Research Papers

Adult Development Research Paper

I never truly sat back and thought about things in my life as being normal or something that someone else may have been through or may be going through. I would not say I was ambivalent to others and their problems around me, I simply would say I was not as concerned. Since I was not concerned, it did not have an effect on me. Growing up and dealing with the obstacles as a child and later a teen and now as an young adult left me feeling at times scared, lonely, uncertain, and confused. Trying to adjust and deal with life and the problems that I have experienced in life, has made me become a very protective person. As and adult I have gained a greater understanding of my life pathway, coping with changes in me and others, proper reactions towards change, and a greater self awareness of who I am.

Adult development is something I believed I was involved in, a normal progression of life. Finding a career, establishing a family and eventually becoming stable. I never used the term adult development, I would simply say I was growing up. I had to adjust to getting older, acquiring several new responsibilities and adjusting to my life. Adult development according to the Bee text, “ Assumes that there is some goal or endpoint toward which the adult moves and that this endpoint is potentially better or more mature than what is seen at earlier days” (Bee).

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Although I am working towards something, I don’t agree that it would be necessarily and endpoint. This definition also implies that with maturity people tend to make better choices than others who may be younger. I don’t agree whole heartily to this viewpoint. It may seem that people who are older tend to make better choices then others who are younger but in real life that may not always be true. For instance my mother whose twenty nine years older has experienced life more so than I have. Which also means under the theory of adult development, has more wisdom than me and would exhibit better decision making than me. Most people would agree to that statement, it is likely that most people believe there parents would know better than them. But in all instances?

I believe that my mother is a wise person but on some topics or issues she’s not as knowledgeable as I am. I’m better at certain situations and making decisions than she is.

For example a simple task as selecting a home computer. My mother who has higher education, and common sense, is basically computer illiterate. She’s afraid to operate them for fear that she will break something. When it was time to purchase a computer she had no question of what to look for. In this particular situation she would not be able to make a better informed selection. Her wisdom and years of life experience would not assist her in making a wise selection because she is not equipped to make a better decision then me, although she is older than me.

Maybe that is not exactly what the theory of life development is saying but to me the theory does not support all parts of adult development. The theory also points out that their is a particular goal or endpoint adults move toward. I can agree with most of this statement. I believe that adults all tend to work toward a specific goal. Whether it be finishing school, getting married, or obtaining the perfect career. All people look toward a goal. I don’t agree with working toward am endpoint. Adult progression has no endpoint. There is always something you look forward to, I don’t believe I will ever stop looking towards something new, or trying something that different. When you stop dreaming it kills you as a person. Your progression should never end, it simply takes on a new form. A different form may be retiring from a position and dedicating your life to help raising your grand children or becoming more involve in your local church. Even when you pass away the theory of that being a endpoint can be challenged. It can be looked at as not a ending to a life, but a transition to a different type of life. My point, adult development never ends.

You always can learn and development no matter what age you are or how wise you may be.

The theory of adult change is something I can fully agree with. The Bee text states, “A throaty of adult change, assumes no such endpoint or goal nor any improvement or growth” (Bee) It basically means that there are stages that adults go through. Not saying that as you enter these stages and get older you are a better than the previous stage before. Many theorist believe in this theory of adult change.

Daniel Levinson, a theorist who conducted a survey of 40 men, in hopes of finding out about himself and his adult progression, concluded that adult development is based upon relationships. These relationships are relationships between co-workers, friends, spouse, children, anyone you have a relationship with. These relationships make up your life structure, and according to Levinson, “Adult life, at least for men is made up of alternating periods of stable life structures and transition periods during which the old life structure is reexamined, adjusted , or altered” (Bee). Which I can agree to, the people in my life, and the relationship I encounter make up my life structure. For example, having a child and being a single mom has altered my life structure. If I didn’t have a child, I don’t believe my life development would have progressed to where it is now. Decisions I have made regarding my life I had to take in account of my son and how it would affect him. Since high school I wanted to leave my hometown, Its not that I don’t like being here. I just always wanted to leave somewhere else and explore different places and meet new people. With the attitude I had before I had my son I would have packed my things and moved at the drop of a dime. Now that I have responsibilities to my son and providing him with the most balanced and stable life I can give him, it is no longer an option for me to pick up and move. I have to take in account the relationships I have in my life and how I want my life structured before I can make a life changing decisions. “These relationships are the stuff of which our lives are made. They give shape and substance to the life course” (Bee).

