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“Development” is a very broad term, encompassing various changes and continuities that a person experiences throughout the lifespan, between conception and death. There are several subcategories of development that help to clarify and define how we grow, develop, and adapt as we travel through our lives.
Healthy infants are born with all organ systems present. Usually weigh less than 15lbs. Rolling, crawling, walking are common milestones. Rapid physical development: increased height and weight. Adult teeth come in. Increased coordination for eating, writing, physical activities. Development of sex organs and secondary sex characteristics. Sex hormones lead to beginning of the menstrual cycle, development of breasts in females, as well as semen production, increased muscle mass in males. Physical growth usually complete. Muscle tone, coordination, motor skills peak. Physical decline. Skin wrinkles, muscle tone is lost, hair thins.
Respond to unpleasant stimuli by crying. Begin to recognize certain people and familiar surroundings. Short attention span, language skills begin to develop. Begin to read and write. Ask questions often, curious of the world around them. Learn to take responsibility for actions and realize their actions have consequences. Increased problem-solving skills and abstract-thinking abilities. Embrace independency, may attain a secondary education. Juggle a career, spouse, and family, as well as financial responsibilities. Become confident in careers and strive for achievement. May be affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Staying physically active and experiencing new things may decrease mental decline.
Show basic emotions (happiness, frustration, sadness, etc. ) Egocentrism in early childhood, then develop self-awareness. Identity establishment. May feel misunderstood, often look to peers guidance and reassurance. May rebel against parents if feeling trapped/controlled. Stress due to secondary schooling, career, financial responsibilities, etc. Fear and excitement as an independent life begins (marriage, children, etc. ) Contentment as life comes to a close. May also feel unsatisfied for various reasons (no children, etc. ).
Self-centered and require attention from parents/caregivers for basic needs. Become less dependent on parents for basic needs (feeding, dressing). Conform to basic groups, follow rules, play games. Begin to form friendships. Spend less time with parents and more time with peers. Find friends with things in common, confide in them. Need to feel a sense of belonging as they form their own identity. Move out of parents’ home. Find a spouse and start a family. Associate with adults that share common goals. Parents die later, children of their own move out as well. Social life may decline as friends/spouses die. May live in retirement home. Remaining social important for emotional health.
No concept of spiritual beliefs. Established trust in parents/caregivers is important in order to later trust in the concepts of a certain religion. Usually conform to what parents believe/practice or lack thereof. Vaguely aware of death, “the afterlife”, and entities/gods. Begin to form their own opinions on spiritual beliefs as abstract thinking abilities increase. May stray from what parents believe as they are exposed to other religions and beliefs. Experiences may shape beliefs and lead to self-reflection in terms of religion/beliefs. Acceptance that there are many different beliefs. Knows religion is a personal and subjective matter. May desire a partner with similar beliefs. May turn to spiritual guidance as death nears for guidance, comfort, and reassurance.
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