Life Span Development Essay

Life Span Development Essay

Describe three views of the cognitive changes that occur in early childhood.

Include 2 references. PLS,post should be at least 250 words.

APA FORMAT.  Life Span Development Essay


The aim of this essay is to discuss and describe the five stages of lifespan development and included in this essay will be two psychological theories to support this which are Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual stages and Erik Erikson’s psychosocial stages. I will also connect these stages to the strands of development which are physical, emotional, cognitive, social and cultural.
Two well-known theories of life development are Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual theory and Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory. Erik Erikson’s lifespan development was influenced by Freud’s and in comparison to the theories, Erikson believed in life we go through eight stages in life development from conception to death unlike Freud who believed we only have five stages and stop at the adolescence stage. Erikson believed that throughout each stage of life we are set new life tasks of which we need to overcome. Failure to succeed in the life tasks set or if the individual has lacked proper parenting it may have consequences on the individual’s personality development or the individual may be engrossed in a stage of development.  Life Span Development Essay (
‘’Erikson thought that an individual would develop a healthy personality if they were able to resolve the basic psychological conflicts they meet at different stages of their lives’’ (Baker et al.,2007,p.160)
‘’In terms of individual differences, some individuals will fail to achieve milestones and/or norms and this can impact later stages of development ‘’ (Connor, MacLennan, and Price 2009.p.75)
The lifespan development begins in infancy (0-2 years). Many strands of development are experienced within this stage such as psychical, emotional and cognitive. Psychical development is experienced when the child begins to sit without any support this then leads to crawling aLife Span Development Essay nd walking. Cognitive development occurs in this stage when the child is able to take in their surroundings, they learn to recognise faces and voices and also some vocabulary is learned such as ‘mum, dad’. During infancy the child shows emotion by crying and this indicates their needs. Further emotion is developed and the child may show signs of separation anxiety from the mother.
With regards to Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development the first conflict occurs, Trust vs Mistrust at (0-1 years). The child develops feelings of trust to which is based on the parenting by the child’s primarily care givers. If the child is given a high quality of care through this stage this will impact on the trust they implant into others in later life. The second conflict occurs in later infancy (1-2 years), Autonomy vs Shame and doubt. Children learn to be independent at this stage and rely on praise from their caregiver. If the child is not allowed to exercise independence or lack praise they may start to doubt they are able to do things for themselves.

In relation to Freud’s theory of psychosexual development, ‘’According to Freud, children’s pleasure-seeking urges (governed by the id) are focused on a different area of the body, called an ‘’erogenous zone. (Boundless). The first stage of life is called the ‘Oral Stage’, during this stage the child gets pleasure from inserting objects into the mouth and sucking, this is how a child is able to explore objects and tastes. If the individual does not meet the needs of this stage during infancy they may develop negative habits in later life such as nail biting. Another stage during infancy is the ‘Anal Stage’. In the Anal stage the child has a fixation on regulating bowel and bladder movements and during this stage toilet training begins. The child feels a sense of independence and accomplishment if this stage is completed successfully.
During childhood (2-12 years), The child’s strands of development have expanded greatly and at this stage the child’s emotional development is about personal identity and developing their own character. At this age challenging behaviour is also involved such as ignoring orders or talking back as the child learns to rebel against parents rules, this is normal for this stage of development and is able to be rectified before transition to adolescence. During childhood social development takes place when the child learns to socialise with different group settings and is able to establish a friendship and bond with other children. During this stage as children start school they may be introduced to children from different back grounds and this is where cultural development takes place. Children are able to recognise the norms and roles of different family structures. Life Span Development Essay
Erickson’s third conflict takes place at preschool age (3-6 years), Initiative vs Guilt. During this conflict stage the child should explore their own initiative and approaches. If the child is unable to do so feelings of guilt and doubt may arise. The fourth conflict of Erikson’s occurs at (7-12 years), Industry vs Inferiority. Children learn to be able to complete activates that are valued by adults and friends, failure to do so the child may feel inferiority.
In relation to Freud, the third and fourth stages of his theory occur during childhood. The Phallic stage occurs at the age of (3-6 years) and the Latent stage occurs at the age of (7-12). During the Phallic stage the child recognises sexual desires and they have a desire towards the opposite sex parent. The child becomes highly possessive of his opposite sex parent and loves them to a high intensity, this means they want them all to their self and may not understand that their love for them may be inappropriate. The Latent stage means sexual instincts and drives are suppressed and the child learns to focus on school work and interests/hobbies. During this stage the child also takes on the values and norms of their parents and behaves in an appropriate and acceptable manner in society.
Throughout the adolescence stage (12-18 years), Physical development changes to a great extent due to puberty. Puberty links in with the emotional development of the individual and hormonal changes can make them moody and unpredictable. During this stage individuals move onto a wider society of education such as college or university, the individuals cognitive develops immensely as they gather the academic qualifications for employment. Life Span Development Essay
Erikson’s fifth life conflict takes place at adolescence (12-18), Identity Vs Role confusion. At this stage adolescents develop a sense of self and personal identity. They establish roles as part of a social setting and learn about who they are and what their goals and aspirations in life are. If they are unable to do so they begin to feel confused of their life’s purpose.