Levinson also made a chart that basically tracks adult progression in eras. He divides each era by ages. The first era which is labeled Early adult transition, ages 17-22. In this era, Levinson states that people normally terminate preadulthood, take steps into the adult world, and explores possibilities in making commitments. I agree with his assessment of this time. My personal experience during this age in my life, I believe I was doing what Levinson believes most people are doing as this time of their life. During this period of my life, I had graduated form high school, attending college, and feeling a great deal of freedom. I was thinking about my life, and planning for the future. By attending colleges, I was preparing myself to have a future in a specific area. I was in turn taking steps towards the adult world as Levinson states. I also gained more financial responsibly by taking on a part-time job and handling my own finances. I stopped going to Mom for gas money and depended on myself, also taking on bills that normally my mother would pay for, I assumed responsibility for them. I was gearing myself towards adulthood.

Levinson interpretation of the era 22-25, which he labels as Entering the adult world. In this era according to Levinson, people create a first major life structure, and attempt to pursue a dream. During this time in my life, I decided to move out on my own, which was my first major life structure. My life had defiantly changed from living with my mother. I had greater responsibilities, I had to take on full responsibly of the decisions I made. If something was not paid on time, it was all my problem not my parents, my life structure had changed completely. I also became involved in a relationship that I planned would result in marriage. I was pursuing the dream of having a family of my own. This is also something Levinson mentions during this period of life, people pursuing a dream. Within each era, Levinson is able to put together major life changes in each era that seems to be an correct assessment in my eyes according to my life and the people around me.

Reading Life Launch, gave me greater understanding of how to adjust to changes in my life. It also gave me reassurance that everyday people go through things that I may be going through now, and techniques on how they are able to get through it. I really enjoyed the chapter titled Beyond Future Shock. This chapter forced you to be accountable for your future. The chapter went on to say that only you can make changes to your future, only you can make set a goal, and follow through. You are essentially held responsible for how your life progresses. It is in your hands on how well your life turns out and if you follow your dreams, only you can shape your future.

“To have the future you prefer, you compose, design, invent, and weave the next chapter of your life, family and career–using the abundant resources which are available by-products of global change. If you refuse to initiate your own path, your choices will be the leftovers from those around you who did entrepreneur their futures, and put you to work for their destinies“ (Hudson, McLean).

This particular passage for the book gave me inspirations, no longer can you look to others or hold others responsible for not achieving a goal in your life, its up
to you. Only you can hold your future in your hands and only you can put plans into works to achieve the particular goal that you want. If I am to fail at something, I have no one else to blame but myself. Its no one else’s fault if I don’t prepare for the future and follow a productive pathway to my future.

I really enjoyed comparing The Old Paradigm vs. The New Paradigm. Reading the different rule helped me to realize which rules I need to make a priority in my adult development. According to (Hudson, Mc Lean) “The Circular Rule- life itself with its recurring seasons, is a self-renewing process. Our lives today are measured by cycles and chapter, not by linear accomplishments”. We no longer have one dream and once that dream is accomplished you stop developing. I want my life to be a continuous development; no matter how much I accomplish there is still room for growth. That’s what I interpreted from this rule to mean. Unlike the Old Paradigm and the Linear Rule, that focused more on year after year if you do what your suppose to do and live accordingly, your life in return would continue to get better.

