The chart above shows the six stages of child and adolescent development as:
Attachment, Exploration, Identity, Competence, and Intimacy.
It also shows their approximate time table.
Each phase has its own agenda and its own tasks to perform.
In some sense, all of life is a development process.
The first four to six years when we are most dependent, receptive, and malleable, have a profound effect
on the rest of our lives.
As you can see in the diagram, each stage is built upon the preceding one.
Each is a foundation for accomplishing that task of the next stage.
Each stage has its own timetable.
At the end of each phase, another task emerges whether the preceding task was completed or not.
So, how we negotiate the hurdles of each stage determines how freely and capably we can move on
to the next stage.
At each stage, there is a norm with a healthy outcome.
But, if at any point along the way something goes wrong with the way we are nurtured,
we instinctively find a way to compensate for what is lacking, in order to survive.
But this is a defensive move, and in our desperation and ignorance, we develop a maladaptive way
of coping with the task at hand.
This leaves a weak spot in our development.
Lacking in vital skills, and weakened in confidence, we resort to inadequate responses which accumulate
like scar tissue around the central core of our wound.
Since inevitably our caretakers or to some degree less than perfect at all stages,
we all carry forward some degree the of maladaptive response from all stages.
We are all wounded, to some extent, at every stage of development.
But there is almost always one stage in which we're really get "stuck."
This may have to do with our inherent temperament and how we responded to a particular problem.
More likely, it is the result of the way our caretakers handled a particular stage.
Their own needs and adaptations may have made some phases hard for them to cope with than others:
parents who dote on a newborn infant and may feel threatened when he starts to move out into the world,
or maybe they are too rigid to mirror the child's fantasies as he tries to establish his identity.
They may be uneasy with the juvenile's attachment to his peer group, or the adolescent's venture into sexuality.
It can happen that the parents are less available at a particular stage:
they are arguing, there is a newborn sibling, an illness, or a cross-country move.
Whatever the case, the major task is left uncompleted, or improperly completed, at this stage will have followed
us through life, and will turn out to be the core issue around which our current problems turn.
Unless some later life experience has broken the maladaptive pattern -- a drastic change in the lives of parents
such as a positive new relationship (in the case of a single parent), significantly increased time any energy
for the child, a major shift in the way the parents treat the child during adolescence -- those primitive
old-brain adaptations are still with us.
Moreover, the accumulating coping mechanisms have a "snowball" effect.
The earlier in life we get "stuck," then the more we inadequately handle subsequent stages,
and the more debris and maladaptive behavior accumulate around the core problem.
New material to be added:
Click: Attachment or you can also click Attachment on left menu
Exploration -- Getting Securely Connected
Identity and Competence -- Becoming A Self
Concern and Intimacy -- Moving Out Into The World