Human growth and development over a lifetime shows how a person evolves from birth to the time of death. Psychologists study the development of children teaching influencing their future. My childhood experiences influences my adulthood, but I have to show maturity. Does this mean that I do the same things I did as I child? What kind of growth did I show from elementary age to high school age? How much of my child will influence my decision-making as I move forward in my developmental stages? Does my spiritual have an impact on how I view myself? I have to take a step back into my past to view my challenges and obstacles. My challenges and obstacles will make or break me. I have to make a decision of what I choose to do with what I go through.
Human growth and development affect daily lives and how a person will develop. My life brought great times and not so good times. With going through these different experiences, it brought about who I am today. I never thought as a child how my choices and experiences would influence my life, as I grew older. Childhood experiences have great influence on how a person grows mentally, physically and, unbelievably, spiritually. I believe that is true in my life due to the childhood experiences I had. A person does not realize how their childhood affected them until something actually occurs, as they grow older. Looking back into my life, I know that even though not all of my experiences were great, they made me who I am today. Early Childhood
Between the ages of three and six, this was the beginning of how I would view life now. As a child, you do not think about the choices you make and affects of them. How I learned to do things and execute them, showed my development growth and what I should know during those ages. Piaget talked about the “childhood playing a great role in growth of intelligence and a child learns through exploring actively” (Feldman, 2014). At the age of four, I had an accident at daycare where it caused me to have to get surgery. I was outside playing with my friends, as I was running I slipped and fell onto a rock. When I looked down, I realized that I had broken my arm and my bone was sticking out of my elbow. After surgery, I ended up with having pens in my elbow and later they were removed from my elbow. At that point, I had to wear a cast for a certain amount of time until my healed. I grew to learn to be careful in things I encounter myself in. That was a traumatizing moment, because I did not know what would happen if this experience were to happen again, without realizing it.
This results in memory of this situation causing me to think about the choices I make because I did not want to have to experience this again. I was afraid that this could happen again. “There may be considerable sadness” after a traumatizing event happening. Since I did not understand why this happened to me, I was very sad and upset (Terr, 1991). I could not do as much because I had to walk around with a cast on my arm. With this event occurring, I think about now if I have any children what I would do to try to prevent accidents of that nature. Spiritually, I did not understand God and praying. My mother and grandmother took me to child, but at that age a child do not fully understand what is going on. “Faith and optimism, and a positive outlook on life create a healthy brain and body” (Helliwell, 2011). This statement is true, but a child does not know what the brain or the body is about to have faith in anything. I listened to what my parents told me I needed to do to overcome being upset about breaking my elbow. Middle Childhood
Thanks to my parents, I grew out of the sadness I felt from breaking my elbow during my early childhood stage. Ages six through eight is when I began to become a little more independent with wanting to do things on my own, such as my schoolwork. Behavioral changes tend to evolve during this stage due to a child understanding new things. During this stage, this is where my family structure became different from what the first seven years of my life consisted of. There was a transition from me being the only child in my family.
My parents decided to have another child. I was devastated and became very upset because, in my mind, I was going to have to share my parents with someone else. Studies show that, “Younger firstborns did appear to have more reported problems than older firstborns, in general. They were more likely to show increases in clinging and seeking adult attention, more distress over time, more time wandering, more withdrawal and had more toileting and night-time accidents” (Volling, 2012). I did not have nighttime accidents until my brother was born. I did not understand why I was doing it, but it caused my parents give me more attention when I done it. Every time someone showed my brother attention, such as playing with him or holding him, I became very jealous and did things to get attention even if that meant I had to do something bad to be disobedient to my parents.
It was once I began to get out of control when things began to change. Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right; Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (KJV). This was the verse that my parents begin teaching me during this time because my behavior was becoming unacceptable and the bible teaches on how children should treat their parents. My parents wanted me to understand that what I was doing was not making them happy, nor was it pleasing to God. They had to explain God and the importance of his commandments. Also, John 13:34, which says “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (KJV). This scripture was the beginning to a developmental change and helped me grow into a better person for today.
My parents read me the scripture and explain it. They both spoke on loving everyone. God wants us to love everyone because he loved us before anyone. This meant that I needed to love my bother and treat him nice. Not be upset because I was not the only child because he is a blessing from God. After having this conversation with my parents, I begin to treat my brother different. I would tell my brother I love him every day, help my parents take care of him and try to protect him from any harm. Learning the scriptures enlighten me to how I am suppose to treat people. Late Childhood
Between ages nine and twelve, a child’s personality is impacted because they are grower into their own person. “Personality predicts important life outcomes, such as the quality of personal relationships, adaptation to life challenges, occupational success, societal involvement, happiness, health, and mortality” (McAdams, & Olson, 2010, pg. 518). During this stage, this is where a child continues to learn who they. “Children continue their efforts to answer the question “Who Am I?” as they seek to understand the nature of the self. Although the question does not yet have the urgency it will assume in adolescence, elementary-school-age children still seek to pin down their place in the world” (Feldman, 2014, pg. 317). Once I was in this stage of development, I was trying to figure out whom I was. I got my menstrual period at the age of eleven. I did not understand what it was and why this was happening to me. These changes caused me to become more distant with friends because I felt embarrassed, not realizing this is something that happens to every female.
