Saturday, April 3, 2010

Struggle Stages Guest Blogger Sarah L Tagert

Many smart people have proposed their model of how we develop, how the struggle are laid out. Now I will present my own. I believe each stage of our lives have their own unique struggle. We begin and also end our lives with a struggle of limitations abilities. Young and middle adulthood are unique in having their own struggles, specific to the particular stage of life.

As children age, they develop strengths and weaknesses. Some children naturally become more adept at sports than others. Even with little or no formal training, some children will develop a natural talent in music. Even before they can walk, in rare cases, a child will shoot a basket ball . These children may not struggle with accepting their abilities at an early age, but often suffer later in life. Children who do not exhibit extraordinary abilities will struggle more. They must find the thing which makes them unique and accept what they cannot do. Failing to resolve this struggle sets the stage for later success. Parents are key in children becoming well adjusted and confident.

Adolescence brings a shift from the inward to a struggle to change and accept the outward appearance. Teenagers struggle with feeling adequate compared to their friends. An effort is made to change what can be of the physical appearance, often going as far as eating disorders and in extreme cases, self mutilation. It is common knowledge the teen years are a volatile time. Parent and child are often at odds. Loud, heated debates are frequent. Raging hormones are blamed, but the underlying psychological aspect is often overlooked. Teenagers today are under immense stress to conform to social norms while finding their own identity. Frustrations arise from the parents' apparent lack of understanding. Teenagers struggle to blend in with their peers, not wishing to stand out. The latest fashions and fads are sought. Standing out because of a disability or deformity can be difficult to accept. Peers play a more crucial role in resolving this struggling. Finding a reliable group of friends can be essential in this stage.

Early adulthood is marked by the struggle to make something of one's life. The young adult enters the world for the first time on their own. They alone determine if they make something of themselves or fail. The focus is no longer on their abilities or appearance. It's time for them to put all of the experience and knowledge to work. Childhood is completely in the past. For most, the first task is to find a job which allows them to live independent. Social obligations also make up part of the recipe for success. Being proficient in the dating world, not just having friends is a unspoken requirement of typical social interaction. Young adults are expected to date, meet someone and eventually settle down and start families of their own. Accomplishing these tasks reflects not only on the individual but on their family and support system as well. If one fails, they both fail.

Middle adulthood is shaped by how the individual maintains their functions and interactions. Continuing to work and care for family, both children and aging parents are central tasks. Middle adults are in many ways a sandwich generation. They often have teenage or young adult children, and aging parents. They are often torn between responsibly to both and struggle with finding balance and time for themselves. It is often during this time they also notices declines in their own health and abilities as well. Eye sight and hearing might start to decline, though not markedly. Women will enter menopause, and men often try to regain youth. Accepting the impact and effects of decline is key to resolution. Middle adults must accept they are entering a new chapter of their lives.

Late adulthood is marked by a sharp decline in ability and function. Elderly people often find they are less able to care for themselves and their needs than in previous years. Assistance is often required, even for the most basic and intimate tasks. The struggle is maintaining dignity while obtaining proper care. Family is important in this stage, as in early childhood. Seniors must recognize the abilities they still have and balance this with the loss of function. Family support can make the transition into late adult more seamless. Development of strategies to preserve dignity can bolster psychological health and make the situation easier on everyone involved. The senior years can be enjoyed fully, despite declining health and function.

Each stage of life is marked by it's own struggle. How we handle these struggle depends on many factors. The most important element is support of family and friends. Those without support have a more difficult struggle and often go through life without resolving key internal conflicts. Understanding the feelings of people in different walks of life can make understanding their struggles easier. I'm not an expert in psychology, these are simply my own observations.

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