Human growth and development encompass physical, social, environmental, developmental, and spiritual aspects. It begins from conception towards maturity in the adulthood. Physical development starts from infants where individuals develop their outward identity. The importance of the physical body is that it helps an individual to interact with other people. The social or culture is a person’s identity including ethnicity or neighbourhood where a person grows up. In addition, culture includes customs and the character of the culture that assists in the shaping of an individual microsystem.
Besides, culture plays a role in teaching an individual the beliefs and values to follow throughout their life span. Environmental defines the surroundings that a person is brought up through the interaction between one’s self, family, church, or work and how it affects a person’s development. Developmental involves the changes that happen within a person’s body including all the discussed factors including emotional and spiritual changes (Thies & Travers, 2001). This paper focuses on my development from prenatal, infant, childhood, adolescence, youth, and adulthood in terms of the factors aforementioned above.
The prenatal development begins after a woman conceives and has three stages including germinal stage, embryonic, and foetal period. The germinal stage begins with the fertilization of the egg and sperm cell to form a zygote. The single-celled zygote rapidly undergoes massive cell division to form an embryo. In the embryonic period, body parts such as head, nose, ears and mouth begins to form, as well as the circulatory system. The foetal stage takes the longest period, and the foetus is characterized with massive growth and increase in weight. During the prenatal development, the foetal weight and growth increases the mother’s weight significantly, as evidenced with enlarged belly.
In addition, the mother’s hormones changes and stops the menstrual period after a successful implantation, therefore, it emotionally prepares the pregnant mothers on how to take care of the unborn. Socially, the pregnant mothers find the activities they previously enjoyed such as drinking alcohol and smoking less palatable in order to protect the growing life inside themselves. The brain of the unborn begins to mature at the foetal stage, but it has no intellectual capacity as it has not fully matured (Thies & Travers, 2001).
Early childhood stage
During the early years of child development, the child physical growth increases through body size and weight gain. Their body organs such as head, arms, and legs become more developed as those of adults. The child intellectual capacity also improves and becomes familiar with names of similar objects, enjoys looking at pictures, and becomes fond of toys and dolls for boys and girls respectively.
Emotionally, the children at early years can recognize, express, and locate the pain through improved nervous system. They love looking at new faces, start to dress by their own, understand simple commands, and can wave goodbyes. The child at early years, toddlers, expresses more curiosity about the world and improves in both cognitive and linguistic aspects from the interaction with the peers, family, and the community.
As the child grows old, they become familiar and friendly with the environment they are brought up, cooperate with others, and participate in the group activities. The children at this age are exposed by their parents, peers, and community to the spiritual world by attending to Sunday school and bible studies (Mosher, Day & Youngman, 2006).
Development at adolescent stage
During this stage, various physical environmental, social, emotional and intellectual changes occur to both boys and girls. Physical changes include weight and height gains, growth of under-arm and pubic hair, development of breast and start of menstruation cycles, growth of beads, wet dreams and growth of penis and testicles.
Furthermore, they have an interest of undertaking difficult tasks such as attending gym in order to make use of the increased energy. In the social context, most of the youths tend to socialize more with other people in the society especially through the increased urge of making new friends, peer groups and other companies that they happen to encounter in their routine norms (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2014). Additionally, the youths in the modern society go to the extent of opening social media accounts such as Facebook, twitter or whatsApp among others in order to maximally socialize with others. However, these youths develop lowered attachment with their parents and consider the latter as hindrances in their efforts of socializing with others in the society.
In addition, most youths especially boys tend to isolate themselves from their parents in areas such as sleeping rooms (they prefer to have they on sleeping cubicles far from those of their parents). Consecutively, the youths develop the need to develop interests of social institutions such as schools and churches and learn, accept and respect the existing cultural traditions. In the environmental perspective, youths prefer independence in their undertakings mostly because they want to proof to their parents, guardians and relatives that they have grown mature enough to make their own decisions.
Moreover, at this stage, due to the numerous body changes and developments, youths tend to feed excessively than during the previous stages. This stage, therefore, requires youths to be in environments where they would access adequate and balanced diets. Intellectually, the youths record high rates of intellectual capacity since they are eager to proof that at their age they are past childish level.
This increased intellectual level is supported by the youth’s urge of developing new ideas, selection of role models, high capacity of setting goals, increased interests of moral reasoning among others. In the emotional perspective, youths are deemed to record the highest rate of emotional changes during this stage (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2014). For example, they are highly concerned about their body appearance, constant feelings of being strange about their body and self being, periods of stress and sadness among others.
This is the final stages of human development and also involves numerous physical, emotional intellectual, environmental, social and spiritual changes. Most of individuals at this stage encounter inevitable body change which occurs regardless of one’s behaviours. These physical changes include primary aging, fat deposits on the abdomen and chin that highly affect the individuals in this stage, gray hair and visible blood vessels on the skin. In addition, some individuals have diminished hearing and eyesight while others at their 70s lose a small portion of their smell and taste senses.
Moreover, almost all the body systems and the major organs such as respiratory, cardiovascular, kidney and digestive system slow down to large extents. In the social perspectives, the elderly seems to socialize less mostly because most of them have already retired from their activities, have reduced mobility or are unable to move at all to areas with most people and due to the fear that death is their next forthcoming event in their lives. At the same time, most societies free the elderly from employment and family responsibilities. Intellectually, the elderly encounter reduced intellectual capacity.
Most of them even experience memory loss and they require the relatives to take care of them such as bathing them. Emotionally, the elderly have bad emotions mostly due the anticipation of death in their near future. In the environmental context, the elderly requires support in terms of feeding and health care because they encounter reduced intake of food and are easily attacked by opportunistic diseases (Rice & Dolgin, 2002).
In summary, life stages starts from prenatal, then childhood, adolescence and finally adulthood. From prenatal to adulthood stage, the physical growth and development occurs. However, the prenatal stage does not include intellectual, spiritual, environmental, emotional, and social aspects since the child is not yet born. The intellectual capacity improves from early childhood, adolescence, youth, and fully matures in the adult stage. In addition, the environment and social aspects also changes from childhood to adult stage since people interact differently from one developmental stage to another. At early childhood stage, the children are exposed to the spiritual beliefs and customs by their parents, however, the children may change their spiritual beliefs as they mature from youth to adult stage. For example, a person brought up in a Christian background may become a Muslim in the later stages.
It is, therefore, important that parents understand various developmental stages of their children, as they move from one developmental stage to another. The prenatal and late adulthood requires extensive care in order to facilitate and prolong the life at both stages. Parents should understand the changes that occur while their children are growing especially at the adolescence stage since this is where most parents collide with their children. In addition, the parent-children relationship should be characterised by love, respect, warmth, kindness and consistency in order for a relationship to flourish.
Moreover, the elderly should be taken care of by the relatives or friends since most of them die due to lack of company, simple illnesses while other prefer to commit suicide in an effort of relieving the fear of death. Additionally, parents should accept independence expressions and thoughts of their children. Teenagers who have high esteem, competent, and responsible are brought up by parents who motivate them to express their opinions, and to include them in making family decisions.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), (2014). Retrieved on 5th July 2014 at http://www.aacap.org/publications/factsfam/develop.htm
Mosher, R. L., Day, J. M., & Youngman, D. J. (2006). Human development across the life span: Educational and psychological applications. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.
Rice, P. and Dolgin, K., (2002). Adolescents in Theoretical Context from The Adolescent: Development, Relationships and Culture, 10th edition. Boston.
Thies, K. M., & Travers, J. F. (2001). Human growth and development through the lifespan. Thorofare, N.J: Slack.