Age stages


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C18 Age Stages
Contents at Sept 2018:
o   Introduction to Developmental Stages
o   Pre-birth
o   Newborn, infant, Toddler, Pre-schooler Trauma
o   Mothers can be trained to nurture
o   Pre-Adolescence
o   Adolescence
o   Young adult
o   Middle adult
o   Late adult

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An Introduction

In a profound way each of us is on one’s own.

In a profound way we are each part of humanity.

We each compete and commune as we experience life. Our Human Body/Mind is the result of how humans evolved to deal with these opposite demands.

Each generation has to grow from a zygote — the single cell resulting from the fertilization of the female egg cell by the male sperm cell. The basic program for our development is in our individual DNA.

Evolution has provided us with the means by which a human grows, learns and develops. Our “Apps” include a wide range of the good habits/skills needed to relieve us of having to consciously work through routine daily activities.

But our ability to learn these and further life enhancing Apps also means that we can acquire bad Apps – damage-prone habits and antagonizing attitudes. These may emerge in response to unfortunate experiences such as Toxic Stresses.

The Mind (whatever it is) is aware only of the current “stream of consciousness”. Note that we are able to learn to do things well, continue to sort of understand – then we make a big step forward and realize something that is new to us.   This observation of the power of the sub-conscious to “think incisively” in parallel” with your conscious deliberations is crucial to our capabilities!

This ability to “Realize” indicates, albeit clandestine and uncertain, access to particular parts of what is hidden away in what Freud called the Sub-Conscious.

The Mind and its manifestations are complex.   What is presented here focuses on what are considered to be dominant aspects of its functioning.

Thus we have to accept our limited awareness, our “Stream of Consciousness”. But we must also accept the importance of the Near and Sub-Consciousness; and the interaction between the Nervous System and the Hormone System —

Also to accept the basic need to learn how to cope, and reap the rewards that can be derived from focused learning.

Above all, applying and extending our good habits, competences and attitudes.

However, without really understanding the complex processes of the Brain, We have learned to use some of its most important processes.

We need to accept our Human Nature as it has evolved — and acknowledge that all aspects of human nature have a purpose – Fear, Anger, jealousy, greed, etc.

Fear, for instance, makes us aware of threats.

Fear has been described as a Primary Emotion that can give rise to Anxiety , described as a Tertiary Emotion — Anxiety currently afflicts many people often without due cause.

To accomplish these we have what the Harvard Medical School described as “a dog-brain with a human cortex stuck on top” — and that “not a second goes by that our animal brain isn’t seeking to influence our options”.

Humans have evolved and changed more than any other species — adapting to the regions and climates and thus helping the our species to survive. The human brain from the earliest origins of man to the present day, has expanded and grown in complexity and ability. It has learned to adapt to changing needs and environmental factors, leading to the supremacy of the species.

This ability to learn means that nurture and mentoring have meaningful roles in how an individual copes and develops — Early development is remarkable, but it is largely preparing for later quality development.


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Later basic changes can take place – but with more effort:


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Learning a new skill actually changes the structure and function of the brain, even into old age. If you exercise one finger, the area of the brain devoted to that finger enlarges. The old concept of dedicated brain areas for specific functions no longer holds. Areas of the cortex that normally process vision can learn to process totally different inputs such as hearing. This is what happens with blind people: their hearing skills are enhanced when new neural connections for hearing invade the disused visual cortex. They may not actually have better hearing acuity, but they have learned to pay more attention to auditory input and to use it to build up a representation of the world around them.

These support the assertions of Self Developments Programs, such as NLP, – “You can be what you want to be”.

However, it also warns us about the Real Damage caused by Bullying, Loneliness, etc. It is shown later that Poor Nurture of Babies affects their Adult Personalities but also alters their Body Chemistry.

These are observations for which we do not have validated explanations!

The emphasis in what follows is to examine the literature in order to establish valid ways for anyone who would seek to escape being a Victim of Life

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Humans grow and develop based on the instructions contained in our genetic material. A normal human cell should contain exactly 46 chromosomes. At conception the genetic information combines as a mixture of genes from the biological parents — however, sometimes an error occurs and the resulting pregnancy will have a chromosome abnormality.

Humans have adapted to living in different climates, regimes, etc – and become adept at making and using tools, developing a system of communication through symbols and sounds, and developing social, political and economic systems of interaction.

Humans also engage in a host of behaviours that are destructive to our own kind and to ourselves. We lie, cheat and steal, carve ornamentations into our own bodies, stress out and kill ourselves, and of course kill others. Science has provided much insight into why an intelligent species seems so nasty, spiteful, self-destructive and hurtful. Researchers know about some of our most destructive behaviours — Ref 538

Each of us develops as a combination personal genetics and our complex experiences. These experiences include common aspects such as childhood, adolescence, family, etc and the challenge of fulfilling our individual Needs.

Abraham Maslow, in his “A Theory of Human Motivation”, identified a comprehensive Hierarchy of Needs, as follows:– Biological and Physiological – Safety – Social – Esteem needs – 5. Self-Actualization — Clearly many are Complex Needs, and many also apply markedly to certain individuals and in certain circumstances.

The norm of human genetics provides us with a functioning and developing body/ mind with potential to live an fulfilling and healthy life. But we are dependent on empathy with regard to Mother/Carer, Family, Community, etc. A chromosome abnormality may complicate matters.

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Human Developmental Stages

The American Institute for Learning and Human Development supports the creation of developmentally appropriate practices and rich learning environments for children, adolescents, and adult learner –it lists twelve Stages of a Human Life Cycle — >Ref 412

See also Eriksons Stages of psychosocial development — Ref 509

• Stage 1 – Trust vs. Mistrust
• Stage 2 – Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
• Stage 3 – Initiative vs. Guilt
• Stage 4 – Industry vs. Inferiority
• Stage 5 – Identity vs. Confusion
• Stage 6 – Intimacy vs. Isolation
• Stage 7 – Generativity vs. Stagnation
• Stage 8 – Integrity vs. Despair

At each stage, Erikson, the Ego Psychologist, believed people experience a conflict that serves as a turning point in development.   These conflicts are centered on either developing a psychological quality or failing to develop that quality.   During these times, the potential for personal growth is high but so is the potential for failure.
If people successfully deal with the conflict, they emerge from the stage with psychological strengths that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. If they fail to deal effectively with these conflicts, they may not develop the essential skills needed for a strong sense of self.

Erikson also believed that a sense of competence motivates behaviors and actions. Each stage  is concerned with becoming competent in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of mastery, which is sometimes referred to as ego strength or ego quality. If the stage is managed poorly, the person will emerge with a sense of inadequacy in that aspect of development.

