Human Growth and Development

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Human Growth and Development

This essay will discuss and examine three phases in the lives of the two siblings, Michal and Marek. It will compare these areas and analyse using different theories relating to them. Beginning with their infancy, with particular emphasis on developmental stages, it will then move on to consider the middle adulthood stage. The last of the stages to be looked at will be older age and how factors through their lifespan have affected their path. It will also look at possible connections between events in all three stages. To conclude there will be a summary with the conclusions drawn from this analysis.

The siblings had very different start to their lives; Michal’s early infancy was unfortunately overshadowed by Marek even before his arrival. The difficulties experienced by his mother during her pregnancy and well after Marek’s arrival, would have affected his bonding with his mother. The intermittent separation during those early stages is well documented as been detrimental to psychological development. One theorist who had a particular interest in early attachment was John Bowlby. Bee, H. Boyd, D. (2004 p.259) conveys that “Like Freud, he assumed that the root of human personality lies in the earliest childhood relationships. Significant failure or trauma in those relationships will permanently shape the child’s development”. Michal would not have been able to understand his mother and father’s disappearance or the reasons for them ‘leaving him’ as he would probably have thought. The secure attachment (Ainsworth) process would have been interrupted and Michal safe base taken from him. Suddenly, for eight weeks the caregiver or his surroundings was no longer familiar to him, seeing his father at weekends and only for two hours would compound his confusion. The situation could have been easier on Michal if there had been any extended family available or the family had been surrounded by their community members who would have been familiar to him.

The issue of whether attachment influences future development or behaviour is not a defined one and will be continue to change with different theorists and their research. Santrock reasons that (2002, p.190) “Thus, not all developmentalists believe that attachment in infancy is the only path to competence in life. Indeed, some developmentalists believe that too much emphasis is placed on the importance of the attachment bond in infancy”. Michal’s confusion continued when his mother returned home with Marek, there would still be no time for him as mum and baby needed care. His continued stays away from his family and for a time with complete strangers would add to his sense of abandonment. Michal’s inability to interact with other children could be identified as his not having formed a secure attachment during this time. His fear of hospitals and doctors, it could be argued, was a result of his mother’s constant disappearance to the ‘hospital’.

Marek however, although born prematurely, would have had almost exclusive access to both mother and father’s attention. This would have given him a secure attachment to both parents, resulting in his ability to interact easily with his peers. Because of this his ability to develop socially, emotionally, intellectually and psychically was far superior to Michal’s. Bee, H. and Boyd, D. (2004, p.308) cites(Clarkson&Sroufe,1995; Leve & Faggot,1995) “Compared to children rated as insecurely attached, children rated as securely attached to their mothers in infancy are later more sociable, more positive in their behaviour toward friends and siblings ........... other settings outside the home”.

As they moved into middle adulthood the brothers life path were very different. Michal had remained in the same job since leaving school and had kept his homosexuality from his family; he had also been diagnosed HIV positive. Michal sexuality was a source of contention with both parents which they were not able to...
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