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ENVS1004 Social Development and the Environment : Social Factors

Your tutorial discussion exercises will be assessed using the following criteria:
Clarity with which the tutorial exercises are explained in relation to human social development.
Number and quality of references used to support the observations/arguments. 
Quality of reflections related to the references and arguments presented. 



During human development stages of infancy, Early childhood, middle childhood, Adolescence, Early Adulthood, Middle Adulthood, And Late Adulthood, undergo social factors like stressors and needs that is not addressed appropriately can lead to dysfunctional relationships and personality styles. As a social psychology student, I am interested in learning how social factors influence the development of human beings at each stage. To understand human social development, the Tutorial incorporated several theories which have been informative in understanding the topic.  After going through the course, I have come to learn that every person, whichever the stage of development, need a stable environment to live and grow without social conflicts and stress at home and outside. This is reflective paper focuses on home social factors and their influence on human development.

Reflection 3

The Question

I have been wondering about how the development of human beings socially, culturally, and cognitively from infancy to late adulthood prior to undergoing this Tutorial. I now understand that to understand about human social development, one has to examine his/ her own life and identify the changes that take place as we develop as human beings. The society has a way of driving people to fill their emptiness when developing.

Age and Psychological Development


This is a transitional age when young people transit from childhood into adulthood. My culture prepares the persons at this age on the need to take care responsibility of their action and decisions (Erikson, 1982).


At this stage, people are treated as full adults. I take full responsibility for their actions. They are expected to leave their parent homes, do their washing, pay their rent, bills and make their decisions without relying on their parents (Sigelman & Rider, 2006).


This is a midlife age where a lot of changes take place. Between the ages of 45 and 65 years, these people tend to form a close relationship with their older children and aging parents. People put more focus on career/ economic development (Sigelman C. K., 2013).  


At 75 years, people have grown children and have retired from their jobs. Most of them engage in community activities to promote their status or well-being. The society expect children to take care of their aging parents (Schultz & Schultz, 2008).

Tutorial 2: Infancy Stage

The relationship that exists between an infant and his/ her parent directly influence their future social relationship. The infants develop the first feeling of attachment with their caregivers at the age of 6-7 months (Erikson, 1963). At the age of 18 months, children fully understand their parents’ behavior, goals, and feelings.

Furthermore, infants tend to form an attachment to those they see frequently. In the case of Baby Jessica she is more likely to have a resistant attachment with her biological parents. She is more attached to her adopted parents than biological parents. This can be observed from the picture (she is crying while being taken away from her adopted parents) (Ahmetoglu, Swami, & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2010).

I agree that Jessica will develop a resistant relationship with her biological mother who is portrayed to have taken her joy away. She would have loved to spend time with her adopted parents who she had learned to trust. The relationship with her biological parents will affect her future interpersonal relationship because it will be difficult to trust others. Likewise, she will be afraid to get committed in a serious relationship for the fear of disappointment (Hamdorf, 1978).

Tutorial 3 – Early childhood

My aim is to teach children on the best ways of resolving their conflicts among themselves. Therefore, I would only intervene when either my 4-year-old and 5-year-old children are likely to suffer a physical harm when fighting over a ball. Trying to solve the problem by ordering the five-year-old child to leave the ball to the four-year-old brother would be perceived as an act of favouritism. I don’t want either of my children to feel that one of them is loved or given more attention than him/ her (Erikson, 1963). Intervening by taking sides would not solve the problem forever or stop the behaviour from happening again. Allowing the children to handle their issues and intervening when they have calmed down promote a happier and friendlier atmosphere besides fewer arguments between them.

Culture always favour the younger children during arguments with their old siblings. According to the cultural practices, parents/ guardians should rule in favour of their younger children during an argument with the older siblings. This cultural practice is likely to bring favouritism and unfriendly atmosphere among children (Frasier, 2008).

Tutorial 4 – Middle childhood

Separation or divorce by parents negatively affects early childhood development. It affects their relationship with their siblings, peers, and parents. A child’s school performance becomes poor because it is difficult for them to cope with the changes in their life. At this stage, children need protection, love, and surety that all will be well (Erikson, 1968).

During the middle childhood, children like Troy develop logical fear, ability to handle negative feelings, develop the ability to understand the right and wrong and resemble their parents in thinking. Troy feels unloved. Her mother does not prepare breakfast for him, forget to take or pick him from school and do not check his homework and dropping school performance. Likewise, the separation has really affected his self-esteem. His teachers think that he is a bad influence on his friend Jake. Troy is also blaming himself for their parents’ separation. Lastly, Troy feels dejected because his father and brother left him behind. Life would have been smooth if they were still together (Hamdorf, 1978).

His Parents’ separation has affected his childhood development and will definitely impact his adolescence stage. Troy will more likely be defiant and distant himself to his mother. He will become more aggressive and self-centered. He will be more disconnected from his mother and become concerned with his own life (Erikson,1968).

Tutorial 6 – Adolescence

Mass media has brought both positive and negative influence on the human development of adolescents. For example, teenagers’ exposure to mass media has increased their desire to undergo plastic surgery and attain their “ideal body image”. For instance, girls want laser hair removal and breast implant while boys are using muscle enhancers. Likewise, mass media is likely to influence violence among the adolescence. Lastly, media influence risky or unhealthy behaviours among teenagers. Such behaves include smoking, taking drugs and drinking alcohol (Baumeister, 1999).