Moving on — Which stage of life is the most important? Some might claim that infancy is the key stage, when a baby’s brain is wide open to new experiences that will influence all the rest of its later life. Others might argue that it’s adolescence or young adulthood, when physical health is at its peak. Many cultures around the world value late adulthood more than any other, arguing that it is at this stage that the human being has finally acquired the wisdom necessary to guide others.
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Early Development

The Psychologist Oliver James in his book “They Fxxx You Up”, presents his version of Early Human Developments and relates these to Adult Personality Types. He considers Genetics and Nurtures but maintains that we can and should focus on Nurture – because it can be changed!

His main focus is on emotional and social aspects, developed over 3 early stages.
o Stage 1 Becoming aware – to 6 months
o Stage 2 Developing how to Relate to others – to 3 years
o Stage 3 Realising a Conscience (morality) – 3 to 6 yrs

Early care that lacks empathy creates an immature adult with arrested development, prone to the reckless and amoral acts of a young child, to the ‘me, me, me’ selfishness and inflated grandiosity found in the fantasy life of the toddler. But the cause of such personality disorder is not wholly due to the sort of care in infancy. Subsequent experiences, especially sexual and physical abuse, can also play critical roles.

See Attachment Theory — Ref 492 and Personality Research — Ref 484

Another major development stage is Adolescence, with Puberty:

See Development of Values — Ref 391

Periods of development

Sociologist Morris Massey has described three major periods during which values are developed.

The Imprint Period
Up to the age of seven, we are like sponges, absorbing everything around us and accepting much of it as true, especially when it comes from our parents. The confusion and blind belief of this period can also lead to the early formation of trauma and other deep problems.The critical thing here is to learn a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. This is a human construction which we nevertheless often assume would exist even if we were not here (which is an indication of how deeply imprinted it has become).

The Modeling Period

Between the ages of eight and thirteen, we copy people, often our parents, but also others. Rather than blind acceptance of their values, we are trying them on like a suit of clothes, to see how they feel.At this age we may be much impressed with religion or our teachers. You may remember being particularly influenced by junior school teachers who seemed so knowledgeable–maybe even more so than your parents.

The Socialization Period
Between 13 and 21, we are very largely influenced by our peers. As we develop as individuals and look for ways to get away from the earlier programming, we naturally turn to people who seem more like us.Other influences at these ages include the media, especially those parts which seem to resonate with our the values of our peer groups.

Becoming principled
It’s tough to have high moral values, but some people get there.

Pre-moral
In the pre-moral state, we have no real values (we are thus ‘amoral’). Young children are premoral. So also are psychopaths. Our basic nature tells us to be Machiavellian, doing whatever it takes to achieve our goals, even if it means hurting other people.

Conventional
Most people have conventional values, as learned from their parents, teachers and peers. These basically say ‘here are the rules to live in reasonable harmony with other people.’The bottom line of this state is that we will follow them just so long as we think we need to. We will break our values occasionally, and especially if our needs are threatened or we are pretty sure we can get away with breaking values with nobody else knowing about it.

Principled
When we are truly principled, we believe in our values to the point where they are an integral and subconscious part of our person. Right and wrong are absolute things beyond the person, for example as defined by a religion.The test of a principled person is that they will stick to their values through thick and thin, and even will sacrifice themselves rather than break their principles. Many great leaders were principled (Martin Luther King, Gandhi, etc.)

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Pre-birth

(Numbers are for weeks)
0+ Embryo, Movement
7 Early Neural connections, movement
12 Fetus i.e. fully formed
12+ Cerebral cortex supports early learning; coordination
28 Could survive birth
35+ Can see & hear; lungs may be immature
39 Normal birth; responds to sounds, light and touch; has reflex action

See Fetal Development Stages of Growth — Ref 417, — and Baby brain from conception — Ref 491

The Prenatal Period — Ref 489 is of interest to developmental psychologists who seek to understand how the earliest influences on development can impact later growth during childhood. Psychologists may look at how primary reflexes emerge before birth, how fetuses respond to stimuli in the womb, and the sensations and perceptions that fetuses are capable of detecting prior to birth.

Developmental psychologists may also look at potential problems such as Down syndrome, maternal drug use, and inherited diseases that might have an impact on the course of future development

There are indications that in the weeks before the fetus can “appreciate good sounds” — talking and music.

It should be noted that 24-week Fetuses Cannot feel pain — Ref 487

Although nerves from the periphery reach the spinal cord of an embryo early in development, they only reach the brain late in pregnancy. For example, an embryo may respond to touch as early as 8 weeks of pregnancy, but this is a spinal reflex, analogous to a knee jerk when a physician tests reflexes with a rubber hammer. The leg movement does not involve the brain at all.

See also the fallacy of Fetal pain — Ref 488

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Newborn, infant, toddler, pre-schooler Development

The fundamental problem (following that trauma of the birth) is the total dependence of the baby, twenty-four hours a day, resulting in an equally total loss of autonomy in the mother. Many mothers do not have someone else there to help them out when the grinding relentlessness of meeting the infant’s needs becomes too much.

The first few weeks are a very delicate period in the mother’s life. She is emotionally fragile, vulnerable, yet the need to fit into the infant’s patterns feels like permanent jet-lag, with her sleep patterns going haywire. Worst of all, she has to expect the unexpected as regards the baby’s patterns. What happens if Mother is not empathic?


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Although no one can directly remember their earliest experiences, in infancy, it is back in this forgotten time that “personality disorder” may develop. The psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott claimed that this could result from the sort of care given and responded to in the first few months of life – – Ref486 PersonalityPersonality Disorders

A baby starts of as a self-centred being in need of socialisation

80 per cent of criminals and about 13 per cent of the general population are significantly affected by personality disorder – but so do the majority of high achievers, be they in politics, business, the arts or show business.

However, far more than the 13 per cent of people have some personality disorder – all of us do, to some extent, in some situations.

Re. our early care – During the first six months our experience is largely physical and primitive – sensations of hunger and satiety, of warmth and cold, of fear and security. Our sense of time is limited to physical changes, like from being fed to not being fed.

We cannot label these sensations with words so we cannot represent them as conscious thoughts with which we could predict and ultimately control our world. We have weak boundaries between what is Me (what is inside our body and mind) and what is Not-Me (outside), the two often being blurred.

If our care does not reflect where we are emotionally, then if we look away the un-empathetic mother is liable to misinterpret this action as rejecting or controlling. She may talk at or grab hold of us, acting intrusively and out of keeping with our desires. If we are only fed or picked up when it suits her, she hijacks our capacity to experience our own needs and we grow looking outwards for definition.

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50% of people in Western Societies are mentally “Insecure” – and more in “deprived” communities.

The Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott found that the emotional empathy of an “Ordinary, Devoted Good-Enough mother ” is as critical to the infant’s well-being as food is to his physical health — Ref 602

The fundamental problem (following that trauma of the birth) is the total dependence of the baby, twenty-four hours a day, resulting in an equally total loss of autonomy in the mother. Many mothers do not have someone else there to help them out when the grinding relentlessness of meeting the infant’s needs becomes too much.

The first few weeks are a very delicate period in the mother’s life. She is emotionally fragile, vulnerable, yet the need to fit into the infant’s patterns feels like permanent jet-lag, with her sleep patterns going haywire. Worst of all, she has to expect the unexpected as regards the baby’s patterns. What happens if Mother is not empathic?

A Case Study on Attachment based therapy was conducted b Van Den Boom) on 100 mothers with disturbed babies — Ref 414

When the babies were a few months old, fifty of the mothers received counselling sessions to increase their responsiveness and sensitivity to their disturbed babies. Up to this point these mothers tended to have become discouraged by their baby’s behaviour.

Boom taught techniques for soothing the baby, encouraged play and helped the mothers to connect emotionally.

Meanwhile the other fifty mothers and their irritable babies had received no help at all (That’s Science for you!).


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The patterns of attachment of the two groups were tested when the infants were one year old, the contrast was remarkable. In the group who had had no help 72 per cent of the children were insecure, whereas in the assisted group only 32 per cent were.

The only difference was the counselling sessions.

The Psychologist Oliver James in his book “They Fxxx You Up”, presents his version of Early Human Developments and relates these to Adult Personality Types: Ref 492 and Ref 484
Bowlby Ref 493 and Sensitive Responding to the child — Ref 422

He considers Genetics and Nurtures but maintains that we can and should focus on Nurture – because it can be changed!

His main focus is on emotional and social aspects, developed over 3 early stages:

Stage 1 Becoming aware – to 6 months – Development of Personality
Stage 2 Developing how to Relate to others – to 3 years
Stage 3 Realising a Conscience (morality) – 3 to 6 yrs

Stage 1 Becoming aware

In the vast majority of mother-baby situations, it is the mother and not the infant who can guide progress; and, if effective, how it is patterned!

The development of the Limbic system before the Cortex is important. The means that the brain can process and store emotional experiences long before the child has the language and memory skills to consciously remember and discuss emotions. The process of Attachment described below may be part of the development whereby the Cortex assesses “risk” and affects how an individual Reacts — ref 655 Better brains for babies

Early care that lacks empathy creates an immature adult with arrested development, prone to the reckless and amoral acts of a young child, to the ‘me, me, me’ selfishness and inflated grandiosity found in the fantasy life of the toddler. But the cause of such personality disorder is not wholly due to the sort of care in infancy. Subsequent experiences, especially sexual and physical abuse, can also play critical roles — Ref 485 Personality and Ref 486 Personality Disorders

Stage 2 How we relate to others in Adult relationships has been researched under the heading Attachment Theory Ref 624

Let’s first consider one of the 4 major relationship traits.

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Secure Clinger Avoidant Wobbler

There are early signs of incipient insecurity in coping with relationships. These refer to how the baby reacts to:
• When mother leaves
• A Stranger
• When mother returns
• Exploring the environment

The 4 patterns of behaviour in relationships (Oliver James’s jargon) are:
• Secure
• Avoidant (insecure)
• Clinger (insecure)
• Wobbler (insecure)

The Secure Adult (50% 0f us) – ‘It is relatively easy for me to become emotionally close to others. I am comfortable depending on others and having others depend on me. I don’t worry about being alone or having others not accept me.

Symptoms of Secure trend:
• Distressed when mother leaves.
• Avoider of stranger when alone but friendly when mother present>
• Positive and happy when mother returns.
• Will use the mother as a safe base to explore their environment

The separation anxiety is normal, showing the dependant attachment to the carer. They are more likely to have secure friendships and they tend to avoid insecure children.

The Mother the Secure Baby Trait individual was present, she was interested by our communications and early in our lives she allowed us to take the lead. She enjoyed bodily and eye contact, was involved and expressed warm emotion. If things were going wrong in her life, the negatives were less likely to seep into her relationship with us. Mothers of Secure children are anyway less likely than those with other patterns to suffer depression or other mental illnesses, or to be alcoholic or drug abusers.

The Avoidant Adult (20% 0f us)
‘I am comfortable without close emotional relationships. It is very important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient and I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me.’ – Is this anyone you recognise?

This allergy to intense involvement with others, wanting self-sufficiency, neither to depend nor to be depended upon.

The Avoidant assumes that others will be hostile and rejecting. Anticipating this, we get our retaliation in first by being spiky and stubborn, and if we are none the less forced to become involved we employ a domineering, intrusive style.

Symptoms of AvoidantTrend :
• Infant shows no sign of distress when mother leaves.
• Infant is okay with the stranger and plays normally when stranger is present.
• Shows little interest when mother returns.
• Mother and stranger are able to comfort infant equally well

The Mother of the Avoidant Baby in relating to their babies at three and nine months, mothers of infants who subsequently become Avoidant are far more talkative than those of other types but their talk is not very communicative. Her comments to us were less in response to our acts or sounds than driven by her own emotions or whims. She was controlling and intrusive, determined to interrupt our flow and redirect it in her own desired direction.

The interactions had to be dominated by her, and we soon abandoned attempts to initiate contact because we encountered a steady stream of negativity. This rejecting pattern of care does not end in infancy. Avoidants are liable to have been the object of insensitivity for the remainder of their childhoods, with harsh, critical and unsympathetic reactions to the travails of adolescence. The end result is that as Avoidant adults we expect rejection in relationships and put the boot in first – we reject before being rejected.
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The Clinger Adult (10% of us) – ‘I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I am uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don’t value me as much as I value them.’

Symptoms of Clinger Trend :
• Infant shows no sign of distress when mother leaves.
• Infant is okay with the stranger and plays normally when stranger is present.
• Shows little interest when mother returns.
• Mother and stranger are able to comfort infant equally well

The Mother of the Clinger Baby was over-protective, limiting autonomy and exploration, promoting dependence – highly responsive to our infants’ expressions of fear, but ignoring initiative or exuberance – over-anxious about leaving him with others, so much so that this fear is injected into the child, reducing his capacity for independence.

The Wobbler Adult (20% of us)- ‘I am somewhat uncomfortable getting close to others. I want emotionally close relationships, but I find it difficult to trust others completely or to depend on them. I sometimes worry that I will be hurt if I allow myself to become too close.

