Theories of child development describe childhood as a combination of continuous and discontinuous periods where children learn new skills and incorporate them into their growth identities (Berk, 2014). Erick Erikson’s psychodynamic theory argues that an adult identity development is a lifelong process made up of an exploration that starts during adolescence. People undergo eight stages of psychological conflict, and if the conflict were not resolved in each stage, psychological problems are thought to be inevitable later in life. Erikson’s theory presents four dimensions in the process of developing an identity: diffuse, foreclosed, moratorium and identity achieve (Berk, 2014).
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These processes in Kaczynski’s life could be considered as a state of rebellion where he drifts away from the ideals of his parents, from his personal view, and the ill society. Resultantly, he became a man of extreme violence. Unlike Kaczynski, Alice Walker successfully overcomes these eight stages by challenging poverty, disfigured eye, and racism to become a successful author and champion for equality.
Biological systems theory examines the factors that influence the development of children which include the microsystem (biological, family), mesosystem (interpersonal and peer experiences), exosystems (an extension of the ecosystem, neighborhood, social services), macrosystems (cultural context), and chronosystem (sociohistorical influences) (Bryans, Cornish, & McIntosh, 2009). The complex exosystem has produced extreme stress on Ted Kaczynski. He developed into a genius boy’s body that never fit with his peers. Racism in Mississippi was part of the macrosystem that impacted Alice Walker.
Berk, L. E. (2014). Exploring lifespan development (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education.
Bryans, A., Cornish, F., & McIntosh, J. (2009). The potential of ecological theory for building an integrated framework to develop the public health contribution of health visiting. Health and Social Care in the Community, 17(6), 564-572.