Few years ago, menarche was traumatic. Nowadays, girls react with surprise due to abrupt onset of the event. However, they report a combination of negative and positive emotions. Those girls with no information, menarche can be disturbing and shocking. Unlike many years ago, nowadays fewer girls are not informed, a move that is due to family’s willingness to address sexual issues and spread health education grades (Berk, 2014). The majority of girls are educated by their mothers. Some evidence indicates that compared with African American families, Caucasian American families prepare their girls for menarche, handle it as an important milestone, and show less rebellion over them gaining sexual maturity. These factors caused American Caucasian girls to respond favorably (Berk, 2014).
Just like girls’ react to menarche, boys’ respond to sperm arched with mixed feelings. Almost all boys understand ejaculation early, but some say that nobody talked to them during or before puberty on physical changes (Berk, 2014). Normally they obtain their data from websites or reading material. Even those with advanced information say their first ejaculation happened earlier than expected and they were not prepared for it. Just like girls, boys who are better prepared react positively. In many cases, girls tell their friend when they are menstruating, unlike boys who tell no one about sperm arched. Boys get less social encouragement for physical changes of puberty than girls (Berk, 2014). They benefit from chances to inquire questions and talk about feelings with a health professional or sympathetic parent.
As boys and girls become more physically mature, they expect to be handled as adults. Notably, adolescents’ new way of reasoning may contribute to an increase in family tensions. Disagreements between parent and adolescent focus highly on day-to-day matters like curfews, dating partners, and driving. But below these challenges lie serious regards: parental attempts to guard teenagers against early sex, substance use, and auto accidents. The bigger the difference between adolescents’ and parents’ readiness for new roles, the more they fight (Berk, 2014).
The conflict between parent and daughter tends to be intense than with sons, possibly because more restrictions are placed on girls. Nevertheless, most fights are diminished and mild by late adolescence. Teenagers and parents display both affection and conflict, and they often agree on key values, for instance, significant of education and honesty. And as teenage years end, adolescent and parent interactions become less hierarchical, hence setting the platform for commonly supportive relation in adulthood (Berk, 2014).
The way the adolescents behave is because of the hormonal changes they experience. The boys start producing testosterone while the girls start producing estrogen. Testosterone is responsible for muscle growth, facial hair development, and increased body growth. Boys also produce little amounts of estrogen, which helps in the development of some body parts. Estrogen is responsible for the development of female characteristics, including breast development, menses, and faster body development (Berk, 2014). The development of the primary and secondary sexual characteristics makes it possible for the boys and girls to bear children. These changes continue until teenage is over, by around 22 years.
Middle adulthood is a productive period of life when individual attains their biggest satisfactions and accomplishments. However, it takes significant stamina to deal with a full column of changes brought by this period. Devin reacted to his growing cardiovascular and waistline symptoms by abandoning his desk two times in a week to go to aerobics class and everyday 10-minute contemplation sessions. This enabled him to cope well with the changes and pressure of midlife as well as cardiovascular disease. As adults find problems at work and home, daily hassles add up to serious stress burden (Berk, 2014). Stress handling is significant at any age; nevertheless, in middle maturity it can restrict the age-related increase in illness and when it strikes, decrease its severity.
Regular exercise has a range of psychological and physical benefits which includes equipping adults to help them handle stress effectively and reducing the risk of diseases. Almost 70% of United States middle-aged persons are sedentary, and the majority of those who start an exercise program end it within first six months (Berk, 2014). For those who remain active, less than 20% exercise at ranks that result to health benefits. An individual beginning aerobics in midlife must survive ongoing obstacles and initial barriers such as work conflicts, lack of energy and time, health factors and inconvenience. The significant outcome of beginning an exercise schedule is that inactive adults acquire in self-efficacy that boosts physical activity. Intensified physical fitness prompts middle-aged persons to feel finer about their body. With time, their attractiveness, physical self-esteem, and consciousness of body conditioning rise (Berk, 2014).
The work out format depends on characteristics of an individual. Adults with normal weight are likely to stay with group classes than those who are overweight, who at times feel embarrassed and strain to maintain the pace. Overweight adults do fine with a home based program organized by consultant. Nevertheless, adults with very stressful lifestyle are likely to continue in group sections, which give a regular program and face to face encouragement of others (Berk, 2014). When people are stressed, they can follow a home based schedule than the group one. Stressed adults who succeed on their own can control their lives in a better way.
Despite a decrease over the last years, each decade about 25% of middle-aged Americans die of cardiovascular disease. This disease is associated with heart attacks and many older and middle-aged adults learn of it during a yearly checkup. The indicators of cardiovascular disease include high blood cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure. These indicators are referred to as silent killers since they have no signs. When symptoms are obvious, they use different forms. The extreme one is heart attack caused by the closure of normal blood release to the heart that is brought by blood clot in one plaque coronary arteries. African American women who were at high risk of heart attacks were less often offered medication to treat blood clots and invasive therapies as this would cause death (Berk, 2014).
Levinson states that the middle-aged persons must understand the development tasks during this time. The first one is finding ways to balance between the young and old, whereby, they have to stop some things and find meaningful ways of being old (Berk, 2014). They have to appreciate the body transformations taking place at that time, which may make them feel less attractive and energetic. They have to prove that they are reliant in the eyes of the others, and they have to accept the reality that their life is changing. The second task for the middle-aged is the need to create a legacy for the future generations. In this case, they have the task of fixing any hurtful events they engaged in towards parents, spouses, children, and other people (Berk, 2014). They have renewed energy for engaging in productive activities. The third task is balancing between the feminine and masculinity characteristics they have. Men and women have to accept their lives, whereby, each gender has to exhibit some characteristics of the other. The last task for the middle-aged individuals is balancing between engagement and separateness, whereby, they must have time for their own and that of others. Balancing this is important because it dictates how their lives will be as they age (Berk, 2014).
