Stages of Development

  Development in Early Childhood (2–6 Years)

  1. This is a stage where children like to do work independently.
  2. They do not like anyone to intervene in their work.
  3. Children show aggression, disobedience and antagonistic behaviour at this stage.
  4. They spend a lot of time playing with toys.
  5. At this stage, children are ready for school. Though not exposed to mainstream education, they start going to preparatory classes such as pre-school and play school.
  6. Their social life improve, though they often prefer to keep themselves busy in their own activities.
  7. They become self-centric and find it difficult to understand others’ perspective.
  8. Children are very curious at this stage; they love to experiment with the things they can lay their hands upon, sometimes even breaking their toys or other objects in the process.
  9. Children observe elders, cartoon characters and other people whom they interact with and try to imitate their behaviour.
Development in Later Childhood (6–12 Years) 
  1. This stage is known by many names such as troublesome stage and elementary school stage. 
  2. In this stage, children tend to devote more time to their peer group than to their parents. They actively seek acceptance from peers. Very often, they fight with each other over petty things such as using each others’ toys, dresses or books, while playing or watching their favourite TV programme. 
  3. This stage is very significant in the development process. As children start going to school, they engage themselves with academic activities. 
  4. They start making friends at this stage and a few of these friendships may even continue in later stages. Whatever they learn and experience at this stage, greatly influence their later life, academically and otherwise. 
  5. They develop their creative potential at this stage.
Development in Adolescence (13–19 Years) 
  1. This is the most critical stage of development in a person’s life. Children face many social, biological and personal changes during this stage. These changes make adolescence a difficult period to manage. Some people call this a ‘stage of stress and storm.’ 
  2. This is a transitional stage where children learn new behaviours and strive to be socially accepted. 
  3. Adolescents are sometimes confused about their identity and are unable to make up their minds on whether that they are grown-ups or if they are still children. One of the reasons for this is the contradicting treatments they receive from their parents, who sometimes talk to them as adults while at other times consider them as children and refrain from discussing with them issues of grave importance. This sets the adolescent thinking and he introspects about his identity and his role in society. 
  4. Adolescents also face adjustment problems. Until their late childhood, parents and teachers helped them to solve their problems; but now, they have to do it on their own. This makes them apprehensive about failure and the resultant anxiety hinders their development. 
  5. Adolescence is also a stage of unrealism. 
  6. Adolescents have desires and aspirations which are beyond their reach. These unrealistic desires become a cause of emotional instability. They have to take many important decisions during this time regarding their career and education.                                                 
James Marcia (1999) talked about four types of identity in adolescence namely, identity achievement, identity foreclosures, identity diffusion, and identity moratorium.                               
  1. Identity achievement occurs when a person explores realistic options and then chooses one of them. It occurs when children, after class 10 for example, are given a chance to choose their stream for future studies. 
  2. However, when all decisions are taken by elders or parents, identity foreclosure occurs.                
  3. Identity diffusion happens when adolescents reach no conclusion about what they want to do with their lives. They have no hope for the future and become alienated.                                                           
  4. Identity moratorium signifies identity crises. It refers to choices getting delayed because of one’s struggle with his or her identity. With numerous options open and professional counsellors to help, these days it is no more referred to as identity crisis.

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