People have different experiences at different ages. Here is an exercise to help you start thinking about developmental stages. Fill in the earliest age you can remember each experience below. Don't worry if you can't remember all of them. Just answer the ones you do remember.
Here are some typical ages from other people who have participated in this activity.
Age in Years
15 - 40 You became settled in your "career choice." 4 - 6 You were first recognized for accomplishing a task. 2 - 5 You became comfortable with your own sexuality. 16 - 45 You judged yourself a "responsible parent." 6 - 13 You considered others important. 5 - 20 You first earned income. 3 - 5 You became aware of being a boy or a girl. 2 - 4 You became aware of death. 13 - 30 You became aware of your body. 6 - 10 You became aware of others as "trustworthy." 4 - 6 You recall changing your behavior to avoid punishment. 5 - 9 You first became aware of limits imposed on your behavior.
You can see that we all develop at a different rate. Some people develop quickly in social skills but slower in intellectual achievement, while others are just the opposite. We go through different stages of development as we grow older. As we meet and interact with people and our environment we learn new skills and are able to accomplish more challenging tasks.
A stage of development is an age period when certain needs, behaviors, experiences and capabilities are common and different from other age groups. Each stage of development has certain tasks associated with it. These tasks focus energy toward certain goals. For example, one of the main tasks of an adolescent is establishing independence. The goal might be leaving home and starting a career after high school. For eight year olds, a developmental task is to develop a sense of accomplishment from the ability to learn and apply skills. This could focus their energy on the goal of hitting a baseball or reading a more advanced book.
These tasks must be accomplished at each stage of development before your child can move on to the next stage. Your child's progress through the stages of development is orderly and sequential. That is, the ability to perform one task depends on learning a previous one. You know your child can't run before he crawls and can't add before he counts. It is just as true that your child cannot achieve the social skills of a ten year old without progressing through the stages of social development leading up to ten. Stages of development can not be "skipped."
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