I wanted to know more about what was happening to me, so I begin to grow more attached to my mother. She would explain that this is something that God created for all females. I was thinking in my mind, “Why would God do this?” My mother told me to not worry or stress myself out over this situation because soon all of my friends will experience the same. The Handbook of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence explained more about attachment. “When distressed, they typically turn to their caregivers, who help them in a sensitive way to handle the distressing situations and affects, thereby giving them increased confidence for exploration while at the same time demonstrating that other humans are available in times of need and that distress can be dealt with, without being overwhelmed” (Roehlkepartain, King, Wagener, & Benson, 2006, pg. 198). This confirms the reasons attachment increased for my mother. After evolving through this situation, I embraced having a cycle stating that I was becoming a woman. Adolescent
Middle school has begun and I am excited to be out of elementary school. No, I did not go to the middle school I wanted to go to, but I am attending a school where I still know quite a few people. The change has begun and I feel I can do more things, because I am in “middle school” and my friend’s parents allow them to. “Changes occur as a result of puberty and cognitive development, school transitions, and changing roles with peers and families” (Gutman & Eccles, 2007, pg. 522). I felt like I was old enough to go to the movies, mall and sleepovers. My parents were not open to everything I wanted to do. In my mind, if I was making good grades then I should be able to do the things I wanted to do for fun. My parents allowed me to do more once I got in high school. At the time, I felt I had made it to becoming a woman. My grades were not a problem, but liking boys and talking back were. I thought I was grown and no one could tell me anything because I knew it all. I was on the cheerleading squad in middle and high school, so I thought my friends and I were all that.
My relationship with my father became very challenging. He felt I was still his baby girl, so things I wanted to do he did not agree with. He did not understand why I was so distant and did not want to hang out with “daddy” anymore. I would explain that I was getting older and I wanted to do more things with my friends. An article says, “Relationships with parents often undergo a stressful period during adolescence. Considering that one of the salient developmental tasks confronting adolescents is establishing oneself as an autonomous being, it is not surprising that this stress is often focused on issues of autonomy versus control within the family” (Gutman & Eccles, 2007, pg. 523).” At this point, my father could no longer control every aspect of life and this was a task for him to overcome.
Through prayer and counseling, we were able to overcome this issue. My father finally realized that I was growing up and I have my own mind to make the best decisions for me, he does not have to make many of them for me anymore. Proverbs 22:6 says, “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he grows old he will never depart from it” (KJV). I knew what my parents had taught me from when I was a baby, so they had to trust that I would make the right decisions. Nobody is perfect and I knew I would fall short sometimes, but as long as I never forgot what I stand for then I would be fine. Early Adulthood
The book “Development across the Lifespan”, talked about postformal thoughts. A postformal thought is thinking that acknowledges that adult predicaments must sometimes be solved in relativistic terms. As I grew older and entered into college, I would make decisions based on how I am individually and how it would affect me. Since I did not understand what the world was, my potential to think critically was not intact as I thought it was fully. Psychologist William Perry explained, “early adulthood represents a period of developmental growth that encompasses mastery not just of particular bodies of knowledge, but of ways of understanding the world” (Feldman, 2014, pg. 431). I thought about things to be plain and simple, it either was or it was not.
This became a challenge for me, because later after being in college for a year I felt that since I could not make the grades that I wanted to make that meant college was not for me. These thoughts caused me to have to take a break from school and learn what the world really entailed. There were several options I could have taken to make better grades, but I did not. Without seeking those option that meant I would be stuck in the same predicament that I was in from the being.
After a year of taking a break from school, I decided to go back. I wanted to take it slow and get back into the swing of class structure, so I attended community college before transferring to a university. While I was taking a break, I worked full time and begin speaking with my uncle, spiritually. My uncle talked with me about life decision, trial and tribulations, education, and referring to the bible. He helped me to understand life and the world. I was overjoyed with someone other than my parents encouraging me, because I felt very depressed. I felt I was a disappointment to my parents since I had to take a break from college. Things became easier for me the second time around since I was more focus and had a better perceptive. My relationship with God started to evolve once I got myself together. My uncle would give me scriptures to read when things got tough for me. He motivated me to push forward, get my bachelors and to now be achieving my master’s degree. Conclusion
Human growth and development are very important on how a person’s life evolves over time. I learned various tactics and standards through my years. My childhood influenced how I would development through my lifespan. Looking back in my life, I am grateful for the good and the bad situations I encountered. These situations made me who I am today. Life is not simple and easy, as a person you have to learn all aspects of what life encounters. There is no perfect person, so everyone has to go through situations to realize the decisions you have to take. In my mid twenties, I have more of a cautious mindset. I know that any decisions I make will either push me forward or bring me down. Human development is about growing, growing into who you are. I still have more to learn as I move into the other stages of my lifespan, but having the knowledge and faith in God I can only better who I am.
Terr, L. C. (1991). Childhood traumas: an outline and overview. Am J Psychiatry, 1, 48. Feldman, R. S. (2014). Development across the life span (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. ISBN: 126962198X
Helliwell, T. (2011, May 24). Meditation Changes Your Brain. Retrieved from http://www.iitransform.com/2011/05/meditation-changes-your-brain/ Roehlkepartain, E.C., King, P.E., Wagener, L., & Benson, P.L. (2006). The handbook of spiritual development in childhood and adolescence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing. Volling, B. L. (2012). Family transitions following the birth of a sibling: An empirical review of changes in the firstborn’s adjustment. Psychological bulletin, 138(3), 497. McAdams, D. P., & Olson, B. D. (2010). Personality development: Continuity and change over the life course. Annual review of psychology, 61, 518. Gutman, L. M., & Eccles, J. S. (2007). Stage-environment fit during adolescence: Trajectories of family relations and adolescent outcomes. Developmental Psychology, 43(2), 522.