Term Paper: Personal Theory of Child and Adolescent Development

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Lifespan Development Theory

Personal Theory of Child and Adolescent Development

The Expectation Theory

This paper presents an examination of the child and adolescent life span development theory Expectation Development Theory. The theory is developed by the writer using the character Forrest Gump as the case study. Though the character Forrest Gump is a fictional character in a movie, the character provides a perfect back drop for understanding and applying the invented theory of Expectation Development theory.

For many years, child and adolescent behavior theorists have worked to develop and design theories to explain the various stages of the life span. Within these theories they have drawn conclusions as to what stages the child and adolescent go through and what foundation they require to successfully move into the next developmental step in life.

Well known psychiatrist and child development specialist Erik Erickson believed there were eight separate stages of development needed to attain adulthood maturity.

They included learning basic trust, as opposed to basic mistrust. He termed this stage HOPE. The child who successfully completes this stage moves into the next one of WILL which is about autonomy vs. shame which builds to the third step including PURPOSE with elements of initiative versing guilt (Stages of Social-Emotional Development in Children and Teenagers. (http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/development/erickson.shtml).

COMPETENCE includes industry opposing inferiority while FIDELITY includes the learning identity going up against diffusion.

The stage of LOVE is with the lesson of intimacy against the lesson of isolation and the CARE stage is built using generatively vs. self absorption.

In the end if these stages are successfully navigated integrity vs. despair provides the final stage of WISDOM (Stages of Social-Emotional Development in Children and Teenagers. (http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/development/erickson.shtml).

The developmental theory of Expectation Development builds closely within the idea of Erikson's eight development stages however, it takes it a step further and illustrates the importance of the various stages of expectations of the individual and how the way those expectations are net play a key role in the development of the entire person through their adulthood.

The Theory Summarized

In understanding the different stages of the theory and how they can be observed through the life of Forrest Gump it is important that one have a basic understanding of the overall theory itself.

The Expectation Theory of Life Span development involves several stages of life.

It is built on the idea that individuals pass through various stages of expectations and if these stages are successfully met and handled they are mentally, emotionally and physically able to move into the next step of their life span development.

The theory examined and discovered that the importance of adults, peers and others in the life of an individual alternates as various stages of development are entered into and conquered.

The first stage of the theory involves the child's expectations of the world. As the child is born and travels through his or her basic infancy the child develops expectations of the world and how the world should react to his needs.

This is observed by a child's cry when hungry, wet or ill and the expectation of that child that his or her needs will be met by those that surround his or her life.

One example of this can be seen in the child who cries when hungry. The expectation the child has from that cry is that one of the caretakers will appear with a bottle or breast, however if that does not happen the child begins to expect negative results from his or her cry. This makes it difficult to move into the next stage of development.

If this stage is successfully fullfulled and handled the child is then able to move into the next step of development which is founded in expectations of themselves based on what the adults in their lives expect from them.

For one to understand this developmental stage one only need to observe a preschool or elementary school age child. The child will attempt a task and if successful will quicky look around to be sure the adults in his or her immediate life have noticed the success.

The adults in the child's life will determine by expectations of the child what that child will and won't accomplish.

This stage can include learning to talk, tie shoes, ride a bike or any number of other tasks that the child normally encounters during these years of development.

The next step in the development theory of expectations is called Peer expectations. This is the stage of adolescence when teenagers typically place more importance on peer approval than anything else in their environment.

It is during this stage that the parents often complain that their child ceases to listen to their wishes and becomes very involved in their friends. It is vital at this stage to encourage the teen to socialize with the type of friends who are goal oriented and interested in moving forward rather than peers who are in trouble or creating problems in their lives.

The adolescent in this stage of development relies heavily on the expectations of their peers by which to pick and choose their actions, decisions and life pathways.

If each of these stages has been properly built upon the child will enter adulthood for the final phase of the developmental theory which is called Self Expectations.

As the adolescent enters young adulthood in high school and college they have built their personality and skills around the expectations of others and their reaction to those expectations have guided them in their decisions. At this final stage of the lifespan development theory the young adult combines everything he or she has become and learned to this point and begins to rely on self expectations to guide them in their life.

If the earlier expectation development theory stages were met with success this final stage will be filled with life successes with choices in careers, family life and financial decisions. However, if along the way any of the expectation development phases were met with negative attitudes, lack of interaction or resistance it will impact this final stage by stalling the adult in the stage that was not fully developed.

Forrest Gump Case Study

In examining the theory of Expectation Lifespan Development one can easily use the character Forrest Gump from the movie to explore the various stages of development.

The different stages encompass physical, social and emotional development.

The character Forrest Gump is an excellent case study about the theory as the movie lays out each stage of his life and clearly illustrates the different expectation development stages and how they worked for him and his development into the adult that he became.

He is an excellent case study because of his various mental and physical issues because it illustrates strength and consistency of the expectation lifespan development theory and its consistency in the development of an individual during life.

The first stage of the theory is the expectation of others. In this stage the infant and toddler learns through making demands on family or other adults that his or her expectations will or will not be met.

When the child cries for a bottle or to have a diaper changed and that expectation is met the stage is being properly and carefully developed so that the individual can move to the next step in the developmental theory.

In the movie there is not a lot of information about this stage of Forrest Gump's life however, he does make it clear in the retelling of his life that this stage was met by his mother who provided everything he needed to become a child.

The next stage of development in the Expectation Development Theory is the expectation by adults.

In this stage the individual child looks to the adults in his or her life for approval and the expectations of those adults are what drives that child to accomplish various developmental tasks.

This is clearly illustrated in the case of Forrest Gump as he tells his story. His mother refused to treat him as if he were slow or not capable of doing what other children his age were doing. She expected him to be verbal and social and he was. She expected him to each his personal best capacity and he did.

When she decided to enroll him in school she had already helped him build to the expectation of others stage of development as he heard her arguing with the principal and suddenly he was able to attend the school with the others.

In addition there were physical limitations for Forest in the early years of his life as he had to wear those leg braces that were often cumbersome and heavy. His mother never babies him or told him he oculd not attept a task because of those leg braces and he was able to accomplish much more physically than most children who wore them were able to do.

As he encounters Jenny, his childhood friend and the woman… [END OF PREVIEW]

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