Symptoms of Wobbler trend:
• Infant avoids or ignore the mother – showing little emotion when the caregiver departs or returns.
• Infant is okay with the stranger and plays normally when stranger is present. Mother and stranger are able to comfort infant equally well.
• Infant shows little interest when mother returns.
• The child will not explore very much regardless of who is there.

The Infants do not exhibit distress on separation, and either ignore the caregiver on their return or show some tendency to approach but also some tendency to ignore or turn away from the caregiver This is however thought to be a mask for distress.

The Mother of the Wobbler Baby was prone to frighteningly abusive and neglectful behaviour -. the child’s needs were frequently not met and the child came to believe that communication of needs had no influence on the caregiver. Our mother was more likely to have suffered a recent bereavement or a serious trauma, such as a frightening accident. The parents’ relationship was likely to have been disharmonious.

Oliver James has implied that in current Western Society an “ordinary” Secure Person would be likely to blossom – whereas in Mediaeval Europe it would have been better to be an “Insecure” Wobbler!

Stage 3 Your Consciences – sensitive stage3-6 years

3 general variations have been identified:
• Punitive
• Weak
• Benign

The names don’t seem to be particularly appropriate.

Sexual Conscience is dealt with as a separate development.

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The associated behaviours seem to integrate with the Attachments Theory, presumably as the Carer/Family influences generally follow through from earlier years.

Punitive Conscience: We crush our individuality and allow little space for instincts. We fear authority.

Punitive Conscience – Childhood Causes:
An Authoritarian Personality results from rigid and punitive parenting, in which sexual and aggressive childhood impulses were not tolerated. If we grew up in this background we had no alternative but to ban such wishes from our consciousness, to become unaware that we had them and anxious if they threatened to erupt, requiring heavy defence. – Fits in with Avoidant Relationships.

Weak Conscience: We are liable to random promiscuity and unstable relationships – with a symphony of antisocial behaviour, in which the instincts have all the best tunes, gets us into trouble from primary school onwards.
Weak consciences – Causes: Can be the result of a lack of identification with either parent, or identification with loving parents who themselves possess weak or defective ones – fits in with Insecure Relationships, perhaps less so for Avoidants.

Benign conscience: We are not troubled by authority and its manifestations, and are not slaves to it either. Dirt or mess don’t bother us, but there are limits to what they can stand. The benign type can take or leave alcohol and cigarettes, and when young only dabbled in drugs: they know when to stop, when to say no.
The kind of parenting that creates a benign conscience is called ‘authoritative’. It is both empathic to our needs and demanding of us – clearly “Secure”.

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Sexual Conscience – Gender Issues

Sex is listed as a basic human need. It does however seem to encompass a complex of needs – the focus of which is a long term intimate relationship between 2 people – along with having children.

But we all know it is this – and a lot more:


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All the senses are involved – music, moaning, touch ……….

The dynamics and physicality were illustrated, before sex was invented, in the Karma Sutra.

The intensities of emotional and social investment – the cyclic and transient nature – the mixtures of devotion, jealousy, hurt, craving, lust, anti-climax – the stuff of Chick Lit, Mills & Boon, Shades of Grey, Lady Chatterley, Jane Austen, Cave Drawings – dance, drama – its unending – OK!

Psychologist, of course, have a craving to explain!

The genetic Sensitive Stages associated with other developments have been presented in different ways.
Sigmund Freud noted the proximity of the main sexual parts to our sewage outlets and deduced notions such as “anally retentive” – a focus on infantile sex.

More recently a stage around the age of 6 has been suggested, and clearly adolescence!

John Money devised a model for sexual behaviour which he entitled Love-Maps.

It is the mixture of attitudes to sexuality directed towards us by our other family members that generates our specific ‘love-map’.

According to John Money once a love-map has been formed it is, like native language, extremely resistant to change’.

Based on our childhood experiences, we develop notions of an ideal partner, a lover with whom we enact fantasy scenarios that we may hope to carry across into reality, linking love and lust. If we are deprived of childhood sex-play or are sexually exploited, our love-map is vandalized. Lust may be wholly inhibited, so that only love is possible, not sex.

Alternatively, lust may become disconnected from love and we may turn into a sex addict, constantly craving genital sex but without forming a relationship. Finally, lust and love may be connected but in pursuit of self-destructive relationships or lonely sexual outlets, like fetishes.

Since most people are heterosexual, they tend to base at least some of the features of their love-map on opposite-sexed family members. They are the prototype for subsequent relationships. Although there is considerable variation in the answers when couples are asked about the way their parents related to them as children, they are more likely to have chosen a partner who is like their opposite-sexed parent.

Our Love-Maps are so tenacious because childhood sexuality is repressed.

Nor does sexual repression end at the door to home. At school and elsewhere, if children display overt sexuality it is stamped upon, usually with a ferocity that quickly indicates to them just how wrong it is perceived to be. Repressed desires for school-friends and teachers may also be a major influence on adult desires.

Gay men are twice as likely as heterosexuals to come from a distinctive family situation, half of them noted that mother liked to be the centre of his attention and was unusually close; she regarded the rough-and- tumble play enjoyed by most boys as dangerous, and was excessively anxious about his health and safety; this inhibits his aggression, and he became clinging and highly anxious at being separated from her. In early adolescence she may be flirtatious with him and she is a dominant, powerful woman who is uncomfortable with masculinity – emasculating even; she takes the family decisions more than the father, and is the stronger personality; the father is rejecting or withdrawn or weak or absent – emotionally, literally or a combination of these – and the marital relationship is disharmonious.
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According to Money, if a child is deprived of sex-play their Love-map is “vandalised” – how do we deal with this?.

Childhood Trauma

If as children, our limbic system was repeatedly activated by threatening and frightening experiences then its development may have been disrupted. This may mean that it becomes hyper-sensitive to perceived threat and over- reactive to perceived threat — ref 657

Importantly, the limbic system may cause us to over-react to perceived threats that we only perceive on an unconscious level. For example, if someone in authority speaks to us in a manner that, on an unconscious level, reminds us of how an abusive parent used to speak to us, we might become extremely anxious, frightened or aggressive (aggression here would represent an unconscious drive to defend ourselves).

The disrupted part of the brain can begin to heal itself through re-learning factors including:

• Avoidance of excessive stress
• Strong and reliable emotional support
• Self-compassion,
• A safe and stable environment
• Mindfulness meditation
• Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (emdr)

Formative Times Summary

Our children are subjected to different sorts of care and some are treated badly.

The Mother/Carer is, or should be, in charge – the infant can only react. The evidence is that continuity in Care is important – for example the same assistant allocated in a Nursery.

Some children are unwanted, and can suffer neglect and abuse.

Some mothers are worn down, fatigued and lacking help – and may react inappropriately. Emotional upsets can add to the stress.

