The human development stages include psychosocial, systemic, psychodynamic, existential/gestalt and cognitive stages. Development occurs throughout a lifespan of a human being. Development of any human being begins at the earliest stage which is the prenatal stage and it goes on to after a child is born to adulthood.
Psychosocial stage is best presented by Erik Erikson’s theory (Cherry, 2014). It best explains how personalities are acquired through a series of stages by describing how a person’s social experiences impact his/her lifespan. Ego identity development is one of the key elements of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial stage. This ego identity is developed when we become conscious of ourselves through various social interactions with other people. This ego identity constantly changes because of the new information and experiences that we get from our day to day life interaction with other people.
Psychosocial development stages as described by Erik Erikson occur throughout a lifespan. The first stage is infancy which is from birth to the age of 18 months. The most important event in this stage is feeding. The basic conflict that is experienced at this stage is trust and mistrust. It is seen in children that they develop a sense of trust when those who care for them shows them affection, care and reliability and a lack of this leads to them developing mistrust. The next stage is early childhood which is from the age of 2 to 3 years old. The conflict is autonomy verses shame and doubt and the most important event is toilet training. There is need for children to develop personal control and not physical skills as well as independence. Failure to this will result to a child feeling ashamed and being doubtful and at its success it leads to autonomy.
Preschool follows the early childhood stage which is experienced by children of ages 3 to 5 years. There is a conflict of guilt and initiative at this stage. Children should begin to have power and control over their environs. The most important event is exploration. The next stage is the school age stage in which school is the most important event. Children at this stage have a sense of competence when they learn to cope with academic and new social demands and they feel inferior when they do not. Adolescence shortly follows and these are persons of 12 to 18 years of age. The major event at this stage is usually social relationships and persons at this stage are conflicted by role confusions and identity. After the adolescence stage young adulthood comes in. young adults feel the need to form relationships either intimate or loving. If they are successful at this intimacy or strong relationships are formed and it leads to isolation if they are not.
Middle adulthood is the second last stage where the main event is work and parenthood. Adults feel the need to nurture or create things either by having children or doing something that is beneficial to other. When successful adults feel useful and when they fail they shallowly involve themselves in any word events. Maturity is the last stage in a lifespan and is experienced by people of 65 years and above. There is tendency at this stage for one to have a self reflection on life and feel a sense of fulfillment. Failure often leads to regret despair and bitterness at this stage and feelings of wisdom when one is successful.
Cognitive development is mainly focused on children’s development in elements such as conceptual resources, language learning, information processing, perceptual skill and other aspects of development of the brain. Two major psychologists were a major influence in this field of study. Psychologist Jean Piaget suggested four main cognitive development stages which include; sensorimotor, concrete operational, formal operation and preoperational stages. Preoperational thought includes exchange of collective monologue in conversations of children at this stage of thought. The monologues presented in conversations of children at this stage of thought are egocentric in nature, as children tend to believe that everyone else thinks as they do. Conversation is also problematic at preoperational thought. Conversation in concrete operational stage does not involve egocentrism. Children begin to think logically. At the concrete operational thought conversations is with the same order; first with respect to number then weight and finally volume. Children at concrete operational do not think or converse like adults, though there is a dramatic difference with preoperational thought.
He described that there are prominent changes with age in cognition. Some of the major changes include object permanence which happens in infancy, cause effect reasoning experienced by children of school age and understanding this group of children’s logical reactions. Abilities that are associated with reasoning, problem solving, memory and thinking continue to develop throughout childhood. Schemas were the key concepts of Piaget’s theory which he referred to them as cognitive concepts or frameworks that are useful for people to interpret and organize frameworks. In daily life a person is experiences new information and thus these schemas are completely changed, added or modified.
The other psychologist who gave a theory on cognitive development is Vygotsky. His theory more explained on how children’s way of thinking was constantly influenced by what they knew of their social community. He further described language as a major tool that is used to gain this social language meaning that children can learn or be taught using language by the other people. His definition of intelligence was that it was what one was able to learn from being instructed which forward the need of a more knowledgeable person who was to act as a teacher. Teachers included parents, professional and other adults. Vygotsky’s theory further emphasizes a link that is between how one acquires language and his or her development of thinking as well as tools that are important in attaining intelligence which are cultural and social tools. Vygotsky took it to be a major part of development guiding a child toward self regulation. That is the ability to monitor, guide and plan one’s own thinking and solving problems.
Psychodynamic development in humans involves interaction of forces and drives within a human being mostly those that are unconscious and include the various structures of that personality. Psychodynamics also known as dynamic mainly deal with a person’s behavior explained through terms of the inner confliction of the mind. It explains the role of the unconscious mind, how personality is structured and how childhood experiences influences the latter life of a person. Sigmud Feud who first gave a perspective on psychodynamics believed that our behavior is determined mostly by our unconscious mind and our emotional unconscious drives motivate us. He believed that the unconscious mind contained the unresolved conflicts which have a powerful influence on our experience and behavior.
These conflicts presented in our minds mostly shows up in our dreams, fantasies but they appear in forms of symbols and disguised forms as they are threatening. Feud further proposed that adults have three parts which include superego, ego, and identity (id). The Id is a pleasure that we seek and born with it. The ego is the one that controls any desire of the id and is developed alter. Superego is the part of a personality that is considered moral which is developed as children interact with significant people such as parents. The superego can be considered the conscience. Ego has a role of maintaining balance between superego and id. In general, the interrelationship of the many parts of the personality, mind and psyche in relation to emotional, motivational or mental forces is what comprises psychodynamics. Psychodynamics is the study of exchange and transformation of energy that can be taken to be psychic within an individual’s personality and focuses mostly on the connection between energies of emotional states.
Existential or gestalt development focuses on personality development by considering in a holistic sense an individual. It focuses on accountability, free will, making decision consciously and also exploiting abilities and talents. Choices and consciousness in this approach are considered interrelated. By making or being exposed to environs where there is a possibility of making free choices, people tend to be more insightful on whom they are and thus they develop a sense of being. Systemic development has its basis on systems thinking and is compared to sustainable development.
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