Complex stages namely physical, social, psychological, biological, and sociological aspects characterize human lifespan (Merrick, 2013). The aspects shape and influence human behavior and development largely. Many researchers and theorists have developed concepts that help to explain human behavior. To understand an individual’s behavior comprehensively, one has to learn their environment. The current literature use various methods to study human behavior in relation to the proposed developmental theories. This paper contains a lifespan narrative analysis based on a friend. The narrative, in the form of an interview documents a life story and an application of theoretical concepts at particular stages to understand human behavior and the social environment.
The interviewee was questioned on different aspects of life at the adolescent stage of life. The adolescent phase is characterized by changes in the physical, social, psychological, and cognitive aspects. The manner in which a person responds to the changes at the adolescent stage determines how they cope in the adulthood demands and responsibilities (Barrett, 2011). The interviewee trusted the parents, friends, and peers. According to theories of development, a person at the adolescent stage experiences trust issues depending on the social environment they grew up. She did not have trust issues implying a positive attachment and bonding to the parents and peers. However, she did not fully trust her abilities. The interviewee was undergoing an identity crisis and did not have a complete grasp of self. She expected to get things done her way. However, it was not always the case, as her parents would give in to her demands within reason. The interviewee had more attachment to her peers. She had an easygoing friendship with the peers. She built strong relationships and only mistrusted when someone wronged her. The mother always guided her to remain strong in religious faith and to have enough rest and sleep.
The interviewee was always conscious about financial spending and management. She was in a supportive and loving environment as the parents provided all the physical and emotional needs. Anger management is a critical determinant of emotional stability. The respondent managed anger by tossing things outside without any regard. The anger management style reveals an open and dynamic thinking. She was cooperative and enjoyed working in groups. Cooperation was the best way to earn respect from peers. The respondent volunteered to perform some tasks and answer questions in class. She was proud and delighted in her accomplishments. Shame and doubt was a part of the interviewee’s experiences as an adolescent. She was afraid of being in an exposed or a vulnerable situation. The experiences of shame and doubt correspond to Erik Erikson theory of psychosocial development. The interviewee was able to deal with shame successfully. She fell in love as an adolescent and learnt some bad habits. Currently, she is trying to eliminate them after understanding their negative influence on productivity.
Transition from one stage to the next is an important accomplishment in a person’s life. The interviewee looked forward to new initiatives. Transition to high school was her favorite moment. She was curious to learn new things. She was industrious at school and engaged in co-curricular activities. She feared to stand out from the crowd due to fear of being judged. The interviewee related positively to the environment through initiation of tasks and activities.
The stage of initiating task significant as it determines if an individual will become responsible or will live with feelings of guilt (Barrett, 2011). The interviewee did not remember assessing her strengths and weaknesses. She was in a stage of identity versus role confusion. The stage is characterized by a confusion of life’s opportunities and identification of societal roles. The interviewee had a clue of future career aspirations. She wanted to be a banker and used to role-play performing banking transactions with the sister. The peer group had considerable influence in the interviewee’s life. Some of her decisions were made under peer pressure though they did not augur well with her parents. The interviewee was comfortable in her social environment and did not consider leaving the hometown or relocating. Her comfort in the environment implied that it was supportive and nurturing.
Growing up in a supportive environment is critical in ensuring that the individual approaches all the physical and psychological developments in the required manner. Such an environment is crucial in keeping someone in check and preserving them from the anti-social behavior that have become synonymous with the postmodern society. Furthermore, the adolescent stage can be disastrous if an individual is not sandwiched among people who are supportive in terms of the advice they render such a person. According to Merrick (2013) , people who grow up in any supportive environment end up being successful in all the developmental stages as opposed to those individuals who are brought up in an environment that is devoid of proper guidance (Merrick, 2013). Therefore, it is appropriate for all the guardians, parents, and other caregivers to be supportive to the people they care for.
Based on the interview and the findings by Barrett and Merrick, each stage in life presents a significant developmental phase in human. The manner in which an individual utilizes the transitional stages influences their entire lifespan growth. Uninformed choices, often lead to dire and undesirable consequences while proper choices lead to fruitful life. On contrary, life under proper guidance and caring family often leads to fruitful life.
Barrett, L. (2011). Beyond the brain: How body and environment shape animal and human minds. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Merrick, J. (2013). Child health and human development over the lifespan. Frontiers in Public Health Front. Public Health., 1. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2013.00001