Life in Human Growth and Development: Events that Changed Your Life

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Table of Contents

  • Toilet Training (Infancy and Childhood):
  • Starting Nursery or School (Childhood and Adolescence):
  • Parenthood (Adolescence and Early Adulthood):
  • Employment (Adolescence and Early Adulthood):
  • Marriage (Early and Middle Adulthood):
  • Loss of Partner, Parent or Friend (Middle and Late Adulthood) :

A life event is a change in situation or circumstance, for example, getting married, divorced or become a parent. All life events will effect interpersonal relationships and leisure and work related activities (Medical Dictionary, 2012). Many life events are experiences that can either be expected or unexpected and the events of physical and relationship changes may affect an individual’s holistic development. Each different event in life is likely to have a different effect on everyone but they are either going to be short or long termed events. It is also important to understand the different impacts that events may have on individuals and this may be the reason to why they need to be cared for. For example, a health promotion nurse may try to encourage to get an individual that they are caring for to stop smoking, however, they are going through a divorce or they are coping with a loss in the family. This means that the nurse would then have to change their priorities of the way that they are working to be able to provide the right and effective type of care to them to help them get through anything that is going on in their lives.

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An expected life event is when the individual is certain and happy with what they have planned. For example, starting at a new school that they wanted to go to. Unexpected life events take individuals by surprise as they are not sure with what is going to happen as they are unplanned things. For example, having a medical accident or an unexpected death in the family. Also, no one knows when they are doing to pass away so this is classed as an unexpected life event too.

Feeding (Infancy): Infancy is feeding is introduced and this is because it is a very important part of someone’s life and that is because we need it to be able to survive. It is a point to focus on for the caregivers and it is a social interaction source through non-verbal communication. By feeding an infant, they are going to start to trust that their basic need is being met by their carers which can help a bond to form between them (Ferreiro Peteiro, M. et al. 2017. Page 34). Not only this, breastfeeding is the best type of food for an infant as it contains many different nutrients and antibodies to help to protect them from any type of infection (Safe Food, no date). If the mother has chosen to use breastfeeding rather than bottled milk, this will enable this bond to become stronger which is what John Bowlby believed.

John Bowlby was a psychoanalyst and had previously worked as a psychiatrist in Child Guidance where he had to treat many different emotionally disturbed children and this is when Bowlby believed that behavioral problems and mental health was links to early childhood from not having an attachment with someone. Bowlby also believed that the attachment behaviors are always going to be instinctive and they are activated when there is a threat, such as fear or separation from each other. Bowlby’s experience as a psychiatrist led him to consider how important the relationship between the mother and her child is when it comes to their cognitive, emotional and social development. This belief was able to shape the link between early infant separations with the mother and this finally led him to formulate him attachment theory. Bowlby, working with James Robertson were observing how children were experiencing intense distress when they were ever separated from their mothers. This even occurred when the child was fed by other care givers. Bowlby proposed that the attachment between a child and it’s caregiver can be understood in a evolutionary context. When someone is providing the child with safety and security, attachment adapts between the two and will enhances the child’s likelihood of survival (Simply Psychology, 2017).

A healthy diet can help the infant to lead a healthy lifestyle and they may continue these healthy eating habits in later life as they grow older which will be good for their bodies (Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, 2013). The infant will gain physical growth from feeding as well as gaining emotional and psychosocial development with their carers. Feeding improves holistic development which will eventually lead to the infant gaining an increase of independence as they start to learn how to feed themselves (Ferreiro Peteiro, M. et al. 2017. Page 34). With having participation in the family meals, the child will being to mimic different eating choices and behaviors that they have observed by the family members. Family meal times will set limits for the child as they will be able to achieve independent skills by feeding themselves. The feeding stage may be affected by culture and health status so everyone will have a different experience with feeding.

Toilet Training (Infancy and Childhood):

During late infancy and early childhood, toddlers will learn to have more independence and they will learn this during the life event of toilet training. There will usually be signs given by the toddlers that they are ready to start to toilet train. They may sit on their potty without any guidance, might want to watch their carers use the bathroom, or they may even pull on their own diapers which could mean that they have a dirty diaper.

