9 months after conceptions a tiny life is brought into this world. What starts out as two simple cells has grown into a living, breathing creature, ready to be reared by it's owners. Birth is an interesting stage because the average human has absolutely no recolection of their birth, and perhaps that's for the best. Birth marks the beginning of the oral fixation stage. Everything is learned through direct sensorimotor contact.
The mark of infancy is a great mark for many children. During a child's infancy there are three main reflexes that appear but disappear seemingly as quick. The Grasping Reflex, the Rooting Reflex and the Babinski Reflex.
Around the age of 8-12 months children develop the idea of object permance. They realize that just because they can't see something, doesn't mean it isn't actually there. This is crucial to the development of children because if they go their whole life thinking that things disappear when they close their eyes, life would be incredibly difficult.
The first of these relfexes is the grasping reflex. The grasping reflex is a a reflex that is possessed by infants where if their palm is stroked they will grasp onto the object and hold on tight, however it fades after 3 months and disappears completely after 1 year.
The rooting reflex is around at birth and is a direct corollary to breast feeding. When an infant's cheek is brushed it automatically turns its head to that side and begins to suck. This reflex usually fades after about 4 months.
The Babinski reflex is rather hard to explain. Examples are the best to describe. When the average adult has their foot tickled they tend to curl their toes and pull their foot away from the tickling stimuli. Babies do the opposite, they press their foot against the stimuli. This phenomena is known as the Babinski reflex.
Around age 6 the scientific "childhood" begins. There have really been four ideologies that have been accepted in society. The psychosexual ideas of Sigmund Freud, the psychosocial ideas of Erik Erikson, the moral developmental ideas of Lawrence Kohlberg, and the cognitive developmental stages of Piaget.
Freud's Psychosexual Development
Sigmund Freud believed that we were all born with these exremely strong sexual urges that we must learn to control. He believed that each stage focused on a single "pleasure center" that had to be mastered.
Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Development
Erikson believed that we focus on a need for approval during all stages of development. He stated that all of our childhood experiences impact who we develop into as a person. He also beleived that each stage represented a crisis that had to be conquered before moving onto the next stage.
Kohlberg's Moral Development
Kohlberg believed that were all concerned with the justification of right and wrong. He alson believed that in these stages our rationale is developing fairly consistently.
Piaget's Cognitive Development
Piaget believed that there were really four stages to the cognitive development of humans. The sensorimotor stage from birth to age two, the preoperational stage from two to six, the concrete operational from seven to twelve, and lastly the formal operational stage from age twelve to adult.
The years of adolescence are rather tricky. Teens go through so many changes that it's sometimes difficult to keep up with them all. Our relationships shift from parental and family to our peers and people that are of our same age and interests. We also go through internal changes where we feel invincible for awhile and then the next we feel bad about ourselves and feel like we can't go one. Adolescence shapes our lives.
Personal Adolescent Development
My dad and I had a rather strained relationship during the time period when I was trying to pick the proper school. It is a tough time period to begin with because of the changes that I am going through, as well as my tendencies to argue. However as we made it through I believe that I have grown as a person, and that we have obtained a better relationship.
Around age 20 we reach our mental developmental peak. Our brain then slowly begins to decline. Along with this comes our slowing of reaction times. We can however, still aquire new information through our 40's.
In your young adulthood you really shape yourself as an adult. You traditionally buy your first house and generally get married and begin to settle down. Life goes on and you begin to transition into your middle adulthood years.
Age 30 Crisis
Around age 30 males experience what is commonly referred to as the age 30 crisis. As we begin to settle down and get married and buy homes we begin to get a little antsy and sometimes around 30 it really comes to a peal and explodes. Call it going off the deep end of whatever you may, but soon they will return to their normal self.
Middle adulthood begins after age 30. Our bodies are changing and becoming less of what they once were. Our physical peak is between the ages of 18-30, so we are becoming increasingly less physically able. Our mental capabilities also decrease as we age. Our character and personality tends to stabilize with age.
In your late adulthood years your physical strength really begins to decline. It really is related to the activities you partook in during your younger years. A person's responses to these changes is very important. Cognitively as we age we tend to see these changes in a negative light because we can't do what we once did. This gradual change leads us towards an eventual loss of control.
Around age 50 women begin to experience menopause. This is huge because it marks the point in their life when they can no longer bear children. This can be devastating and hard to take for many people. It really marks the point that they can't deny it that they are getting older.
Age 60 Decline
Our mental absolute peak is around age 60. We can still aquire new information, but in our brain, we can't really take any more history, literature or language information. Our brain seemingly hits it's peak, and slowly begins it's decline.
Old age begins somwhere after 60, but is really marked by our loss of independance. This time period is often a time period of loss and despair. We can lose physical control, financial independace, and a whole multitude of items which can often be a tough pill to swallow. Also, Alzheimer's can set in around age 70.
Around age 80 Alzheimer's tends to set in. By this age most people have lost about 5% of their brain capacity. This marks a huge developmental period because adults really begin to feel their loss of control.
Death and Dying
Death and dying can be a tough phase in life, but it is inevitable nonetheless. Elizabeth - Kubler - Ross did a lot of research and concluded that there are 5 main stages to death and dying; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
Typically the first stage in death and dying is denial. This can follow the news of a terminal illness or a devastating prognosis in general. We believe that the diagnosis is not correct and the news we have heard isn't really the truth.
We will be angry at the people who have dealt us our fate. We see it as not fair, or right, or just. Just that things in general are not right. We can't handle our fate and the reaction that we feel is anger.
We for one reason or another feel that we can bargain our fate with a higher power. Whether this is a diety or simply a person of higher power than ourselves, we believe that we can exchange good behavior for more time.
Typically following the bargaining phase we become depressed. We realize that we can't bargain our fate but we aren't ready to accept it yet. Everything seems so bleak and we feel as though we can't go on. We focus on all of the losses we have incurred and we are simply sad.
The last phase of death and dying is acceptance. We have realized the cards that have been dealt to us and we are okay with that. We begin to obtain a feeling of calm and peace towards the whole process. We aren't afraid anymore of what is coming and we almost welcome what lies ahead.