According to Erikson’s stages of psychological development, I successfully passed the first two stages called Hope and Willpower that spans between the ages 0 to 3 years. However, there was a negative impact during the Purpose stage of development that ranges between 4 to 6 years. This is a stage when a child’s life revolves around achieving autonomy that they hope will be instrumental to plan and execute onuses with minimal interference. The child develops a sense of initiative and a conviction to see to it that they complete anything they had started. The child at this stage confronts a very confusing emotion that’s/he finds unfathomable, uncontrollable and inexplicable: guilt. Guilt imperceptibly creeps into the child’s life in abstract manners since they are inclined to feel guilt for things that have no logical connection to their actions. It is during this time that my parents went through a divorced. I subliminally developed a sense of guilt since I was sent to live with my grandparents in Louisiana. I unequivocally missed the tender and loving care that I received from my mother after the change of environment. As a female I was more prone to attachment than males. Consequently, I was very much affected by the absence of my mother. I must have felt that I was paying for my bad actions by being taken to very austere guardians who would punish me regularly and put many restrictions in my life. . I was at Kohlberg's 1st stage of moral development given the guilt and I constantly flogged myself believing my actions led to their separation hence my suffering This one year experience during my stay as I went to kindergarten followed me to elementary school . The nouveau culture of strictness greatly affected my sense of autonomy that impeded this development stage. This is because I was unable to feel independent whilst under the watchful eye of my strict grandparents. The guilt coupled with my curtailed autonomy led to dyslexia that I experienced when I joined elementary school. Given that I am female, the sex aspect exacerbated my performance in class since girls are known to be more timid but less rebellious than boys (Horowitz et al.., 2009).
Despite having moved back to Dallas and living with my single mother, the breached process of development affected my performance in elementary school. This is because my stage of developing fully to be focused in my endeavors as a child was rudely interrupted when my environment changed. It also led to the learning difficulties that I experienced in school that led to my poor performance in class. I was not at liberty to establish autonomy and push myself to limits by trying out things without supervision. This was to present itself at the university as a problem that affected my undergraduate studies (Brabender,2009).
Living with my mother back in Dallas subconsciously relieved the psychological tension in my mind. It took me a while to adjust from the trauma but I gradually picked up and my Competence stage was seen to completion during my 1st to 8th grade as I lived with my mother. The cultural impact of not having a father figure might have affected my social life in the light of interaction with the opposite sex. Being a female the gender factor made me vulnerable to males moiré than they were vulnerable to me. So I got involved in a series of catastrophic relationships with boys. I was still struggling to complete the Autonomy stage at a belated age so it took me the whole of my elementary school years of study to go past it. The effects of completing the Competence stage were obscured by the struggle to complete the Autonomy stage. Therefore prowess in academics could not be manifested until my 9th to 12th grade (Shifren, 2009).
My mother’s attention and encouragement saw me past the Erickson’s Fidelity stage. It also led to the further nurturing of the fist stage of Hope that explains why my relationships with people flourished at the 9th to 12th grade. This development was synergistic to the Erickson’s Fidelity stage of development. My mother did not have divided attention as to whether to look after me or to watch the drug abusing husband who was now out of our lives. This was instrumental to the sealing of the void that may have been existing impeding the completion of this first stage of Erickson’s development making me a socialite by default. Although it took time, the stage of autonomy was partly completed and I believed in doing things by myself. The sense in self belief led to my outstanding performance in high school since I could independently initiate and complete tasks. The Erickson’s Competence stage of development was manifested at a late stage but it was for my own good. I excelled in my AP classes, Task and all state wide assessment tests. I was able to be admitted to Texas State University in Houston. The smooth transition from the full developed competence stage to Ericson’s Fidelity stage of development explains my large circle of friends, my membership in the school choir and pep squads at games. I was at Kohlberg's conventional stage of moral development therefore I worked hard to conform to the expectations of the society. I wanted to be called good and worked towards achieving it by pleasing my mother with the good report card. The Dallas environment was contusive for my studies with fewer antagonistic mechanisms hence I comfortably excelled (Brabender, 2009).
The Erickson’s Love stage of development found me in Texas state university. I was not sure if I was loved and wanted to learn more about relating with the opposite sex. The repercussion of this was that I made bad decisions with boyfriends. I found myself inclined to having thugs and criminals for boyfriends in lieu of straight forward men. I was in a state of role confusion and I did not know exactly whether to approach life the high school way or a different way. That is when I plunged into identity crisis and became careless with my academic work. This can be exemplified by my first semester attendance stood at a mere 18hours! That did not bother me and it was a small part of the several immature decisions that I made. This led to my stay in Texas State University in pursuit of a Bachelors degree stretching for a whooping 8 years from 1992 to 2000. The environmental factors including keeping the company of delinquents must have contributed to my lack of seriousness in my studies. Furthermore, it is easier for a female than a male too be a follower hence the alpha male in the criminal group of friends was appealing to me to the point I forgot about my studies. (Shifren, 2009).
I began displaying characteristics of a failed development through the Ericson’s Love stage of development. This was after having a baby two years after my graduation. I knew the father of the baby who he was a off-shore merchant marine. The circumstances surrounding my situation were expeditious to exacerbating the fear of rejection by the baby’s father. I had a feeling that my relationship with him would not work. At times, intimacy can be exhibited through distantiation making isolation and that is the step. I took by moving from Houston to Dallas. This was despite quitting my job that was the source of my pecuniary independence since isolation was the best move that I deemed to be pertinent at that point in time. Isolation overrides rationale and that is why I gave up my job in a bid to avert speculated rejection. This is because of my familiarity with pain and my ego could not stand the possibility of suffering another blow that stems from painful rejection. I feared the break-up more than being broke. As part of this stage of development, it took me 6 years to establish my identity to establish my identity. The Dallas environment is what I deem good for the raising of my child since that was the springboard to my success. I believe that Dallas is a place to where I achieve clarity in thought and I am predisposed to inflect better in this environment. After establishing my identity as a single mother, I made a move that is a typical characteristic of the Love stage of development by making a long term commitment to my child and no one else. We therefore exist as a tightly knit family of two: my child and I. Another long term commitment I made is to commit myself to listening to other people. I therefore love listening and analyzing people's situations seeing their points of views and giving empathetic advice and let them know people care. I decided to acquire my degree in counseling and further my career in something that can give me fulfillment. I believe that I am at the very early stage of Kohlberg's the post-conventional stage of moral development where I am now enlightened by experience, laws, and I reason from a more clear perspective. I know societal expectations (Horowitz et al.., 2009).
The Kohlberg's model of moral development is in tandem with Erickson’s model of development. The two complement each other so well that it is now clear why I did some action back in my formative years all the way to my adulthood. The gender, environmental and cultural factors are synergistic to these development stages since eliminating them would lead to a grossly erroneous conclusion as to why I to up the above-mentioned development pattern.
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