Some mothers try hard but are lacking the empathic touch.

The observed behaviour of infants can be an indication of how they are being nurtured – and the Case Study indicated that some disturbed children could benefit when mothers took advice.

There are a number of suggestions of ‘systems’ that have been used to enable fundamental aspects of the care of children to occur — Parenting and blocked care — Ref 490

The fact that children are affected by their surroundings is too obvious to bear repeating. Child development specialists have produced decades of research showing that the environment of a child’s earliest years can have effects that last a lifetime see — Ref 491

The earliest messages that the brain receives have an enormous impact.

Early brain development is the foundation of human adaptability and resilience, but these qualities come at a price.

Because experiences have such a great potential to affect brain development, children are especially vulnerable to persistent negative influences during this period. On the other hand, these early years are a window of opportunity for parents, caregivers, and communities: positive early experiences have a huge effect on children’s chances for achievement, success, and happiness.

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Erikson’s cho-social description was under the heading “Trust v Mistrust”:Ref 509

If a child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and secure in the world. Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or rejecting contribute to feelings of mistrust in the children under their care. Failure to develop trust will result in fear and a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable.

Of course, no child is going to develop a sense of 100 percent trust or 100 percent doubt. Erikson believed that successful development was all about striking a balance between the two opposing sides.

When this happens, children acquire hope, which Erikson described as an openness to experience tempered by some wariness that danger may be present.

Sociologist Morris Massey has described three major periods during which Values developed — < href=”http://changingminds.org/explanations/values/values_development.htm” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Ref 391a

Development of Values: This period of development is marked by both physical maturation and an increased importance of social influences as children make their way through elementary school. Kids begin to make their mark on the world as they form friendships, gain competency through schoolwork, and continue to build their unique sense of self. Parents may seek the assistance of a developmental psychologist to help kids deal with potential problems that might arise at this age including social, emotional, and mental health issues.

The critical thing here is to learn a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. This is a human construction which we nevertheless often assume would exist even if we were not here.

The first “The Imprint Period”– Up to the age of seven, we are like sponges, absorbing everything around us and accepting much of it as true, especially when it comes from our parents. The confusion and blind belief of this period can also lead to the early formation of trauma and other deep problems.The critical thing here is to learn a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. This is a human construction which we nevertheless often assume would exist even if we were not here (which is an indication of how deeply imprinted it has become).

Erikson’s social description was under the heading “Autonomy v Shame and Doubt”: At this point in development, children are just starting to gain a little independence. They are starting to perform basic actions on their own and making simple decisions about what they prefer. By allowing kids to make choices and gain control, parents and caregivers can help children develop a sense of autonomy.Ref 509

Like Freud, Erikson believed that toilet training was a vital part of this process. However, Erikson’s reasoning was quite different than that of Freud’s. Erikson believed that learning to control one’s bodily functions leads to a feeling of control and a sense of independence.

Other important events include gaining more control over food choices, toy preferences, and clothing selection.

Children who successfully complete this stage feel secure and confident, while those who do not are left with a sense of inadequacy and self-doubt — achieving a balance between autonomy and shame and doubt would lead to will, which is the belief that children can act with intention, within reason and limits.

The period from infancy through early childhood is a time of remarkable growth and change. Developmental psychologists look at things such as the physical, cognitive, and emotional growth that takes place during this critical period of development. In addition to providing interventions for potential developmental problems at this point, psychologists are also focused on helping kids achieve their full potential. Parents and healthcare experts are often on the lookout to ensure that kids are growing properly, receiving adequate nutrition, and achieving cognitive milestones appropriate for their age
Thirdly, still pre-school, psycho-social description was under the heading “Initiative v Guilt” — a href=”https://www.verywellmind.com/erik-eriksons-stages-of-psychosocial-development-2795740″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Erikson’s Ref 509

Children begin to assert their power and control over the world through directing play and other social interactions.

Children who are successful at this stage feel capable and able to lead others. Those who fail to acquire these skills are left with a sense of guilt, self-doubt, and lack of initiative.

When an ideal balance of individual initiative and a willingness to work with others is achieved, the ego quality known as purpose emerges.
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Mothers can be trained to Nurture

There was a Case Study by Van Den Boom entitled Attachment-based therapy — Ref 414 as follows:

When the babies were a few months old, fifty of the mothers received counselling sessions to increase their responsiveness and sensitivity to their disturbed babies. Up to this point these mothers tended to have become discouraged by their baby’s behaviour.

Boom taught techniques for soothing the baby, encouraged play and helped the mothers to connect emotionally.

Meanwhile the other fifty mothers and their irritable babies had received no help at all (That’s Science for you!).

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The patterns of attachment of the two groups were tested when the infants were one year old, the contrast was remarkable. In the group who had had no help 72 per cent of the children were insecure, whereas in the assisted group only 32 per cent were.

The only difference was the counselling sessions — Early Nurture is without doubt a crucial stage in influencing how we develop.

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Pre-Adolescence — Middle Childhood

Following on from the Period, Morrison describes, the second stage in the development of personal values:

The Modelling Period  Between the ages of eight and thirteen, we copy people, often our parents, but also others. Rather than blind acceptance of their values, we are trying them on like a suit of clothes, to see how they feel.

At this age we may be much impressed with religion or our teachers.

Erikson’s Industry v Inferiority: Through social interactions, children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments and abilities. Children who are encouraged and commended by parents and teachers develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills. Those who receive little or no encouragement from parents, teachers, or peers will doubt their abilities to be successful.

Successfully finding a balance at this stage of psychosocial development leads to the strength known as competence, in which children develop a belief their abilities to handle the tasks set before them.

Many mental disorders appear during adolescence
All the big changes the brain is experiencing may explain why adolescence is the time when many mental disorders—such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders—emerge. — https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-teen-brain-6-things-to-know/index.shtml#pub4

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Adolescence

What is Adolescence
Adolescent Brains are work in progress
Myths
What is the function of adolescence? Theories parents, rebellion
Attachment aspects
Development of personal values
Influences Social, Neural, Gender
Family influence
Drugs
Legal aspects

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What is Adolescence

Adolescence is the transitional stage of development between childhood and adulthood — is associated with marked physical growth, reproductive maturation, and cognitive transformations.

Physical changes begin in early adolescence during puberty, when sexual maturity is reached and reproduction becomes possible.

Young people are helpless to control their conflictual or chaotic environments and the negative emotional constellations, like anxiety and depression, that result from them. In fact, the task of controlling these negative states can be impossibly difficult. Drugs and other addictive practices offer a potent antidote to what it is they are feeling, to banish their sense of helplessness and escape the pit of depression, at least for a while. That’s why addiction so often follows psychological, social or physical adversity in the early years of life.

