Development occurs within a context, for example, the individuals family, peers, neighbourhoods and school. Baltes’ lifespan perspective consists of three developmental influences: normative age graded influences, normative history-graded influences, and non-normative life events, which all impact on an individuals development (Santrock, 2018, p. 24).
A normative age-graded influence is when individuals in an age group have similar experiences (Santrock, 2018, p. 24), such as starting school at age 5. An example of a normative age-graded influence for James is being clever used to be cool in the earlier years of school, but now he’s older it’s cool to be ‘dumb’. For James to fit in with the other boys in year 5, he has to pretend to find the work difficult like the other boys, This is age graded because in school, the older you are, the more socially acceptable it is to not appear clever.
A normative history-graded influence is when people from a certain generation experience the same influential events due to historical circumstances (Santrock, 2018, p. 24). An example of this are the generations who experienced a World War. An example of a normative history-graded influence for James’ is that his generation all share the experience of the new games Roblox and Fortnite that his generation have become obsessed with.
A non-normative life event is an uncommon phenomenon that isn’t experienced by many people, and it has a significant impact on their life (Santrock, 2018, p. 24), such as winning a large sum of money. A non-normative event for James is never having a father figure in his life, as he has ‘never known his father, and his mother had always been his only parent’ (I’ve got a friend!, p. 1). Although it’s reasonably common for children to have separated parents, it’s uncommon for a child to never know their father, and this can have a significant impact on a child's development such as low self-esteem (Gao, Luo, Wang, 2012). Some may argue that being bullied in year 5 is a non-normative life event, however, statistics show that being bullied in middle childhood is becoming more common.