This new rule breaks from the old way of thinking, basically explaining that no longer do we look toward a linear rule, are lives are made up of chapters, and with each chapter there is a beginning and a end. We live are life with each chapter, once one chapter is completed we move on to the next chapter of our lives. I have experienced a chapter in my life; the theme of my chapter would be attending higher education. I focused on achieving the goal for over 4 years and during that period in my life I dealt with relationships ending, removing people from my life who were not productive for me to be around, and establishing a family.

According to the circular rule I believe I started my chapter with hopes and dreams to become an elementary school teacher. I planned to continue to work with children with a position I held as an assistant teacher at a local daycare. Things changed, I felt that maybe teaching was not what I wanted to do. I thought in the beginning it would be very rewarding to help children to learn and develop. After spending time at the day care my view on that completely changer. I no longer wanted to pursue teaching, I began to stop enjoying classes I took at The Ohio State University that were geared towards students pursuing a teaching career. I was intently upset about how I felt. I felt as if I had wasted money paying for classes that would not help me. I was also frustrated with my position. The children upset me. I did not have enough patience to work with a group of children. I was upset and thought that in a class room environment I would feel the same way. I ended up taking a class in African American Literature, this class opened my eyes to new possibilities. I was so interested in African American writings, I wanted to absorb as much information I could on Black writers. This was the transition in my life from one chapter to another. My strong feelings toward African American authors led to new goals, also healing the pain I felt when my dream of being a teacher was no longer a dream I wanted to peruse.

The second rule of the new paradigm, The Inside-Out Rule which states, “To stay on course in a world that is going in a thousand directions at once you need to be value-driven and purposive. You need to be anchored in your beliefs” (Hudson, McLean). This rule has helped me to in so many ways. As a working single mom I have a lot of responsibilities. Sometimes I feel as if I being pulled in many different directions at one time. I have responsibilities to people at work, my family and my friends. At times it extremely hard to manage all at once, and continue to be who you want to be. In this rule it showed that with everything around me, I still have to continue to be who I want to be. To hold on to my core values, and my happiness in order to be the best I can be. “Manage your life form the inside-out, from your inner values, and beliefs to your broader commitments and roles. Find outer resources to support your fiery purpose. Stay responsible for your destiny, and link up boldly to others in ventures you truly believe in. Become one person with many roles” (Hudson, McLean).

The rule made me reflect on a relationship I once had. During this relationship with this person, I would do things and act a certain way to please him. I knew exactly how this person liked things to be handled and how he wanted me to be. So I began to do things, as he wanted, I stopped doing certain activities because he did not agree with them, even though I enjoyed them. This relationship lasted over a year and during that time I lost who I was and what made me happy. I was living for someone else, and adjusting to there core values, not mine. When the relationship ended I had to step back and realize who I was and what my true values and beliefs were, instead of living by someone else’s rules.

Moving on to the third rule of the paradigm which is titled The Learning Isn’t Just For Kids. The rule explains that you need to continue to be focused, once some adults reach a certain status they drop out of the learning phase. This promotes continuous improvement, training, and learning.

“Persons who make and unwavering commitment to learning stay fresh and alert. They have new information and powerful concerns. They lead vanguard lives, knocking on the doors of tomorrow” (Hudson, McLean).

I experience this rule being applied in different forms. For instance, I continue to go through training and seminars that will help me the best I can in the position that I currently hold. I also seen adults in my family who already have a career go back to college to get a degree in order to be as competitive as the younger generation entering the work force. My uncle who is a supervisor for a local banking intuition recently decided he would go back to school to further his education. Although he’s in this early forties, he decided that it would be a good move to go back to school and learn more. He wanted to obtain and learn different and new challenging things. His learning process did not stop just because he had a position that he worked toward and reached. He still had more things to learn.

I conclusion I believe the journey of adult development and changes are something that none is able to escape from. The world is constantly changing and with change there is a need for people to readjust to this changes. It up to me to find were I fit into to this cycle, I am held accountable for what my future holds as well as how my future progresses.

Making informed decisions, understanding who I am and who I want to be will progress me to the type person I want to be. I will be much more aware of who I am, understand why changes occur in my live and others, and devise a plan to for continual progression in my life.

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