Lifespan development is a progressive process of development in a human being involving an increase in age, which begins at conception and ends with death (Sugarman, 2000, p. 56). In addition, lifespan development can be divided into four levels depicting advanced functionality and character changes as an individual moves from one level to another. Life Span Development Essay
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These levels include childhood and adolescence; early adulthood; middle adulthood; and late adulthood (Sugarman, 2000, p. 56). This paper presents discussions on the lifespan perspective of development and two major theories of lifespan development. In addition, the impact of the interaction between genes and the environment on the process of human development is also discussed.

The lifespan perspective of development
The lifespan perspective examines the changes that take place at each level of human development relative to the environmental (Society and culture) factors that influence these changes (Sigelman & Rider, 2008, p. 84). Moreover, the lifespan perspective can be defined in many ways. Life Span Development Essay

For instance, the lifespan perspective can be a progressive and lifelong process of development that is not limited to any single level in human development. On the other hand, there are three major aspects of the lifespan perspective of development, which include the cognitive, social, physical dimensions of change (Sugarman, 2000, p. 59).

Furthermore, other studies claim that the perspective is plastic in nature because some domains of lifespan development increase while others decrease. This plasticity of the lifespan perspective occurs in response to various environmental factors that influence human development. Life Span Development Essay

In addition, the perspective is embedded in the lifelong events that occur in the life of an individual. Thus, this perspective is studied by scientists, anthropologists, and psychologists, which brings out its multidisciplinary nature (Sugarman, 2000, p. 63). On the other hand, the perspective has different contextual implications. Therefore, human development is determined by biological, cultural, social, and physical environmental factors.

The three aspects of the lifespan perspective are also implicated in different developmental changes. The physical aspect of development involves changes in weight, height, shape, and the changes in individual experiences with the external environment (Sigelman & Rider, 2008, p. 86). Life Span Development Essay

On the other hand, the social aspect of development involves changes in different phases of human development, which are directly influenced by the social environment such as social skills and relationships. Lastly, the cognitive domain of human development entails change in an individual’s thinking capacity, memory, and decision-making (Sugarman, 2000, p. 64).

The changes characterizing the lifespan perspective of development can also be divided into eight stages of human development. The first stage also known as the Trust vs. Mistrust stage occurs during the period between birth and one year. Life Span Development Essay

Here, development of trust depends on the relationship between the toddler and the care-giver (Sugarman, 2000, p. 66). The second stage also known as Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt period occurs during the early childhood stage. During this stage, the child is capable of making choices relative to the individualized willingness.

The Initiative vs. Guilt is the third stage in development, which occurs during the middle childhood stage. During this stage, children develop a sense of purpose through engaging in goal-oriented activities (Sigelman & Rider, 2008, p. 88). The fourth stage also called the Industry vs. Inferiority period occurs at the late childhood period. Here, children develop competence through learning social norms, basic education, and culture. Life Span Development Essay

Additionally, the adolescence stage signifies the Identity vs. Role Confusion period. Here, individual values and choices develop because individuals are able to account for their actions. The Intimacy vs. Isolation period occurs during early adulthood and it is characterized by development of intimate relationships, marriage, and families (Sigelman & Rider, 2008, p. 90). Life Span Development Essay

The Generativity vs. Stagnation period occurs during the middle adulthood stage. Here, individuals are committed with providing for their families and developing their careers. Lastly, the Integrity vs. Despair stage occurs during the late adulthood stage. The elderly individuals are self-contented and they are full of life experiences and advice.