Infancy: Normally, children should be ready to toilet train as early as 18 months and this is because most babies are starting to recognise the urge to urinate or defecate. They are now able to control the muscles that remove the waste from their body from their physical development. Before a baby is able to reach this point they were unable to control their waste removal from their bodies which meant that they would have to wear nappies or pull-ups. 18 months is normally ”the earliest age that toddlers have developed the gross motor ability to walk to the restroom, and the fine motor ability to dress and undress themselves” (Mental Help, no date).

Childhood: All toddlers are different and many of them will not be able to master this until they have the right skills in place first and may have to wait until their childhood life stage because it will happen at the child’s own pace. If this is the case, they may start to feel shameful and they could even start to have doubt in their own abilities which would affect their emotional development. It is very important that a toddler at this stage is given a lot of calm encouragement so that they are able to feel proud of their and responsibility and independence. From this, the child can gain self-confidence which can positively be influenced from a successful toilet training. Carers and parents will have a very important job during toilet training to try and make the child like they have been successful and this can lead to the feeling of competence. (Ferreiro Peteiro, M. et al. 2017. Page 34).

Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development has eight different stages that will take place throughout someone’s life time. The second stage is called autonomy verses shame and this happens between the ages of two to three years old. Erikson believed that children are focused on developing a better sense of control at this stage. It is very common for children at this age to express a bigger need for control and independence over themselves. Toilet training will play a very vital role within the theory as they are learning to control their own bodies to have the feeling of independence (Cherry, K, 2018).

Starting Nursery or School (Childhood and Adolescence):

Childhood: The very first time that a child is left without their carers for a number of time is when they start going to nursery and this can actually put a lot of stress onto the child as well as the carer. When children first go to nursery, the child may start to feel separated from their carers (Bowlby’s Attachment Theory) and of anxiety can result from this (this may also happen the other way round for the caregiver). The child is being introduced to a new environment so they are able to contribute in new tasks that they can’t normally do at home and they are going to be learning new skills. Also, they have the opportunity to develop some new relationships with the other adults and children which could distract them from feeling so anxious about their carer not being with them. Whilst they are at nursery, they will be able to practice their important social skills so that they develop and they will learn how to interact with the other people and (Mums net, no date).

During childhood, the child will have to attend secondary school by the time that they reach the ages between four and five. This will create a big change in the family as the caregivers will be worrying about whether their child will be happy or unhappy or if they will or will not enjoy the school work. Secondary school is very different to nursery as they will need to more work in lessons and they will go five days of the week when nursery could have only been a couple days of the week. Starting primary school can be one of the biggest transitions of a child’s life but it is also very important to get them the education that they deserve. The staff at the school will know that this is a big step and they will try to help the child to settle into the school to help them enjoy the experience more. The carer should try to talk to the child positively about starting primary school before they start to attend so that they are aware that it going to shortly happen. During this time, the child will get to meet more peers like they did at nursery and make more friends which will improve their social development (Family Lives, no date).

Holistic development will be a huge part of the child’s life when they start school as they are constantly learning new things. Numbers and math lessons will be frequently used in the classroom which will be able to develop their cognitive skills and their emotional skills will be effected by situations that may happen. For example, if the child was playing with a specific toy and another child takes this from them, the child may feel upset and could even cry.

Adolescence: When children get to the age of 11 (in the adolescence life stage), they will have to go to secondary school and this will be a big change for them as they will go from having one main teacher in the classroom to having subject-specific teachers. There is also a lot of pressure put onto children in secondary school as they will also have to start making important decisions about the future and they are expected to take many different public examinations. There work load will increase significantly and their cognitive development will also improve. Children could have a positive experience with school but other may find it very negative and could even experience bullying from other children that attend the school (Ferreiro Peteiro, M. et al. 2017. Page 35).