Personality development is really nothing more than the laying down of habits for getting along in the world: habits of attraction, habits of self-regulation, habits for easing emotional concerns, habits for avoiding the rough edges of our lives.

So we can view addiction as a branch of personality development growing out of the residue of unmet needs and failed attempts. Un-contained anxiety and depression push us to find new sources of relief.

Low self-esteem sensitizes us to opportunities for feeling masterful. But once addiction becomes the main act, our inadequate resources for self-regulation have to tackle the most challenging negative emotion — craving — which is generated by the addiction itself. The addiction then becomes the unmet need that overshadows all the others, continuing to build its own callused shell. Until it’s necessary to find a radically different means of self-regulation.

Evidence for the impact of early adversity comes in many forms, including a seminal study conducted in collaboration with the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and sampling 17,000 middle-class Americans (a vast sample size).

This study looked at adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in relation to subsequent physical and mental problems. Maia Szalavitz nicely summarizes the results pertaining to addiction in a bold online journal called The Fix.5

An ACE score was calculated for each participant, based on the number of types of adverse experience he or she reported during childhood or adolescence. These included physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, alcoholism in the immediate family, and chronic pa-rental depression (at least one of which was evident in each of the five biographies recounted in this book).

Adolescents act differently from Adults — see Ref 441

Pictures of the brain in action show that adolescents’ brains work differently than adults when they make decisions or solve problems. Their actions are guided more by the emotional and reactive amygdala and less by the thoughtful, logical frontal cortex. Research has also shown that exposure to drugs and alcohol during the teen years can change or delay these developments.

Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups?

Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing adolescent brain — Ref 389

Adolescence is a time of considerable development at the level of behaviour, cognition and the brain. This article reviews histological and brain imaging studies that have demonstrated specific changes in neural architecture during puberty and adolescence, outlining trajectories of grey and white matter development. The implications of brain development for executive functions and social cognition during puberty and adolescence are discussed. Changes at the level of the brain and cognition may map onto behaviours commonly associated with adolescence.

Finally, possible applications for education and social policy are briefly considered Development of the adolescent brainRef — Ref 431

The young person proudly asserts individuality from what parents like or independence of what parents want and in each case succeeds in provoking their disapproval. This is why rebellion, which is simply behavior that deliberately opposes the ruling norms, or powers that be, has been given a good name by adolescents and a bad one by adults — see Rebellion in Adolescence.

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Adolescent Brains are work in progress Ref 436

From ref723
In a sense, teenagers have yet to complete the wiring that manifests as willpower. The prefrontal cortex, it appears, is the seat of willpower—the ability to take the long-term perspective in evaluating risks and rewards. As such, this area of the brain is in close contact with the structures and circuits of the emotional animal brain that seek gratification and alert us to danger.

END — ref723

What the researchers have found has shed light on how the brain grows and when it grows. It was thought at one time that the foundation of the brain’s architecture was laid down by the time a child is five or six. Indeed, 95 percent of the structure of the brain has been formed by then. But these researchers have discovered changes in the structure of the brain that appear relatively late in child development.

Cautionary Words:

Jay Giedd and his colleagues have given us a new window into understanding how the pre-adolescent brain develops. It confirms what other neuro-scientists have outlined over the past 25 years — that different parts of the brain mature at different times. In particular, it corroborates the work of neuro-scientists like Peter Huttenlocher who have shown that the frontal cortex of human beings matures relatively late in a child’s life.

However, knowing more about the structure of the brain does not necessarily tell us more about the function of the brain. It is a good hypothesis that if a particular structure is still immature, the functions it governs will show immaturity. Thus, there is fairly widespread agreement that adolescents take more risks at least partly because they have an immature frontal cortex, because this is the area of the brain that takes a second look at something and reasons about a particular behavior. However, moving from structure to function, deciding what behavior is caused by what part of the brain is much more complicated.

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Myths — From The Power and Purpose of the Teenage-Brain.

• Myth. Adolescence is a period of immaturity and we don’t mature until the mid-20’s.
• Truth: Adolescence is a necessary period of growth and change.
• Myth: Adolescents are impulsive.
• Truth: The adolescent brain processes the “pros” and “cons” of situations differently.
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What is the function of adolescence?

Adolescence is a developmental transition between childhood and adulthood. It is the period from puberty until full adult status has been attained. In our society, adolescence is a luxury. It is reported that the real reason there is the developmental period of adolescence was to delay young people from going into the workforce, due to the scarcity of jobs — see Ref 425

This article lists the developmental tasks for adolescence (from about 12 to 18 years) as:
• Accepting one’s physique and accepting a masculine or feminine role.
• New relations with age-mates of both sexes.
• Emotional independence of parents and other adults.
• Achieving assurance of economic independence.
• Selecting and preparing for an occupation.
• Developing intellectual skills and concepts necessary for civic competence.
• Desiring and achieving socially responsible behavior.
• Preparing for marriage and family life.
• Building conscious values in harmony with an adequate scientific world-picture..

Further Stages of development , section on “Identity v Confusion:”, see — Ref 509 — teenage years play an essential role in developing a sense of personal identity which will continue to influence behavior and development for the rest of a person’s life.

During adolescence, children explore their independence and develop a sense of self. Those who receive proper encouragement and reinforcement through personal exploration will emerge from this stage with a strong sense of self and feelings of independence and control. Those who remain unsure of their beliefs and desires will feel insecure and confused about themselves and the future.

Our personal identity gives each of us an integrated and cohesive sense of self that endures throughout lives. Our sense of personal identity is shaped by our experiences and interactions with others, and it is this identity that helps guide our actions, beliefs, and behaviors as we age.

Britanica — Perhaps more than anything else, teenagers have a remarkable built-in resiliency, seen in their exceptional ability to overcome crises and find something positive in negative events. Studies have found that teens fully recover from bad moods in about half the time it takes adults to do so.

However, for some teens these years are more stressful than rewarding—in part because of the conditions and restrictions that often accompany this period in life with emotional separation from parents — see Ref 434

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Adolescent Development & Biology of Puberty

Influences on Adolescence From Ref 426

This study concluded that adolescents depend not only on their families, but also on the neighborhoods in which they live, the schools that they attend, the health care system, and the workplace from which they learn a wide range of important skills. If sufficiently enriched, all of these settings and social institutions in concert can help teenagers successfully make the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Neural Influences: — From Adolescent brain and Nervous system — Ref 427 — Studying Functional Differences in the Adolescent Brain may Provide Evidence that the Nervous System is Responsible for Behavior

The structure of the adolescent brain provides an explanation for the perceived teenage behavior of irrationality and impulsiveness. This behavior can be attributed to activation of the amygdala the region of the brain responsible for emotional behavior. Mature frontal lobes may regulate the actions of the amygdala and allows individuals to reason through situations instead of acting on instinct. Poor connections between neurons formed during adolescence may lead to less emotional regulation as an adult. Since differences in the adult and adolescent brains can be correlated to different types of behaviors, the variations in the brains of adolescents and adults provides evidence for behaviors being produced by the activity of the nervous system.