Theories of Lifespan Development
There are many theories that attempt to explain the process of human development from different perspectives such as Freud’s theory of psychosexual development and Erikson’s theory on psychosocial development. Erikson’s theory posits that an individual encounters several conflicts during the development process, which depend on the type of relationship existing between this individual and the society. Life Span Development Essay

Therefore, as an individual moves through the eight stages of development discussed above, he/she must solve the conflicts involved in one stage before moving to another. This ensures that one develops a sound personality; otherwise one may encounter difficulties in addressing conflicts in subsequent stages if the previous ones were not sufficiently resolved (Sugarman, 2000).


On the other hand, Freud’s theory states that the process of personality development occurs at the early childhood stage. Subsequently, the behavioral changes observed in developing individuals are influenced by the childhood events. Here, personality development occurs through several stages during the early childhood stage. Life Span Development Essay

During this stage, the pleasure-oriented capabilities of an individual become focused on specific areas in one’s body. These capabilities also known as sexual libido or psychosexual energy play a major role in the subsequent behavioral changes in an individual (Sigelman & Rider, 2008).

Thus, if all the issues involved in the psychosexual stages of development are adequately resolved, then an individual develops a sound personality. However, if the psychosexual issues remain unresolved, the person involved is trapped in a particular stage until all the issues are resolved. Life Span Development Essay

The Interaction of Genes and the Environment in Lifespan Development
A child inherits the genetic information of both parents through the information carriers known as genes. The genes are made up of DNA, which is found on chromosomes. On the other hand, the environment in the context of lifespan development refers to the total social and cultural factors surrounding a developing human being (Sigelman & Rider, 2008, p. 86). Therefore, lifespan development in children depends on two major factors; the genetic make-up of a child and the environmental factors. Life Span Development Essay

However, the two factors can play a mutual role in influencing the development of different individuals in the society. Here, the epigenetic framework of development posits that the genetic make-up can be turned on and off relative to the internal and external environmental feedback (Sigelman & Rider, 2008, p. 89).

This gives the process of lifespan development the flexibility and plasticity described in the discussions above. For instance, the learning process in children follows a specific pattern of adaptability, which depends on the internal and external factors. Life Span Development Essay

Therefore, during the early childhood stage, individuals use the environmental experiences in reasoning and acting. However, as the environmental factors and experiences change along the period of lifespan development, so does the emotional, reasoning, and social attributes in an individual (Sigelman & Rider, 2008, p. 91).

The paper presents discussions on the lifespan perspective of development, the theories of lifespan development and the interaction of heredity and environment to produce individual differences in development. Life Span Development Essay

From the discussions above, the lifespan perspective of development examines the changes that occur in different individuals, which occur due to the interaction of the genetic make-up and the total circumstances surrounding an individual. On the other hand, this perspective is also reinforced by Freud’s theory of psychosexual development and Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, which are summarized in the discussions above. Life Span Development Essay

Lifespan development is essential, as it is the changes that happen to us throughout a person’s lifespan. Our development occurs at ages stages where we develop from infancy till death. This essay will contain my life story to display the domains in 5 age stages in my lifespan development. The domains I will be exploring is in this essay is physical, emotional, cognitive, social, cultural and moral domain. The influence of biological and environmental play a significant role in my development. Development is influenced by nature or nurture and its affect will occur throughout lifespan. The changes that occur during development have stage. Each theorists has stages of development where they display the changes. Life Span Development Essay
The exercise kept her physical domain fit and she wasn’t in the risk of becoming overweight. Her physical development was determined through rise in the muscles from walking and doing house work as well as raised bone. Extending of the bone game her a leaner body frame, this occurred because when she left work she became active doing physical activity such as jogging, talking the dog out and yoga. According to Watson & McDonald (Watson & McDonald, 2007) women that are pregnant with lower income would spend a lot of time in physical actives will have healthier outcomes than those woman that are pregnant with higher income. The continuing level of stress during maternal will release big amounts of chemical level that can harm the baby. It will give the baby respiratory illness, low birth weight and could also cause miscarriage (Berk, 2008). Hohmann Marriott’s study revealed Emotional support is crucial at the time of pregnancy for both maternal and infant wellbeing. Emotional support derive from family, friends and most importantly from the father of the baby. If the emotional support during pregnancy is not given than it could cause harm to the mother and her baby. (Hohmann-Marriott, 2009). During my mother pregnancy she had a lot of support from family members and my dad. They took care of her and gave her a lot of emotional support which protected her from having high stress level which would harm me.  Life Span Development Essay