The two developmental life stages that I chose were early childhood and adolescence. These two areas are of interest to me because this is the foundation of experiences that make you the person you will forever be.
It is well documented that between 15 and 18 months is the time in which featural recognition of self occurs (Diehl, Youngblade, Hay, & Chui, 2011). However, there is a pre-representational stage that is displayed between 9 and 15 months (Diehl, Youngblade, Hay, & Chui, 2011). Because children at this stage are still non-verbal as far as contextual language is concerned then non-verbal referral has to be made and therefore is observed by children in situations such as a mirror and realizing the difference between the real person and the one in the mirror. As the child progresses in years, between 3 and 5 the child is able to speak and usually starts by identifying self as “me or I.” For example: “I big boy” or “me strong.” During this stage they also want to gain their independence and do so by stating “I do it,” or “I tie my shoe,” or “I carry (it) myself (Diehl, Youngblade, Hay, & Chui, 2011).”
At the adolescent stage is when they really begin to develop into their own sense of self. One part of the development in this stage is puberty (Diehl, Youngblade, Hay, & Chui, 2011), which has a strong impact on their development and coming into themselves and who they are and will be. The other is social skills, which can be impacted by puberty for some puberty brings about a sense of shyness because they are confused by the changes in their body, facial acne, and voice changes. For others puberty gives them a new-found confidence, still with confusion, but they become sexual promiscuous (because of curiosity). Their social skills are determined by the friendships or their friendships are determined by their social skills (or the lack thereof).
Self-representation or self-concept is ever-changing and continues throughout one’s entire life. This pattern of development evolves as we age because our perspective of life evolves.
Diehl, M., Youngblade, L.M., Hay, E.L., & Chui, H. (2011). The development of self-representations across the lifespan. In K.L. Fingerman, C.A. Berg, J. Smith, & T.C. Antonucci (Eds.), Handbook of life-span development (pp.611 – 646). New York, NY: Springer