Human development is a step-by-step process that takes a person’s lifetime. On the contrary, the development of the brain is active in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood (Lemme, 2006, p. 56). In this essay, we consider the developmental milestone of a twelve-year-old male who moves to the UK and experiences a couple of problems while developing. These problems include: being bullied by other children in his new school, facing difficulties in adapting to the new school environment and the new country, experiencing loneliness etcetera. The age under consideration is twelve years to eighteen years.
Overview of development theory
Development theories explain how children develop their personality from the experiences they go through and how they also learn how to relate with others from their past experiences. Jean Piaget (1896 – 1980) and Erik Erikson (1902 – 1994), had a massive contribution to the development theory. According to Piaget and Erickson children develop in stages, each of which has a significant contribution to the development process. According to Erickson, if a child successfully completes a stage in the development process, he/she develops a better personality and it also contributes to his/her ability to develop healthy relationships with others. On the other hand, if a child does not successfully complete a stage, his/her personality and relationship with others are compromised (Siegel & Rider, 2009, p. 23).
In our developmental milestone, a twelve-year-old male moves to the UK. He faces problems including bullying in school, adjusting to both the school environment and the new country, and loneliness. As a result of this, he changes school three times in three years before settling down. Although most of the experiences this child undergoes are negative, they are arguably essential in developing him. Consider, for example, the bullying he suffers in school. It could have been other children putting him down, calling him names, saying/ writing inappropriate things about him, being excluded from activities, not being talked to, being hit etcetera. The possible explanations of why the other children would be bullies are the influence of the way they have been raised- children who do not bond with their parents tend to become bullies. Thus children unto whom disciplinary measures are instilled using coercion are more likely to become bullies. Another explanation could be due to the character of the child. For instance, if a child normally has irregular eating and sleeping habits, he/she is likely to become a bully. The bullying could have substantially contributed to building the perseverance of the child for him to settle later in a different school because we do not expect the school to lack its own problems (Randall, 2001, p. 57).
Next, consider the need to adapt to the new environment. This has negative effects on every reality of the child’s life ranging from the schooling part of life, socialization, leisure at home etcetera. In school, the child has to learn the temperaments of other children in the school. This condition may substantially lead to the development of the child’s understanding and compromising capability thus, in a way contributing to the development of the child’s personality. At home, he has to learn how to make new friends and also learn new social activities. This will help in developing his social skill of making friends and also develop his learning skills (Coy, 2001, p.54).
Loneliness also has its own pros and cons. The child will have to learn how to overcome loneliness and sometimes make the most of it when it can not be avoided. All in all, the difficulties that this child faces develop him progressively until he finds a way to escape them or learns to live with those that can not be overcome (Willis & Martin, 2005, p. 76).
The ‘Who am I stage’
The adolescent behavior seen in our developmental milestone can b explained by Erikson’s stage 5 of psychosocial development. This stage deals with the development of personal identity in adolescents and therefore, Erikson referred to it as the ‘who am I?’ stage. In this stage, which occurs in early teenage, adolescents are preoccupied with the establishment of personal identity and setting of goals defining what their future will be. According to Erikson, adolescents must develop an appropriate and stable self-concept failure to which an identity crisis occurs. Consequently, the adolescent will not be aware of the roles he/she is supposed to play in society and thus he/she does not establish a stable life ism. This will affect his/her development socially and career-wise. Thus the bullying and isolation of the child could be explained by the lack of self-identity of the perpetrators (Foos & Clark, 2003, p. 62).
The elements of self-identity developed in this stage include self-concept, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. Self-concept can be described as the awareness of self. That is, knowing the several aspects of self-identity. Self-esteem is the valuing of oneself and self-efficacy is the undeterred beliefs one has on specific issues and events. To form these aspects of self-identity, adolescents need to be aware of their past, establish goals and maintain adequate interpersonal relationships (Bee & Boyd, 2002, p. 49).
It is of great essence that adolescents understand the stages of psychosocial development and also be aware of what they are supposed to do to go through each stage successfully. This will enable them to make choices that will lead to success in careers and interpersonal relationships. It will also avoid the development of personality and identity crisis in adolescents and thus minimize uncouth adolescent behavior (Breyer & Winters, 2004, p. 56).
Although the social problems experienced by children are, in a way, beneficial to their personal development, it is wise to ensure that children develop their personality and values the easy way. Facing difficulties can never be a precondition for personal development. Thus, with our current level of civilization, such behaviors as bullying and social discrimination should not be tolerated in society. We should find a way of mitigating the contribution of psychological development to teenage mischief. There is a great need to educate adolescents about their development so that they can have an idea of how depriving the process of development can be. They should be aware of the various stages of development and the effects these stages are likely to have on their behavior which in turn affects their lives. With this kind of information, adolescents will be able to avoid detrimental behaviors towards their peers and thus we will be able to appreciate the diversity of culture and also be able to live in a variety of environments without problems.
Bee, H., & Boyd, D. (2002). Lifespan Development. (3rd ed). London: Allyn & Bacon.
Breyer, J., & Winters, K. (2004). Adolescent brain development: Implications for drug Use prevention. New York: Mentor
Coy, D. (2001). Bullying ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services, North Carolina: Greensboro.
Foos, P., & Clark, M. (2003). Human Aging. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Lemme, B. (2006). Development in adulthood (4th Ed), Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Randall, P. (2001). Bullying in Adulthood: Assessing the Bullies and Their Victims. London: Brunner- Routledge.
Siegel, C & Rider, E. (2009). Life-Span Human Development (6th Ed.), Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Willis, S., & Martin, M. (2005). Middle Adulthood: A lifespan perspective. CA. Sage.