There are three main stages of development in a human being. They include; childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. These three stages occur in each and every person’s life. During these stages, there are always salient developmental observations, which can never be forgotten in an individual’s life. In this paper, I am going to present salient observations that I can vividly recall in my life. Additionally, I am going to relate specific observations to specific development theories to come up with valid conclusions.
My childhood was not very dramatic. I grew up in a small town where almost everybody knew each other. One saline observation that I do not seem to get off my mind is that throughout my childhood, I had a bosom friend named Jake. I do not know for sure where Jake might be right now, but I know that he had a lot of influence in my life, and more so to my childhood. In all my childhood memories, Jake happens to be in the picture. Even on real pictures of me as a child, we were always with Jake. He was a fair African American boy with the courage to admire and some sort of bravado that more often than not, got us into trouble.
Having an African American kid as a best friend in our neighborhood seemed odd, but I did not care, or I did not know, I was a kid after all. However, my friendship with Jake left permanent impacts on my life. To date, I get very irritated when someone acts racist against a black American. In essence, I disregard racists by all means.
This behavior and perspective may be in accordance with the behavioral child development theories. According to this perspective, human behavior is largely dependent on environmental influences, especially as a child. Generally, experience shapes whom we are, and whom we eventually become (Strauss 2017). In my case, the experience with Jake shaped my opinions about African Americans in a positive way.
Life as an adolescent was not easy for me. There was pressure from all sides; the teachers, the parents, siblings, and even friends. I was often a rebellious teenager and often got myself into trouble. It was hard to understand myself, leave alone explain myself to others. At this vulnerable stage in my life, I became subject to rampant peer pressure. As a child, I was always on the right side, defenseless, timid and naïve. Teenage, however, came with some sought of courage that surprised even me. With this courage and peer pressure, I almost lost it.
At 16, almost all my friends were engaging in intimacy affairs and sometimes drugs and alcohol. As an accomplice, I had to ‘fit in’. So I indulged into drugs, alcohol and sexual immorality. I cannot claim that I was a drug addict, but I really did abuse drugs quite consistently. I learned to smoke cigarette, marijuana and to take alcohol. I went to every party I was invited to and rebelled at any chance I got. The peer pressure was certainly eating me up.
In this case, my behavior was totally in accordance with the Bandura’s social learning theory. According to this theory, behaviors can be learned and adopted through modeling and observation. By observing others, one can be sure to develop new skills and acquire new information (Trawick-Smith ; Smith 2014). I am naturally a keen observer. Therefore, I learned to do all those things by plainly observing and copying what I saw. That is how I learned how to smoke, drink and to flirt.
Young adulthood comes with its own set of responsibilities. One is regarded as an adult and this means that one can make their own independent decisions. My young adulthood was not easy. My father had lost his job under very controversial circumstances that landing on another one was next to impossible. I, therefore, had to help raise my college and upkeep money. My mum was ill for almost two years. Being the firstborn of the family, I was tasked with a responsibility to keep the family together in that time of crisis. Dad was starting some small business in a bid to feed us, but they all failed, and he eventually went broke. He turned to alcohol for comfort.
With a sick mother and a drunkard father, u had to take control of the situation. I took up two jobs in order to make ends meet. I also cut off all the friends I regarded to be bad company. I quit drinking, smoking and partying a lot. I became more withdrawn and spent most of the time off work alone. By the age of 21, I had changed a lot. Although my father was finally re-hired back into his former company and mother recovered her health eventually, those few years had an impact in my life that I will never forget.
At this age, my behavior can be associated with Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory. In his theory, Piaget is concerned with the development of an individual’s thought processes. He is also concerned with how these thoughts influence the understanding and interaction of an individual with the world. Piaget subdivided his theory into years. The formal operation stage is the age between 12 to adulthood where individuals begin to think about intellectual concepts (Crain 2015). Logical thought, skill, and deductive reasoning and systematic planning occur at this age (Crain 2015). In my case, my logical planning was to take up two part-time jobs and quit bad habits.
Trawick-Smith, J. W., ; Smith, T. (2014). Early childhood development: A multicultural perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Crain, W. (2015). Piaget’s Cognitive-Developmental Theory. In Theories of development: Concepts and applications (pp. 132-170). Routledge.
Strauss, A. L. (2017). Psychological modeling: Conflicting theories. Routledge.