Future studies to further correlate adolescent behavior to functional brain differences would include functional magnetic resonance imaging study of the use of the amygdala over the frontal lobes and further evidence that the frontal lobes do regulate the activity of the amygdala.

Gender Influences in Adolescence and Adulthood — From Ref 428

Gender and sexual development during adolescence, gender becomes of much more central importance for most individuals. The biological changes discussed above make gender all the more salient – to the adolescent and to others.

One consequence is that societies’ expectations about gender-appropriate behaviour are brought home more powerfully than ever before. During childhood, cross-sex interests are tolerated to some extent in girls, though this is less the case for boys . But in adolescence, parents and peers tend to provide stronger messages about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour – there is a narrowing of the gender ‘pathways’ as we move closer to our adult roles .

In some cultures, the sexes are increasingly segregated in adolescence, although in others (such as many Western societies) many adolescents are particularly keen to socialize with the opposite sex

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Role of Family in Adolescent DevelopmentRef 430

Research shows, however, that ongoing positive family connections are protective factors against a range of health risk behaviours. Although the nature of relationships is changing, the continuity of family connections and a secure emotional base is crucial for the positive development of young people.

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Attachment Theory & Adolescence

Attachment theory is one of the most studied aspects of psychology today. Bowlby and Ainsworth’s attachment models are common references in attachment theory research. The attachment model explains infant behavior towards their attachment figure, during separation and reunion times.

It is believed that attachment behaviors formed in infancy will help shape the attachment relationships people have as adults.

Attachment Theory and AdolescenceRef 438

The real point of Bowlby’s theory is that these early love strategies set up the foundation on which we base all future relationships. It is the standard by which we interpret and respond to later experiences of love. Neuroscience is teaching us that attachment is not a case of simply “learned behaviour patterns”. Rather, these early experiences of love are being knit into the synaptic connections of our brain.

We humans carry our personal sense of love’s safety or fear within our very physiology.

Attachment Style and Brain Activity in Adolescents
Ref 421

Social-adaptation process requires adolescents not only to integrate new and diverse experiences in relation to the world and themselves but to resolve many disagreements and interpersonal conflicts. In a nutshell, one of the central developmental tasks teenagers are confronted with is the establishment of an accurate understanding of their changing social environment.

Human attachment behavior and attachment style

A Research goal is to better understand the neural underpinnings of the above-described social-adaptation process in adolescents from an attachment theory perspective xxx link

In other words, I am asking the question of whether a teenager’s attachment orientation (or attachment style) — which is established early in life through interactions between children and their primary caregiver(s) — could potentially explain individual differences in how adolescents’ brains process social-emotional information. Despite the fact that we already know quite a bit about the neural signature of attachment insecurity in adults xxx link

in adults, it still remains largely unknown what a neural signature of attachment insecurity may look like in teenager — Ref 438

A baby’s need for reassurance can sometimes feel demanding and insistent. Since not all parents are able to respond to that demanding anxiety in an emotionally reassuring way (largely due to their own early attachment patterns), babies learn, by the age of 1 year, what they need to do to keep their parents close to them.

Dr. Patricia Crittenden is a developmental theorist and researcher who has extended the theory of attachment into adulthood. She has developed what she calls a Dynamic-Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation. This can sound a big mouthful, but basically it means that she wants to stress how relationship change vs. continuity affects our development over time. Her website is full of information about her theory, and its organized around some great cartoon images that make it easy to navigate — — Ref 498

For Adolescents Form Attachments With Peers, see — From Ref 416

As a child reaches adolescence, they tend to depart away from the attachment relationships with any parental type figure. Attachment bonds between parents and adolescents are “treated by many adolescents more like ties that restrain than like ties that anchor and secure, and a key task of adolescence is to develop autonomy so as no longer to need to rely (as much) on parents’ support when making one’s way through the world”

During adolescence, a new way of approaching attachment is formed.

This new form of attachment is predictive of attachment behavior in future behavior, such as with their own kids or in marital relationships. It has to be remembered though, that the relationship between parents and child does not become less important during adolescence, the adolescent just becomes less dependent on the parents.

Adolescents are trying to reach autonomy during these years, but they understand that their parents are still there to support them when needed. This goes hand in hand with infants and the exploratory system. Adolescents are exploring the ideas of being independent, but when independency becomes too overwhelming, they can turn to their parents, the secure base, for help.

Adolescents who exhibit autonomy seeking behavior usually have a positive relationship with their parents, indicating that they feel comfortable exploring because they know their parents will be there for them..

A way of seeking independence from the parents is to rely more on peers as attachment figures. These strong relationships form because adolescents share the same mind set at that age that they are trying to break away from their parents, so it is easy to rely on each other.

This transfer of reliance from parents to peers is an important process in the adolescent’s life because it is usually a struggle at first, but it encourages their adult attachment styles to develop fully.

Eventually, adolescents will form long-term relationships with their peers that may be of the romantic kind, which may become full attachment relationships. Attachment relationships that turn romantic are possible life long relationships. These relationships are formed not only because of the need for attachment, but also for the need of species survival. Romantic relationships are pushed forward by the need to procreate and the want to have the prior parent-child relationship, but this time as the parent.

Not everyone has such an easy time transforming their attachment behaviors from their parents to their peers. For families with insecure adolescents, there may be many difficulties in balancing autonomy and attachment needs.

These adolescents have little confidence that their attachment relationships will last when there are disagreements or problems, so they tend to avoid the problems altogether.

Secure adolescents will face the problem and try to resolve it immediately.

Avoidance by insecure adolescents can cause future problems within attachment relationships and can lead to depression and other problems. Adolescent depression has also been related to maternal attachment insecurity. There is moodiness, tension, and emotional instability. At this point in time both the parents and child need to be sensitive to the fact that their relationship is changing, and this is impacting the attachment system dramatically. At this point, the adolescent needs their parents the most, even though the adolescent is trying to become independent from the parents.

