Julie A. Clough
April 9, 2012
Urie Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Theory proposes that human development is best explained in terms of interaction between individuals and the environments in which they live or have lived (Witt and Mossler, 2010,Adult Development and Life Assessment, Section 2.9, para 1 ). Bronfenbrenner's theory consists of microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem and chronosystem. The Ecological Theory has been criticized for not recognizing biology enough. I have to agree with the criticism. I feel that genetics has a lot to do with the way a person develops into adulthood. If I had to choose two (2) of the "systems" that most applied to myself and my development into adulthood I would choose microsystem and exosystem.
In this paper of self reflection I will demonstrate how I feel the above theories applied to me and my development from childhood to adulthood.
I was born on May 19, 1967 in Lebanon, New Hampshire, to a young mother and unprepared father. The marriage dissolved when I was a very young child and my mother and I moved to South Carolina 1972. My father was not present for most of my life until I reached my teenage years.
Due to the fact my mother had to work and her income was very limited I was forced to be a “Latch Key Kid”; I wore a key around a chain on my neck and came home from school alone while my mother was working. I spent a lot of hours unsupervised and this is where peer influence came in.
I started hanging out with kids much older than myself and emulating what they said and did. I began smoking, using marijuana and alcohol at a very early age in order to keep up with my older friends. I became their little mascot or mini me. This is why I feel microsystem applies to me. I have followed examples set by both friends and family at one time or another in my lifetime.
I also chose exosystem because I feel the unavailability of any sort of after school program, my mothers limited income and my fathers refusal to pay child support led to my being what they called back then "a latch key kid'.
I can see where Bronfenbrenner's Theory applies but I also feel as though nature is stronger. I barely spent anytime with my father or his family during my developmental years but still displayed many of their characteristics. My father’s family was made up of a large number of people who liked to frequent bars, fight, smoke and pretty much just live on the wild side. Although I had spent barely any time with his family as a child I showed many of these same character traits during my developmental years.
As I grew older I started to get into a lot of trouble and my mother just could handle me on her own anymore and I was then sent to live with my father. I felt like I was supposed to be part of his family, he had remarried and had three small children, but he was virtually a stranger to me. I started a new school and made new friend and these new friends were the wild kids just as my friends in my previous environment had been.
Nothing much changed and I continued my ways. At the age of 15 I met an older boy and left home at the age of 16. I lived as a grown up during this time. Cooking meals, working, attending school, cleaning, etc. I had all the responsibilities of a normal adult yet I was still just a teenager. When this relationship ended I was so used to being on my own I remained independent until I was 25 or 26 years old.
Although I was enjoying my independence and doing as I pleased my life was going virtually nowhere. I was working and partying. A week to week job and no real plans for my future. Everything changed when I got a phone call from my mother one day and she told me my grandparents had been diagnosed with lung cancer and needed to be cared for in their home. I had to then make the...