Bullying (Adolescence): Bullying is able to take place in different life stages but it the most common when someone is in the adolescence life stage and this is because they are in secondary school with a lot of peers. There are also different ways and in different settings that bulling can take place. An example includes cyber bullying. Bullying will have a massive impact on someone’s self-esteem and confidence which may cause them to worry about lots of things and which would contribute to them becoming more anxious about day-to-day activities (Young Minds, no date). When an individual is being bullied, it can have an impact on their concentration in their subjects which can lead them to fail and this can then lead them to thinking that they are not good enough. Some individual who are being bullied may want to go to school because they are terrified of being judged and treated unfairly. Some cases of bullying have been so bad that some people have had suicidal thoughts and may have even tried to end their own lives because they do not have the ability to cope with how they are being treated. Bullying has gotten a lot worse because of cyber bulling on the internet and this is because the bullying doesn’t stop when the individual leaves school, it could also be online too which can lead to isolation as the individual will feel like no one is on their side and can damage their emotional development from making them feel intensely upset or angry. This can lead them to having a lack in social development as they do not want to talk to or trust anyone anymore which could then further their isolation even more. When someone is bullied, it can have a long lasting impact on the choices that an individual’s makes even after they have left the school and have no contact with their bully and this is because it has effected them emotionally (Ferreiro Peteiro, M. et al. 2017. Page 35).

Bulling can be linked to Albert Bandura’s social learning theory and the theory is that children will observe the people that are around them behaving in different ways and Bandura showed this during the bobo doll experiment. The individuals that were observed by the children are called models and the children would pay close attention to them and take in their behaviour as the models were hitting and punching the bobo doll. Once it was the children’s turn to play with the doll, they were mimicking the models behaviours by punching and kicking it too. This links to bullying because children may see someone being bullied and take in that behaviour and then decide to do the same to someone else.

Children are always surrounded by their influential models, for example, their family, friends and TV characters and they all provide the examples of behaviour that will be observed and imitated (Simply Psychology, 2016). For example, there may be a family gathering where the child’s father is having a joke with his brother by calling him rude names and when the child goes to school, they will copy this behaviour and call someone, like their friend, a rude name because they think it is acceptable as their father was doing it previously.

Parenthood (Adolescence and Early Adulthood):

Parenthood happen when an individual has a child and it is classed as a major life event and it will normally take place between late adolescence and early adulthood life stage. When an individual has or is having a child, they will have to learn new skills as they have to be able to look after a human being correctly and this can be a sociable experience for the parent. For example, the parent may meet up with other parents that are in the same situation as them. Parenthood can be isolating if the parent somehow loses touch with their friends. Parenthood is a great opportunity for a bonding experience between the parent and the child so they may not feel too isolated as they have someone with them at all times (Encyclopedia, 2003).

Adolescence: It can be common that sixteen to eighteen year olds are becoming pregnant and having children of their own and they do face similar ups and downs to older parents but they also include some other challenges too. An example will include handling other people’s judgement towards how young they are. One of the most difficult things about being an adolescence parent is finishing school as it is one of the most important things to do. Finishing school will give the individual a chance of finding a job to be able to support their new family. Going to school in person can be a problem for young parents so online school or getting a tutor may be a better option for them. However, this may be expensive and they will have to try and find a job to secure a financial income in the household to be able to care for their child. Just like school, they can apply to work at home by using a computer which would be easier access for any new parent (Raising Children, no date). Adolescent parents may have to ask their family, friends or other carers to look after their child whilst they study or work as they can find it difficult to do these tasks otherwise .

Early Adulthood: When becoming a parent, individuals will lose their free time as they are not able to be as flexible as they used to be as they now have a responsibility to look after their child. This can become emotionally draining for the parents as they will not get much sleep in the early stages of the child's life and this can make them feel like they are very stressed. Parents can also become anxious because they worry too much about their child which will lead them to experiencing a post-natal depression in the first year after the child has been born (Ferreiro Peteiro, M. et al. 2017. Page 36). This can make them become over obsessive over there child and this can become very unhealthy.

Parenthood can be linked to Erikson’s sixth’s stage of psychosocial development. This stage is called Intimacy versus Isolation and it covers the time when young adults will be exploring their personal relationships with other members of society. This means that individuals will be starting to share themselves with others more intimately which could result in a planned or an unplanned pregnancy (Crowe Associates Ltd, no date).

If there was an unplanned pregnancy, the two different individuals may decide not to stay together because it is not what they want to do and this can lead to loneliness, depression and isolation (Very Well Mind, 2019).

