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This paper aims to explain the development across life span using the theories of development and reflecting on culture and family. Different theories explain that human development depends on various factors such as living environment, family, culture, and individual characteristics. It has also been found that family plays an important role in the development of a child during the initial stages; as a primary learning source, family allow children to learn, react and behave as per their culture and tradition; therefore, cultural influences can be seen on the behaviour of children (Cascio, Moore & McGlone, 2019). Children develop and experience biological, social, and psychological changes in a family environment, while all of these are influenced by their culture. Cultural influence and background provide a sense of belonging to children; thus, children’s behaviour reflects their culture (Gassin & Maxson, 2019). In this paper, I have reflected on my childhood development and how my culture has played a major role during my childhood development. I have used Erikson’s psychosocial development theory to explain how human development occurs in different phases, and people learn social characteristics within the family environment.

Development Across Lifespan

Culture and family are two important factors in the development of humans that also contribute to their well-being and give a sense of belonging. The biopsychosocial development of children is shaped by their family and culture (Tseng & Hsu, 2018). It has been found that the individuals reflect their family and culture, which can be seen in their behaviour and social interaction; for example, if a person belongs to Asian culture, then it can be seen by looking at their way of talking and behaviour (Charlesworth, 2016). Similarly, family and culture work to guide children during childhood and decide how a child will interact with society. By looking at my own childhood experience, I can say that this is true as I also used to believe during my childhood that family and culture provide guidance to us, and we have to behave accordingly. Prout & Prout (2015) described that during early childhood, the concept of biological relationships is unknown to children, and they only understand the social relationship. Every individual living around them is part of their group or family who supports them in learning; therefore, early childhood development has a huge influence on culture and family, which can be seen during the development of adulthood; for example, I still follow many practices learned during the childhood (Tatlow‐Golden & Montgomery, 2021).

I belong to the Asian culture where family plays an important role the development and guidance. I have learned many practices related to our culture from my elders including my parents, siblings, and other family members. Unlike most western countries, families still live together in Asian countries including siblings, parents, grandparents, and other relatives. Relationships and relatives are prioritised in our culture as they live together or in a community to support everyone. I have learned various things by from my family and culture including religious practices, way of talking to elders, acknowledgement, and how to greet or welcome others. These practices are learned by children during childhood (Britto et al., 2017). The practice I follow is different from the Western practises, as our way of welcoming is different, and I still use the same way to welcome people; therefore, I can say childhood development occurs within the family environment and culture influences the development of a child. This can be explained by using the development theories of Bronfenbrenner, Erickson, and Vygotsky's sociocultural theory.

According to Vygotsky's sociocultural theory, human development is a social mediate process where people learn cultural practices, beliefs, and values from the knowledgeable people whom they considered an important part of society; for example, parents are the knowledgeable members of the society for the children who guide and educate them (McLeod, 2020). My parents have played the same role for me during my childhood; I have learned, values, beliefs, and various practices from my parents (Marginson & Dang, 2017). During childhood, I used to believe that elder people are more knowledgeable than us and they can guide and protect us with their knowledge and skills. Vygotsky's sociocultural theory also explains that the cognitive development of children is shaped up by their interaction within the family and cultural environment. Furthermore, communities are the central point that provides meaning and gives the purpose to life. During my childhood, I also followed the practised taught by my parents or by looking at them and learned within the community. Psychosocial changes in my childhood such as my emotions were highly influenced by my culture and family environment, and social interactions that can be observed when making a choice or decision, and reacting to a situation. I always preferred my parents’ decision when making a decision and prioritise our culture (Daneshfar & Moharami, 2018).

The biological development of a child depends on genetic conditions; however, influenced by the external environment; I have experienced that social development affects biological and psychological development; for example, we are associated with our culture and roots; however, my parents have been open-minded and provided me freedom and opportunity to learn that has contributed to both cognitive and physical development (Newman, 2018). According to Lai et al. (2018), a healthy environment motivates individuals to learn and improve self-independency which further improves cognitive and physical development. I have been given the opportunity to play with my friends, and I made friends from different cultures that allowed me to learn within a diverse environment. Despite the fact that I belong to the Asian culture I was had played and developed in a diverse environment which increased my knowledge and skills; for example, I have learned various activities and facts from Western culture (Polly et al., 2017).

