The term development means a progressive series of changes that occur as a result of maturation and experience. This means that development does not consist merely of adding inches to one’s height or of improving one’s ability. Instead it is a complex process of integrating many structures and functions. Many theorists have proposed concepts or theories on the developmental aspect during adolescence. One of these theories is Erikson’s Eight Stages of Development.
The goal of developmental changes is to enable people to adapt to their environment in which they live. To achieve this goal, self- realization, or, as it is some times called “self- actualization” is essential. I have known an adolescent long ago, he was my neighbour. He used to be my childhood friend then. I have seen him since he was still five years old. During those times I already see him lacking the self- confidence, very pessimistic, he has fear of wrong doing and over control and over restriction of own activity.
When he was in his school age, six to twelve years old; I was just surprised seeing him very creative, and already developed a sense of competence and perseverance. When he reached his adolescent stage, I noticed that he has a coherent sense of self and always plans to actualize one’s abilities. There will be a very great difference in the development aspect of a person if he belongs to an ethnic or a dominant culture. Development is influenced by many factors and these are appearance, behaviour, cultural stereotypes, cultural values, role changes and personal experiences.
Behaviour is influenced by the environment the person has been brought up to. When behaviour changes are disconcerting, as during puberty and senescence, they affect attitudes toward the changes unfavourably. From mass media, people learn cultural stereotypes to judge people of those ages. Every culture has certain values associated with different ages. Because maximum productivity is associated with young through early middle age adulthood in the American culture of today, attitudes toward this age group are more favourable than attitudes toward other ages.
Personal experience also has profound effects on an individual’s attitude toward developmental changes. Self- esteem greatly plays an important role in identity development of an adolescent. Self- esteem is one’s perception towards his self- worth, appearance and how other’s sees him in the society. So when one has a very negative or low self esteem then that would greatly affect his development and how he interacts with the people around him.
Parents and teachers should let the adolescents explore and socialize. In that way they would develop their self- confidence. They should help them learn the degree to which assertiveness and purpose influence their environment as well as the beginning ability to evaluate one’s own behaviour. They should inculcate in their minds that every individual is unique in so many ways and that every person is indeed biologically and genetically different from every one.