Employment (Adolescence and Early Adulthood):

Adolescence: During Adolescence is when someone’s first job will occur and it is shown that over 40 percent of teenagers in the UK have a job. However, these jobs are most likely going to change over the years and it is normally in young adulthood when individuals find their full time job that they can see themselves doing long term.

Early Adulthood: Being in employment give individuals responsibilities as they are expected to be able to follow all of the policies and procedures that the organization puts in place. They will also need to make sure that they are doing everything that is in their job description as that is what they are responsible for. Being an employee can help someone achieve new skills which can allow the individual to get an increase of self-esteem and they can feel like they have accomplished something. As well as this, a job gives people the opportunity to communicate with others that share the same views as themselves.

On the other hand, employment can also be very stressful and difficult for certain individuals. They may struggle with money and also can find it hard to separate their family life and their work lives (Ferreiro Peteiro, M. et al. 2017. Page 36).

Other can become self-employees which means that they are working for themselves as they find it a more positive experience as they can set their own schedule and can have more control in the work that they do. This will also allow them to separate their work life from their family one. This can be difficult at times as annual leave and sick pay does not exist and a self-employed person can start to struggle with financial perspectives if they are running their business on their own (GOV, UK, no date).

Marriage (Early and Middle Adulthood):

Marriage is when there is a legal union of two people and this is a massive step in a relationship but some people believe that marriage isn’t an important life event so they don’t go along with it (Phycology Today, no date).

Becoming married to someone can bring a great source of safety and security for the individuals as there is someone there that loves, cares and supports them. This can also increase someone’s self-esteem. When people get married it is very likely that they will start to share their finances which would mean opening and shared account which will reduce the resources available for both and this can reduce any anxiety.

However, marriage can also be very difficult to start off with and some people find it hard to adjust to the new roles that they might have in the household and also to learn how to move in with someone else especially if they have never lived together before. Divorces can sometimes happen to marriages which is the legal dissolution of the marriage. Many individuals can struggle to deal with this difficult process but they also may be a sense of relief if the marriage was bringing them down and making them unhappy (Ferreiro Peteiro, M. et al. 2017. Page 37). When divorces happen, there are a number of impacts and one of them is that they may feel a sense of loss because a part of their lives has just gone all of a sudden and this can make them depression and feel like they are isolated.

Loss of Partner, Parent or Friend (Middle and Late Adulthood) :

Anyone can experience grief at any time in their life but as we and the people around us grow older, people will start to lose those closest to them which is why it mainly will affect those in the middle and late adulthood life stage. Losing someone will have major impacts such as feeling intense emotions like anger, guilt, sadness, hopelessness and shock. It can also have some intense effects too. For example, an individual may find it difficult to sit still and they may start to feel overwhelmed about what happened (Psychology today, 2017). Not only this, there are physical effects too and this could be when the individual will have a loss of appetite or they will eat too much to try and make themselves feel better. Grief can affect someone’s sleep pattern and their relationships with others. A lot of individuals who experience loss will also become very anxious and worry about all of the other people they care about because they can start to believe that the same thing will happen to them and this can cause depression (Ferreiro Peteiro, M. et al. 2017. Page 38). Everyone is different and they will cope with loss and grief in a number of different ways.

Age-Related and Chronic Medical Conditions (Late Adulthood): People can be born with a number or different medical conditions or they can develop them throughout their lives but when a medical condition lasts longer than 3 months it is classed as a chronic condition. When people get older, the likelihood of developing a condition will increase as your body is weaker than it used to be and it cannot heal itself well. All of the different chronic conditions will have an effect and impact on the different aspects of development and this means that it can impact an individual’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills (Cleveland Clinic, no date). This means that they can have problems with discomfort and may have to attend regular hospital visits to see if their condition is getting better or worse over time. If a condition is getting worse, this can effect an individual’s cognitive development if they need to miss time off work or off school. If this happens then they may have to change their job which is able to suite them better. This can enable the individual to have a low self-esteem and self-concept. Not only this, it can add financial pressures onto the family as they may not be able to work as much or at all (Ferreiro Peteiro, M. et al. 2017. Page 38).

There may already be a family member who needs caring needs by the family and this condition that the individual has developed may add emotional pressures on those who have to care for them too.

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