Erickson also explained the role of biopsychosocial factors in the development process of a child. Erickson's forces on psychosocial development explained that socio-cultural factors influence psychological development during childhood (Maree, 2021). According to Erickson’s theory development occurs in several stages throughout the life span. Erickson provided 8 stage model, and the first four stages explain childhood development (Maree, 2021). The first stage of development is trust versus mistrust which is the period after birth and until a child turns 18 months; between this period children develop a sense of belonging and start to trust people; for example, they trust the family and parents as they feed them. Stage two of Erickson’s development model focuses on development between 2 to 3 years in which children start to make decisions which could be any small activity. I did not remember those things; however, learned from my family members that I used to open and close doors by myself when I was 3 years old. Ownership and making choices give a sense of autonomy while parents can contribute to their learning by educating them; for example, a child who wishes to open the door can be taught about the procedure and safety (Rogers, 2018).
The third stage of Erickson is the preschool age in which development occurs through exploration. In this stage, children receive opportunities to assess their power and abilities and learn to control them within a social environment while applying much power can result in rejection or disapproval and lead to developing a sense of guilt (Rogers, 2018). Slentz & Krogh (2017) also argue that children develop a sense of guilt by rejection and disapproval; for example, they are denied by elders after various attempts. Learning occurs in this situation as children start to understand that every decision or choice they make cannot be accepted; therefore, they need to be careful before making a move. Children also learn in this stage that every individual does not have the same perspective and their proposal may be denied based on their preferences. Similar situations have occurred to me many times that have improved my learning. I have been denied when asked to play outside the home during the night; it was unacceptable for me during the first attempt; my father told me that it is not safe to play at night. Thus, my parents and other family members have contributed to enhancing my learning during my childhood (Kerpelman & Pittman, 2018).

Development during childhood is shaped by social interaction and school has the most influence on a child’s learning after the family. This stage of learning is described by Erickson as industry versus inferiority that contributes to the development throughout life including adulthood. Erickson explained that social interaction allows individuals to learn and develop a sense of accomplishment based on their individual achievements. Children who achieve and succeed in this stage develop a sense of accomplishment which contribute to further learning while those with failure develop a sense of inferiority. Family can motivate and encourage the children to develop a sense of accomplishment. My family always supported me in my sports activities and they motivated me during my failures which allowed me to learn and make more efforts to accomplish my goals; therefore, I have achieved various rewards in sports during my school days (Kerpelman & Pittman, 2018).

The connection between social interaction and individuals’ development is explained by Bronfenbrenner who has developed the Ecological theory. According to this theoretical framework, human development is a complex process and influenced by multiple levels of surroundings, including family, school, living environment, society and culture. These levels of environments are microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem, which contribute in different ways to the learning and development of a child (Shelton, 2018). Bronfenbrenner explained that a child is surrounded by these ecosystems in which family and school provide major contributions and is categorised as a micro-ecosystem. In a micro-ecosystem, children learn from direct contact with environments, such as interaction with their families, friends, parents and teachers (Houston, 2017). According to Perron (2017), the interaction of children with the micro ecosystem including family and school friends is important for biopsychosocial development. Based on my own childhood experience, I can say that my thought, beliefs, and behaviour were the result of my interaction with the micro-ecosystem; I have learned many skills from my school friends and teachers, while my family environment key contributor which has allowed to me make choices (Tudge et al., 2021).

According to Bronfenbrenner mesosystem also play important role in the development of a child. He explained that a mesosystem is the interaction between various elements of a micro-ecosystem, and learning occurs when these factors interact; for example, parents and teachers are the two different elements in the micro-ecosystem who contribute to the development of children. During my school days, my siblings and school friends were on the same school trip where they have shared participated in various cultural activities, and I learned new tricks and games; therefore, the interaction between my siblings and school friends improved my learning (Hayes, O’Toole & Halpenny, 2017).

In conclusion, human development throughout the lifespan is a complex process that occurs in different stages; however, theories of human development can explain every step of biopsychosocial development. Human development influenced by social interaction, and family and culture play important roles in the entire process. My learning during childhood started with my family and expanded in school. The interaction between school and family environment also allowed me to improve my skills, while my culture has been a major contributor as cultural influences can be observed through my interaction with others, my behaviour, and beliefs.

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