Lifespan development occurs in various stages of a human being growing up. Everything that happens on one stage of an individual’s life greatly determines what will happen in the next. In trying to understand these effects of the various stages of human lifespan development and the theories that accompany it, I conducted an interview with a 32 year old, Mr. Brown I asked him about various aspects of his life and sought to find the theories that explained it.
The interview started off with asking Mr. Brown about his early childhood. I asked Mr. Brown who between his two parents he felt closest and he answered that it was his mother. He went on to explain that as a child his mother was always there to comfort him when he was afraid, give him advice and guidance as well as pamper him with love. So I went on to ask him when he felt afraid what would he do, and why he did not feel the same thing for his father. He answered that he did feel it too, but it was not as strong as what he felt for his mother. His father spent very little time with him and he was always away at work or somewhere else busy. This made Mr. Brown to get attached to his mother more, and the bond between them grew stronger each day. Mr. Brown’s description of his early childhood reflected the attachment theory of development. In describing the kind of bond like that which existed between Mr. Brown and his mother, John Bowlby a therapist calls it “the attachment” as its described in the book “Attachment Theory and Psychotherapy” (Sonkin, 2005). It is a feeling that the infant develops with the primary caregiver who is always there for him and the quality for this attachment grows stronger overtime. The attachment of this bond is normally determined by how the caregiver wants to be physically close to the infant every time. The infant overtime learns to have a safe haven with his caregiver and always retreats toward them anytime he senses danger. Attachment theory seeks to explain the nature of the relationships between a person and the people who were around him when he was young (Sonkin, 2005).
Moving on from early childhood, I wanted to find out how he deals with his everyday activity in his life. I asked if he dealt with any kind of problems at home or at work everyday, and Mr. Brown’s answer was yes. In his everyday activities, he always encounters challenges that require him to make decisions that will very much determine the cause that everything will take. Some even require impulse responses there and then. He went on to explain that he has always trusted his instincts to make the right decisions. So I asked hi how he did this and what the drive behind it was. He says it is the nature in which he was brought up and how he was taught to always trust his instincts. However, he does seek advice from his colleagues also and wait for a unison answer from them. Also, he has always sought for guidance from the board at work for any of his ideas instead of working singly. By displaying this kind of thought and challenge tackling tactics, Mr. Brown gives a clear example of one of the patterns of temperament theories; the catalyst temperament (Beren, 2010). The temperament theory explains the ‘why’ of a person’s behavior. This always help explain where they get they’re motivations from. The catalyst temperament seeks to explain people like Mr. Brown, who have got a sense of unique identity in how they handle situations. They trust their intuitions and always find the data to support them before passing the idea to their colleagues. In this way, they learn more easily when consulting with their instructors or the group they’re with (Berens, 2010).
In winding up the interview, I thought it would be relevant to find out about Mr. Brown’s socio-moral status, find out what he felt about his colleagues’ behavior and how he relates with them. I asked Mr. Brown how he related with his colleagues and what he felt about some of the decisions they made. When answering this question, Mr. Brown came out as a very arrogant individual. He thought some of his colleagues at work had not merited to be there and work alongside a person like him. Mr. Brown was a very educated individual who had two degrees that he obtained at the university. However, some of his colleagues at work had only got certificates and some were even at a higher position than he was. This made him develop some attitude towards them. He has always thought that this was so because they had people in the board who were close and thus were always being favored for promotions. He came to the conclusion that in order for one to excel in a work place or company, he will have to know somebody on higher ground. This behavior exhibited by Mr. Brown can be explained by the attribution theory. This theory seeks to explain how people interpret the events and situations around them. How they do this often affects their thinking and their behavior. In this case, Mr. Brown was always sought to understand why he was not above his less educated colleagues at work, and he attributed this to their relationship with the people who ran the company. According to this theory, a person can make two attributions. There is the internal attribution, where the person behaves in a certain way because of something about them like attitude or character. Then there is the external attribution, where the person seeks to behave in a certain way because of the situation that he finds himself in. This shifting of one’s problems to other people and blaming them is because of attributions that are self serving (Dennis, 2006).
These theories help us understand people by looking at the way they lived their lives ever since they were small children. They help us understand the development of an individual and how we can understand those who we interact with everyday without being unfair in our judgment.
- Dennis, D. (2006).Attribution Theory and the Glass Ceiling: Career Development Among Federal Employees. Retrieved 12, Nov. 2010 from http://www.hbg.psu.edu/faculty/jxr11/glass1sp.html
- Sonkin, J.D (2005) Attachment Theory and Psychotherapy. Retrieved 12, Nov. 2010 from http://www.daniel-sonkin.com/attachment_psychotherapy.htm
- Beren, L.V. (2010). Understanding Yourself and Others; an Introduction to the 4 Temperaments. Retrieved 12, Nov. 2010 from http://www.bestfittype.com/temperament.html