However, mass media promote a positive influence on youths as well. Media educates youths to get involved in the political and social issues affecting their communities. Likewise, media also promote healthy messages for the adolescents. For instance, media can stream messages encouraging a healthy lifestyle and eating habits, respectful relationship, and discourage youth suicide and depression (Salkind, 2004).

Mass media always aim at increasing the number of their followers and teenagers are the easy target. Youths turn to mass media for information especially when their families are dysfunctional. Parents and policymakers have a major role to play in protecting teenagers against the harm that comes with mass media (Sigelman C. K., 2013).

Tutorial 7-Early Adulthood

Yes, I agree with Sternberg’s Typology of love. To show love, a person should have commitment, intimacy, trust and passion. Whichever the level of love triangle a couple find themselves on, the success of their relationship depend on what they want and their way of communication. A relationship can only be successful when the two partners find themselves in the same pace (Salkind, 2004).

Consummate love is based on factors such as effective communication, unselfishness, commitment, appreciation, devotion, and admiration. In my opinion, communication plays a vital role in achieving intimacy, commitment, and passion in a love relationship. Through communication, partners nurture intimacy, understanding, mutual cooperation, problem-solving, and active decision making. Realistically, communication leads to a healthy and satisfying relationship (De Vaus, Qu, L, & Weston, 2003).

Both men and women have a different perception of elements of consummate love. Men’s perception about love is based on passion instead of intimacy and commitment. They associate consummate love with intercourse pleasure and sexual commitment. On their part, women perception on the relationship is based on intimacy instead of passion and commitment. They associate love with security elements and emotional (Peterson, 2004).

Tutorial 8: Middle Adulthood

Joseph is entering the middle Adulthood stage of Levinson’s theory. The stage is characteristics by making retirement and future plans. At this stage, people feel the impact of the choices they made during their Mid-Life transition stage (Age 40-45 years)  (Peterson, 2004).

For instance, Joseph’s wife had been pushing him to acquire new skills. Joseph never showed the need and they argued on several instances. She was aware that it was a matter of time before her husband lost his job. After he was sacked, Joseph became bitter and frustrated; he had no legacy. Clearly, Joseph is undergoing crisis (Baumeister, 1999).

I believe that Middle- Life Crisis is a reality. It is during this stage that people conduct self-evaluation to establish their achievements in life. People reflect how their past have affected their present as well as their future. They try to establish the purpose and meaning of their life, make necessary adjustments with and aim of achieving satisfaction during the late adulthood stage. In reality, people review unattained goals, untaken risks, and a unexecuted list of activities. If not careful people undergo depression, increased drug and alcohol abuse, and anxiety (De Vaus, Qu, L, & Weston, 2003).

Tutorial 8: Late Adulthood

Kate is reflecting back on her life. She is undergoing mixed feelings of satisfaction and regrets. In her career as a nurse, she has achieved a lot; she educated and fed her two children. Likewise, she has positively impacted the lives of many people (health wise). He has grandchildren and lastly, she is in good terms with her son. This gives her a sense of satisfaction and pride (Erikson, 1968).

On the other hand, Kate is suffering from regrets. First, she had not in good terms with her daughter for over fourteen years. The attempts by her son to reconcile the two of them has been futile. Likewise, Kate made little savings during her working days and depend on her son for financial support. She also lacks companion when his son is not around.  Lastly, she is required to go back to work as a voluntary against her will (Hamdorf, 1978).

The way she chooses to resolve the crisis will determine whether or not she achieve ego integrity or suffer from despair. She should agree to reconcile with her daughter which will give time to spend her last days with her grandchildren. If she achieves this, Kate can live her remaining days with peace, wisdom, and pride (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2007).


The analysis is based to Tutorial assessments, case studies and my personal perception of the human social development. From the Erikson’s eight stage theory of human development to the Sternberg’s Typology of love, it has been established that social and cultural factors play a major role in human development. Many factors comes into play when it comes to the development of the infants, children, teenagers, youths, adults and the elderly.


Ahmetoglu, G., Swami, V., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2010). The relationship between dimensions of love, personality and relationship length. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 1181-1190.

Baumeister, R. F. (1999). Passion, intimacy, and time: Passionate love as a function of change in intimacy. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 3(1), 149-67.

De Vaus, D., Qu, L, L., & Weston, R. (2003). Changing Patterns of Partnersing’ in Family Matters. Autumn, 64, 10-15.

Erikson, E. (1963). Childhood and Society. New York: Norton.

Erikson, E. (1968). Identity: Youth and Crisis. New York: Norton.

Erikson, E. (1982). The Life Cycle Completed. New York/London: Norton.

Frasier, R. (2008). Child Guidance Techniques: Cooperative Extension Service. Oregon State University.

Hamdorf, K. (1978). Practical As Leaders: The Role of Control and Discipline. National Institute of Mental Health. DHEW Publication, 78-613.

Kail, R., & Cavanaugh, C. (2007). Human Development: A Life-Span View (4th ed.). USA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Papalia, D., Olds, S., & Feldman, R. (2007). Human Development. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Peterson, C. (2004). Looking Forward through the Lifespan. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.

Salkind, N. J. (2004). An Introduction to Theories of Human Development. London: SAGE.

Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2008). Theories of Personality (Ninth ed.). New York: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Sigelman, C. K. (2013). Lifespan human development. Melbourne: Cengage.

Sigelman, C., & Rider, E. (2006). Life-Span Human Development (5th ed ed.). USA: Thomson Wadsworth.

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