especially because they have children who need guidance and counseling (Magnusson, 1997).
In conclusion, Super did could have planned this outcome from the beginning. However, it is a process that is inevitable since not all individuals in that particular stage will undergo all of them at the same time. Many people in the 21st century are making changes in their careers in their late stages of life rather than retiring because they were not ready in their early stages of life to make decisions that are going to build them. The most important side effect of this life span development is the advances made in career paths by allowing people to intervene in their decision making process hence their trends in work places generate gains from the societal.
Brenman-Gibson, M (1997), "The legacy of Erik Homburger Erikson.", Psychoanalytic review.
Boyd, D, &. Bee, H. (2008). Lifespan Development. MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Carter, B., & Mcgoldrick, M. (2005). The Expanded Family Life Cycle: Individual, Family, and Social Perspectives. MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Carter, B., and McGoldrick, M. (1988). The Changing Family Life Cycle: A Framework for Family Therapy. New York: Gardner Press.
Demick, J., & Miller, M. (1993). Development in the workplace. New York: Routledge.
Herr, E., & Brooks, L. (1990). Career choice and development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Herr, E. & Cramer, S. (1988). Career guidance and counseling through the life span. Boston: Scott, Foresman.
Holland, J. (1985). Making vocational choices. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Magnusson, D. (1997). The lifespan development of individuals: behavioral, neurobiological, and psychosocial perspectives: a synthesis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Newman, M., & Newman, R. (2008). Development through Life: A Psychosocial Approach. New York: Cengage Learning.
Patton, W., & McMahon, M. (2006). Career development and systems theory: connecting theory and practice. Chicago: Sense Publishers, 2006.
Stafford, Tim. (1989). As Our Years Increase-Loving, Preparing: A Guide. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Santrock, J. (2008). Life Span Development. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.
Super, D. (1990). A life-span, life-space, approach to career development. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (Eds.), Career choice and development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
The Bulletin> Spring 2003 > A Look at Donald Super’s stages of Career Development in the 21st Century.
Retrieved Sunday, 01 March 2009 from http://www.contactpoint.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=354&catid=58&Itemid=37.