Examination of Stage of Development in a Relative
The person I interviewed, Christopher, is fourteen years old. He is in the eighth grade in middle school in a rural area of Tennessee. For the interview we went to a local park where we could talk in a more isolated, but comfortable setting. The goal of the interview was to get to know the person being interviewed better and see where they are in relation to Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory of Development and Jean Piaget’s Cognitive Theory. The interview was conducted in a manner that would allow for me to test for hypothetical thinking abilities, internalizing/externalizing tendencies, self-awareness abilities, identity vs. confusion/ psychosocial development, biological growth, cognitive growth, and self-esteem. Discussion
The person being interviewed seemed very relaxed and not intimidated by the interview. I began by asking a series of questions regarding Christopher’s outlook on life. Christopher stated that he is looking forward to getting older and moving out because he “doesn’t want people telling him what to do anymore.” These thoughts imply that he is possibly seeking independence and is Erikson’s 5th Psychosocial Stage of Development, Identity vs. Confusion. This stage states that teens need to develop a sense self and personal identity and that during this time adolescents will experiment to form their own identity. Christopher seems to be just now entering the experimenting stage. He mentioned occurrences where he broke the rules, hung out with people that his mother did not want him to, tried something new, etc. We then discussed Christopher’s personal relationships, school relationships, and relationships with his siblings. He seemed to have a deficit in friendships. He stated that he is frequently bullied, feels lonely, and doesn’t understand why people his age do not like him. This did fit in with his stage of psychosocial development. He described his relationship with his siblings to be rather strenuous. They bully him as well, and he feels that he must compete to be heard and when he is heard he wishes he were invisible. His relationship with his parents is okay. He misses his dad who passed away three years ago. His mom does her best to ensure that Christopher does not feel left out, that he feels loved, and that he feels special. He responded to my question about feeling safe with, “I do sometimes, but not at school usually. I just feel like I have to worry about people beating me up all the time.” A typical school day for Christopher involves getting up at 6:00 am, boarding the bus at 6:30, reading a book on the bus and trying to avoid the people that make fun of him, and getting off at school. Afterwards, he goes to each of his classes, spends all day reading, gets in trouble for reading and not paying attention, and then eats lunch. During lunch, he sits with kids that make fun of him because they are the “cool” kids and even though they make fun of him they “like” him. He then attends more classes, takes the long bus ride home, and is subjected to bullying by his siblings. He said at the end of the day though, he feels okay though, lonely, but okay. According to Piaget’s theory of Cognitive Development, Christopher should be able to have abstract, hypothetical thoughts. It is evident by many of his responses to the questions that he is capable of abstract and hypothetical thinking. For example, when asking him about his future plans after high school, he responded, “I’d like to attend college and once I graduate I want to get married and work.” Afterwards, he described to me what he thinks marriage is and what he wants his future wife to be like, “She should be pretty, sweet, kind, nice, smart, funny, and good at cooking and cleaning.” It is evident that Christopher has aspirations and dreams that he wishes to fulfill in the future. However, along with hypothetical thinking, a person must be able to apply thoughts that are propositional in...
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