An Influenced Life

An Influenced Life
As people grow and develop in their lives, many factors influence their trajectories. These factors manifest themselves in many ways, but some are more prominent than others. I believe that every person, depending the factors that influenced them most strongly, would place more importance on some factors than others. In other words, my essay will be different than other classmates, because I was raised differently than most of them and different things had impacts on my development. Individuals also probably think some are more important factors than others, and these viewpoints depend solely on their lives and their development thus far. My personal view is that some of the most important factors that influence an individual’s development are their innate temperament, the parents they are born to, the consequent family role they possess, the anxiety they bear in life, and the relationships they make – both forced and by their own volition.

Although I believe these are some of the most important factors, they are by no means the only things that influence a persons’ development over time. Also worth noting is the fact that these all impact each other as well as singularly influencing an individual. When combined, many factors cause other factors and all influence a persons’ development trajectory. One of these influences is inborn, not decided by outside forces. Temperament is something every human is born with, and it is shown from the moment they start breathing. My sister and I, for example, have somewhat opposite temperaments. As a child I was very loud and loved to talk (which hasn’t changed), and my sister was much quieter and listened much better than I ever could. She was more patient from birth than I will ever be. This chasm between our personalities provides some definition for our life development. Her calm, quiet manner led to little misbehavior and consequent punishment.

My quick, sarcastic temper led to much conflict with parents and occasionally teachers, and required containment. This put me in a different trajectory than my sister, as she became easy to deal with, and easy to please. My parents had to take a different approach with me, as my temperament led me to be harder to discipline, please, and control. The temperament of any individual greatly influences a person’s future life development. It influences the way a person reacts and relates to other people, the way they act alone and in company, and their view on the world.

Parents are one of the influences I think most would agree impacts development most. Even people who had parents that were not present might agree that the absence itself influenced their life and development. The techniques parents use vary and are quite different from family to family, and occasionally even within families. Parenting impacts development and views of the world because they restrict or allow activities, and provide moral ideas and values in differing strengths, passing on much to their children. As we grow out of childhood, impressions of our parents from a young age remain with us and impact the way we live, act, and interpret others’ behaviors. The two spectrums for parenting styles measure how demanding a parent is, and how responsive a parent is. To me, these can make or break a child’s development.

If either is too low, the child will have problems later in life, but if either is too high, there will also be consequences. High responsiveness may produce a needy, incapable adult, while low responsiveness will result in anxiety about love, and mattering. High demanding parenting may result in a high-strung, over-achieving stressed adult, while low demanding will produce an adult with little motivation and drive. Clearly, parenting impacts development and, if possible, should be controlled in order to help children develop correctly and well. As parents begin to treat children differently due to temperament, and children learn more about their parenting styles, the kids in the family begin to learn their roles in the family. These roles can range from simply the “quiet one” to “loud one,” or from “instigator” to “peace-maker.” Some of the roles can make children feel guilty, unworthy, or bad about themselves, while others make children feel proud, confident, and pleased. These differences start at a young age and continue through their lives, even into adulthood.

This will also influence relationships and life plans, causing each person to have a different filter per say, which they view the world through. If an individual follows these family roles into adulthood, individuals follow whatever mold they were shaped into as a young person. This can obviously impact development in frightening ways. One can imagine a forty year-old still following his instilled role of a meek, rule-following, shy six year-old, or a twenty-one year-old still behaving as a reckless, authority defying teenager, but with much more damaging and dangerous rebellions. The types of anxiety that a person deals with on a frequent basis derive from many sources. These factors come from both developmental sources and environmental sources. While environmental sources are inevitable and cannot be avoided, like natural disasters and wars, the developmental sources can be somewhat traced to other developmental factors. If a person carries too much anxiety, they can then begin to develop harmful relationships and tendencies. Some anxieties that can hurt a persons’ development are worrying about trust, competence, and mattering.

All three of these concerns can come from the way an individual is treated and affected by people close to them, and society as a whole, along with some of the traits they were born with. These main three concerns make or break relationships, another developmental factor. However, they also impact the way we develop in all strains of life, especially cognitive development. If someone has anxiety about not mattering or being competent, and this anxiety is reinforced by their relationships, they may truly begin to believe these things. This will begin to impact their work and productivity, starting to truly render them incompetent. Relationships also play a large role in development over time. Of all the factors discussed, I think this may be one of the most obvious, but also one of the most influential. Depending on the individual someone is relating to, and the impacts other developmental factors have on them too, relationships are the dynamic culmination of influences on human development. Relationship models range from secure to insecure, and someone who forms insecure relationships is unlikely to trust anyone, and consequently bear even more anxiety than what led to the insecure relationship. I think relationships influence development because relationships give us friends, role models, and comfort. Relationships make life worth living, but if they are not healthy and secure relationships, the zeal for life may degrade.

There are many factors that impact development in many different ways. These influences can have physical, social, cognitive, and emotional consequences, and help us to become the adults we do in life. They eventually all do interrelate and combine to influence each other and our development in many ways. This being said, it is crucial to development to have consistent, good, controlled factors. Although temperament cannot be controlled, parenting styles, family roles, and relationships can be objectively considered and helped, in order to ensure proper development and a productive, competent adult. If every child had these factors controlled and watched, in order to help them develop the best they could, there would be much less anxiety, unhappiness, and idleness in our society.

What do you think?

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