Human Development Essay

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Human development refers to the psychological and biological growth of a human being throughout life. It starts from infancy all the way to adulthood. The scientific study of the development of a human being, psychologically, is referred to as Developmental psychology. According to Erik Erikson, there are eight critical stages in the development of a human being in order to become socially and psychologically well adjusted. This renowned psychologist is also credited with the expression identity crisis used to refer, not to the possibility of a catastrophic occurrence but to a critical turning point. Erikson points out that a person is confronted with challenges and experiences at each stage. One has to master all the dynamics at every stage in order to grow to the next one and each stage is successive and based on the completion of the earlier one (Sokol, 2009). This paper focuses on the adolescence and the issues that surround it.

The Stage of Adolescence and Its Accompanying Development Milestones?p>

Curtis (2015) states that adolescence stage is generally that period when puberty starts and when adulthood sets in, that is when social independence is established. Adolescence starts from approximately twelve years up to 20 years. Adolescence is manifested through cognitive, emotional and psychosocial development.

Cognitive Development

The evolution of patterns of thinking from how a child thinks to the way an adult thinks refers to as cognitive development. In this stage, there are three key areas of development. The first is developing advanced reasoning. They can analyze a situation and deduce the possible implications. They have the ability to pick out the full stretch of possibilities in a given scenario and think hypothetically. They, consequently, develop a logical process of thoughts. Secondly, adolescents develop the abilities to think in abstraction. They progress from concrete thinking to abstract thinking. Thus, adolescents can think of spiritual matters and even love. They can take part on advanced math too. The young people who become stagnated at the concrete thinking stage only focus on real objects or things that are present physically while confronted with situations that require problem solving. On the other hand, the adolescents who are able to transition successfully from concrete thinking to abstract thinking may experience a personal fable. The fable is inspired by thoughts of an imaginary audience; which are normally the peers, who watches, thinks and sees the adolescence.

Such egocentrism demonstrated by adolescents was thought to lead to the feelings of invincibility and be the key inspiration to taking risks as common behavior among young individuals at this stage. The formal thinking and operational stage enables the adolescents to attain meta-cognition.
This means that such young people can think about what they feel and how the outside world perceives them. The changes in thoughts and the fast emotional and physical transformation in puberty make most of the adolescents to imagine that everyone is thinking about what they are engrossed in and about them too (Sanders, 2013).

Psychological Development

It has been pointed out by Sanders (2013) that the psychosocial changes in development in this period emphasize autonomy, identity establishment and orientation for the future. The initial area of establishing autonomy happens when an adolescent is striving to achieve emotional and economic independence from their parents. The struggle starts at early adolescence and continues to late adolescence. In the early adolescence stage, (12 to 14 years), the adolescent makes an effort to form peer groups of the same sex. They tend to significantly lose interest and ignore family matters and focus more on what their peers do and say.

The peer group is idealized and strongly influences the development of an adolescent. The adolescent often imitates the language, dressing style and hairstyle that impresses the peers or is simply the accepted trend. In the same breath, the adolescents who don't fit in the peers preferences and way of thinking and acting may encounter serious psychological challenges at this stage. The adolescents become less focused on the changes on their bodies as they proceed towards the end of puberty. The shift moves from self focus to what the peers recommend and hypes as great. They also begin to pay more attention to what adults, adult groups and parents say. In the period of middle adolescence (15-17), the peer associations evolve and begin to incorporate members of the opposite sex. The group assumes the basic social responsibility for the adolescent. They begin developing short but quite intense love relationships as they seek the perfect partner. Adolescents commonly crush on adults at this stage too. It has also been noted that conflict in families is usually at its climax at this point of development.

As the adolescents become more and more independent, they analyze their own experiences and relate what they go through to what others experience, and develop a concern for other people. By the time late adolescence (18-21yrs) sets in, the adolescents will have developed a separate identity from that of their parents. It is also common for adolescents to move out of their peer groups and seek to become….....

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American Psychological Association. (2002). Developing Adolescents: A Reference for Professionals. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from American Psychological Association:

Caskey, M. & Anfara, J. V. (1999-2017). Developmental Characteristics of Young Adolescents. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from Association for Middle Level Education: ArticleID/455/Developmental-Characteristics-of-Young-Adolescents.aspx

Curtis, A. C. (2015). Defining Adolescence. Journal of Adolescent and Family Health, 7 (2), 1-40. Retrieved from:

Sanders, R. A. (2013). Adolescent Psychosocial, Social, and Cognitive Development. Pediatrics in Review, 34 (8). Retrieved from:

Sokol, J. T. (2009). Identity Development Throughout the Lifetime: An Examination of Eriksonian Theory. Graduate Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1 (2), 1-11. Retrieved from:

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