The middle-aged individuals have varying selves depending on their goals and achievements. As Levinson states, the personality traits these individuals assign themselves depend on what they aspire to achieve in the future and what they fear about the future (Berk, 2014). All in all, most middle aged individuals are motivated to achieve, and they are always working hard to ensure that they become successful. They are concerned about their families, successfully handling responsibilities, staying healthy, and becoming independent, whereby, they do not rely on other people for their responsibilities. These individuals understand that opportunities are limited and they have to adjust their mentality to balance between hopes and fears, which are the most important at this age (Berk, 2014).
The old age is associated with specific stereotypes, including the assertion that they are weak and boring. These factors have led to discrimination and prejudice towards them. Most old people claim that they face such issues occasionally, from the society, including their relatives. It is important to note that these stereotypes arise subconsciously among individuals, whereby, they do not purpose to prejudice or discriminate against the older adults (Berk, 2014). The perceptions of the people in regards to the old people are different. There are many who appreciate these individuals for they view them as wise and enlightened. Such individuals are likely to stay near the old ones so they can acquire that knowledge. They also engage them with the purpose of getting information that can be helpful. The people with positive stereotypes towards the old help them in dealing with the old age. There are suggestions that such actions improve the mental ability of the old people (Berk, 2014).
The negative stereotypes, on the other hand, have adverse consequences on the old people. They are likely to become stressed and depressed because they perceive that the society does not want them. The effect of stereotypes varies depending on the education level of the old person. There are suggestions that those that are not well educated are likely to be affected more. They perceive these messages as true, which affects their mental cognition further. For the learned ones, they understand that these are just perceptions of people, and although they may have an impact, the best thing is to ignore them (Berk, 2014).
Negative and positive stereotypes vary depending on the countries. For the people in most developed countries, these perceptions are common. There is a tendency for the society to discriminate and prejudice towards the old. However, the East Asia nations do not discriminate or prejudice against the old negatively (Berk, 2014). People in these nations appreciate the old than any other place in the world. They claim that the old are a source of knowledge and it would be important to stay close to them. In some countries, for example, Japan, they honor the old through certain celebrations. They understand that if it were not for them, they would probably be not there.
Although there are varying perceptions about the old across the world, many cultures agree that their life experience is invaluable. This is the reason most of the Chief Executive Officers in many organizations are old (Berk, 2014). There is an agreement that these people have wisdom and knowledge to run such organizations successfully. Additionally, there is an agreement that they can pass their wealth f knowledge to the younger generations, which is important in ensuring harmony in the society. This is because the old have a good understanding of human nature, social relations, handling conflicts, and making important life decisions. It is important to ensure that the old remain competent through educational programs aimed at improving their knowledge and coping with the modern changes. The road scholar program is an example of such initiatives, which set the foundation for such programs across the world (Berk, 2014).
This theory is based on the fact that the old need to time to reflect on their lives. In this case, the society does not give them any responsibilities. The distance between the society and the old start to widen, whereby, there is withdrawal from both sides. It is an advantage to both sides because there is less burden. The old understand that their time on earth is almost and the society is prepared to let them go in which case the death of the old does not disrupt the society much. Disengagement between the old and the society is a complex construct, whereby, the former maintain only the satisfying contacts and disregard the unsatisfying ones (Berk, 2014).
According to this theory, the old like to remain relevant to the society. They start building new relationships with the objective of maintaining interactions with the society. For the old that believe in this ideology, they try their best to remain relevant in the society through increased activity. Some old people achieve happiness through the activity theory while others do not. The fulfillment depends on their past and their past roles (Berk, 2014).
This theory states that old people try to continue their identity through skills, interests, and roles they have been identified with in the past. It is a challenge for the old people to try to maintain their personality system because the old age comes with factors that bar them from achieving such. They are limited and cannot do much to maintain their true identity. Regardless, engaging in activities they did in the past makes them happy and satisfied. They may not note much difference with their past prowess, but the truth is that they are slower in what they do (Berk, 2014).
Socio-emotional Selective Theory
This theory is based on the changes the old people experience. In this case, they have close relationships with their families especially after they retire. The relationships are selective based different factors, including the need to be close to the old. However, as they continue to age and hit eighty years, the relationship s change, whereby, the family members and relatives are likely to look for other close relationships.
This is when the physiological and cognitive functions of an old person start declining. However, the old have to balance the functions across the physical, cognitive, functional, spiritual, emotional, and social domains about their lives. Their main goal is to achieve satisfaction and happiness, which is only possible to achieve with proper balance of these domains. They only focus on following what makes them happy and leave those that do not help them in any way.
Functions of friendship
Friendships for the old provide invaluable comfort and satisfaction. They help them have the sense of belonging, shield them from negative stereotypes, and link them to greater communities. They are good because they help the old feel loved, which is likely to improve their physiological and cognitive functions. The families of the old people need to understand these facts for them to help such people to live to fulfillment till their last day.
Berk. L. E (2014). Development through the lifespan- sixth edition. Boston, MA; Pearson.
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