Development of Social Emotional Identity and Personality

The essay shall examine lifespan development issues with regard to an interview consulted at a local neighborhood. The case study involved analysis of the emotional, moral and personality developmental issues that arise in instances when one has to cope or live with a step family.

Synopsis of interview

The interview involved a seventeen year old female student who lived with a stepmother and her biological father. It involved an assessment of the effects that a step family has had on her life. Some relational issues that were revealed in the interview include; the two families could not get along, the respondent felt that her mother had been robbed off her rightful place, the respondent felt out of place as she was the only person from her mother’s side who lived with her dad, she found it difficult to concentrate on her academics especially because she confronted her step siblings frequently. Furthermore, it was found that she had not sought any help from teachers or other professionals.

Major concepts, features and developmental changes associated with ethnic, gender identification, cultural and sexual differences with respect to the specific case

With regard to gender identification, there were some issues that were unique to the case study. Research has shown that certain developmental features are largely common among certain sexes while being hidden in others. In a research conducted by Hicks, J. et al (2007) in their article “Gender differences and developmental change in externalizing disorders from adolescence to adulthood”, Vol, 116, no, 3, pp 433-447, it was found that there certain externalizing disorders were synonymous with certain genders.

The authors studied the following symptoms; alcoholism, nicotine dependence, drug dependence and anti-social behavior. The study involved persons at the age of seventeen and analyzed them all the way into their adulthood at the age of twenty four. It was found that as the respondents grew older, they developed a higher tendency towards these externalizing disorders. However, male candidates had a higher prevalence rate than their female counterparts. It was found that the latter were influenced by their environment in avoiding antisocial behavior more then genetics.

However, among males, genetic variations played a larger role in explaining their behavior through these developmental changes. In the case study, the respondent was female. Consequently, it was likely that the respondent had to look for other methods of expressing her anger rather than through the use antisocial behavior, alcohol or drugs. This was probably the reason why this respondent did not depict the latter symptoms. While quarrelling with siblings may be a negative occurrence, one can hardly classify it as anti-social behavior. This goes to show that across one’s lifespan, certain changes such as introduction of step families bring out different aspects depending on one’s gender.

With regard to cultural differences, there were some major developmental issues that were unique to this individual. Research conducted by Gartstein, M. et al (2006) on cross cultural differences in development of children, it was found that substantial differences exist between children growing up in certain cultures. The research entailed an analysis of children from the Chinese Republic, Spain and The United States. The authors found that children within the United States had higher degrees of temperament even at an early stage. This continued to be the case as they grew older.

Conversely, children from China had relatively lower temperament. The case under consideration was a teenager who had been born and raised in the US. Her developmental changes were therefore synonymous to a large section of the population which tends to vent out their frustrations on their environment. This may involve either inanimate objects or their fellow counterparts. Another developmental change that could have been related to the case study’s situation was the place of a mother within a family. In the US and in many other western states, nuclear families are generally accepted as the norm.

The issue of a step family is not as welcome as it is in other parts of the world such as in certain parts of Africa; where numerous families can interact and live together. Having to tackle separate families was difficult since the respondent’s mother lived elsewhere. This meant that the respondent had to move between these two homes from time to time; this could have caused her to appear different from her peers since this is the cultural norm. It could have propagated her anger.

Major concepts, features and developmental changes of emotional, moral and personality development and how these relate to individuals within the specific case

Emotional development is crucial to all individuals because before human beings can reason, they first develop emotions. In this case, the respondent came from a blended family. There are certain emotional issues that were not addressed as she grew up because every experience one goes through is a contributor to what one can become in the future. The respondent reported a lot of mood swings and there are chances that as she gets older, she may develop mood disorders and eventually depressive disorders.

Developmental experts assert that different individuals respond to circumstances in a different way. Consequently, the latter assertion may not be an ultimate result in the future. The respondent also claimed that she has trouble concentrating in class and that she always had a feeling of restlessness. Sociologists assert that anxiety disorders can crop up when a child has grown up in a tense environment. Such negative influences condition the child to feel as though they are living in an emergency and this severely impeded normal emotional development. (Pryor, 2006)

A human’s moral principles are inculcated right from their earlier years all the way into their adulthood. These principles are usually derived from their respective parents. However, when one of the parents is not around and someone else takes her place, then that stepparent may not feel obliged to teach their step child moral discipline. Additionally, a child will also feel that their step parent has no right to teach them moral issues anyway. The overall result of this is that a child may grow up not being morally bound and they may depict this though anti-social behavior.

Conclusion

Developmental experts explain that human beings are summation of their life experiences. This case study involved the study of a respondent who lived in a step family. Some of the developmental issues arising in this case were linked to the respondent’s culture, gender and features of moral development.

References

Garstein, M. et al (2006): Studying cross cultural development of temperament, Journal of Child Psychiatry and human development, 37, 2, 145-161

Pryor, J. (2006): Children and their changing families, Polity Press, p 35-46

Hicks, J. et al (2007): Gender differences and developmental change in externalizing disorders from adolescence to adulthood; Vol, 116, no, 3, pp 433-447

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