Basic Characteristics of Life Development Stages Infancy
Infants live in the present in a bonded state of absolute dependence with mother as the provider of all needs. The infant’s relationship to its mother will change rapidly as the infant develops mobility, but the mother’s relationship as nurturer to the infant will not. The fundamentals of taste in music, clothing, partners, and personal concepts such as what is attractive or sexy are set here. However, just as your personal identity is emerging you take on other social identities: employee, spouse, and/or parent. The value in learning tilts from Experience to Utility. This is a nuanced, experienced, and edited version of the individual at 23. Depending on the degree of change necessary to bring the mature self into alignment, this process can be dramatic or simple. The final shakeout will fall back to more nuanced preferences confirmed at 23. This stage marks the beginning of a search for meaning. A renewed interest in religion of youth or popular philosophy or spirituality is common. Value is found in experiences such as non-utilitarian learning, travel, and personal development. As in childhood, goods are valued for their Affiliation. Childhood
Children are experiential learning machines, gathering and manipulating data until all possibilities are exhausted, then moving on (play.) The nature of play limits long-term brand loyalty. Children look to role models to validate discoveries. Value in consumer goods lies in Affiliation. The learning stage of a long period of conflict and resolution between the individual and overlaying social identities. Shared meals emerge as an important social collaboration for gauging relationships. Value of consumer goods lies in Validation of rapidly evolving social mobility. The learning stage of the maturity period. Products and practices that do not fit are dropped. There is a new openness to new alliances and ideas compatible with examined and refined values. Consistency and reliability are high priority values. The learning stage of the resolution period. Practices and products that do not meet the new standards of core value for cost (money or spiritual) are dropped. Brand loyalty for valued products is fixed unless the product changes or cost increases negate value. Preadolescence
The first nostalgia age as children look to establish lifelong values. Preadolescents work to strike a balance between present and future states, actively seeking new role models while finding security and investing value in the icons of childhood. As life gets more complex, imbalances come to the fore. This period marks the second nostalgia age as icons of childhood reemerge as symbols of value. The core values of nostalgia are reliability, consistency, and security. The third nostalgia age as we reflect on life’s path. A period of fine-tuning of alliances and practices. The editing-out process is rapid. As social mobility slows, acquisition of goods also slows. Value is found by a return to a nuanced version of the childhood play stage of Experience. The final fine-tuning period of stripping away what doesn’t work and valuing what does. A sense of freedom not experienced since childhood drives us to explore for intrinsic motivation alone. Nostalgia is commonly expressed in unfavorable comparison the present to the past. Adolescence
The emergent identity is driven to sever the dependent relationship with the parent. Validation shifts from parent to peer group. Self-testing and the “trying on” of mediated identities drives both the consumer good and experience markets. A time of identity-driven separation similar to the adolescent stage. A period of reexamination of the web of relationships that comprise the social whole, with a rejection of those that do not fit the individual identity. A third period of reexamination of identity based on the realization that you are now most likely operating at maximum capability in all areas of your life. Value is placed on understanding and security. De-accessioning consumer goods begins. A period of confirmation of identity and an acceptance that some things are beyond your control. Intrinsic reward is high value: learning, continuity (sharing experiences with grandchildren), self-actualization, etc.