In conclusion, friendship attachments are important during adolescence because they are sources of emotional security and support, contexts for growth in social competence, and prototypes for later relationships

Micro-nutrient Requirements of Adolescents Ages 14 to 18 Years — Ref 437

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Adolescent development of personal values

Following on from the Modelling Period, Morrison describes, the third stage in the development of personal values during adolescence:

The Socialisation Period — between 13 and 21, we are very largely influenced by our peers. As we develop as individuals and look for ways to get away from the earlier programming, we naturally turn to people who seem more like us.Other influences at these ages include the media, especially those parts which seem to resonate with the values of our peer groups.In the pre-moral state, we have no real values (we are thus ‘amoral’).

Young children are pre-moral. So also are psychopaths. Our basic nature tells us to be Machiavellian, doing whatever it takes to achieve our goals, even if it means hurting other people.Most people have conventional values, as learned from their parents, teachers and peers. These basically say ‘here are the rules to live in reasonable harmony with other people.’The bottom line of this state is that we will follow them just so long as we think we need to. We will break our values occasionally, and especially if our needs are threatened or we are pretty sure we can get away with breaking values with nobody else knowing about it – freedom!

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Addiction

The Psychology of adolescent addiction

The biological purpose of the adolescent phase of human development is to facilitate the teenager’s separation from parents and to prepare him or her for the transition to early adulthood and the development of emotional and physical maturity — see Ref 433

From a physiological standpoint, the adolescent process follows a fairly standard pattern of psycho-hormonal chaos in teenagers the world over.

Similarly, the pharmacological effect of alcohol and other addictive drugs on the adolescent brain varies little with gender, ethnicity or geographic location. What does vary, however, is the culture or environment in which the addiction occurs.

Does it promote or prevent drug abuse? Is it punitive or therapeutic? Is chemical dependence perceived primarily as an addictive disease or as a crime punishable by law?

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Legal Aspects

Should the Science of Adolescent Brain Development Inform Public Policy — Ref 433

There is now incontrovertible evidence that adolescence is a period of significant changes in brain structure and function. Although most of this work has appeared just in the past 15 years, there is already strong consensus among developmental neuroscientists about the nature of this change. And the most important conclusion to emerge from recent research is that important changes.

Society needs to distinguish between people who are ready for the rights and responsibilities of adulthood and those who are not.

Emotions, temperament and Moods

Motivations —Ref 5

In other words, you have certain needs or wants (these terms will be used interchangeably), and this causes you to do certain things (behavior), which satisfy those needs (satisfaction), and this can then change which needs/wants are primary (either intensifying certain ones, or allowing you to move on to other ones).

In a study conducted by Dr. Deborah Yurelun-Todd of Harvard University, brain activity was scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (5). Both adults and adolescents from ages 11 to 17, who had no diagnosed psychological disorders or brain injuries, were asked to identify the emotion on pictures of faces on a computer screen (5).

The expression of the picture shown to the participants was one of fear. The teens typically activated the amygdala while the adults activated the frontal lobes to perform the same task of identifying the expression — Ref 427.

Because teens and adults are activating different portions of their brains to perform the same task, studying the function of the amygdala may provide an explanation for observed behavioral differences in adolescents and adults.

The structure of the adolescent brain provides an explanation for the perceived teenage behavior of irrationality and impulsiveness.

This behavior can be attributed to activation of the amygdala the region of the brain responsible for emotional behavior. Mature frontal lobes may regulate the actions of the amygdala and allows individuals to reason through situations instead of acting on instinct.

Poor connections between neurons formed during adolescence may lead to less emotional regulation as an adult.

Since differences in the adult and adolescent brains can be correlated to different types of behaviors, the variations in the brains of adolescents and adults provides evidence for behaviors being produced by the activity of the nervous system. Future studies to further correlate adolescent behavior to functional brain differences would include functional magnetic resonance imaging study of the use of the amygdala over the frontal lobes and further evidence that the frontal lobes do regulate the activity of the amygdala.

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Young adult

This period of life is often marked by forming and maintaining relationships. Forming bonds, intimacy, close friendships, and starting a family are often critical milestones during early adulthood. Those who can build and sustain such relationships tend to experience connectedness and social support while those who struggle with such relationships may be left feeling alienated and lonely — Ref 428

People facing such issues might seek the assistance of a developmental psychologist in order to build healthier relationships and combat emotional difficulties.

Erikson’s psycho-social description was under the heading “Intimacy v Isolation”: This stage covers the period of early adulthood when people are exploring personal relationships — Ref 509

Erikson believed it was vital that people develop close, committed relationships with other people. Those who are successful at this step will form relationships that are enduring and secure.

Remember that each step builds on skills learned in previous steps.

Erikson believed that a strong sense of personal identity was important for developing intimate relationships. Studies have demonstrated that those with a poor sense of self do tend to have less committed relationships and are more likely to suffer emotional isolation, loneliness, and depression. xxx

Successful resolution of this stage results in the virtue known as love. It is marked by the ability to form lasting, meaningful relationships with other people.

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Middle adult

This stage of life tends to center on developing a sense of purpose and contributing to society.   Erikson described this as the conflict between generativity and stagnation. Those who engage in the world, contribute things that will outlast them, and leave a mark on the next generation emerge with a sense of purpose. Activities such as careers, families, group memberships, and community involvement are all things that can contribute to this feeling of generativity.

Erikson’s psycho-social description was under the heading “Generativity v Stagnation”: Build our lives, focusing on our career and family.
Those who are successful during this phase will feel that they are contributing to the world by being active in their home and community. Those who fail to attain this skill will feel unproductive and uninvolved in the world.

Care is the virtue achieved when this stage is handled successfully. Being proud of your accomplishments, watching your children grow into adults, and developing a sense of unity with your life partner are important accomplishments of this stage.

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Late adult.

The senior years are often viewed as a period of poor health, yet many older adults are capable of remaining active and busy well into their 80s and 90s. Increased health concerns mark this period of development, and some individuals may experience mental declines related to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Erikson also viewed the elder years as a time of reflection back on life. Those who are able to look back and see a life well lived emerge with asense of wisdom and readiness to face the end of their lives, while those who look back with regret may be left with feelings of bitterness and despair — Ref 004

Erikson’s psycho-social description was under the heading “Integrity v Despair”: During old age we focus on reflecting back on life — Ref 509
At this point in development, people look back on the events of their lives and determine if they are happy with the life that they lived or if they regret the things they did or didn’t do.

Those who are unsuccessful during this stage will feel that their life has been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual will be left with feelings of bitterness and despair.

Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom!

Comment from Verywell who presented Erikson’s theory — What kinds of experiences are necessary to successfully complete each stage? How does a person move from one stage to the next? One major weakness of psychosocial theory is that the exact mechanisms for resolving conflicts and moving from one stage to the next are not well described or developed. The theory fails to detail exactly what type of experiences are necessary at each stage in order to successfully resolve the conflicts and move to the next stage.

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