The human thoughts, behavior and the overall physical nature, have been described as an invincible part of the existence of humanity. The manner in which individuals and people conduct themselves within the society or in a specific community is best explained through the use of various psychological theories. The latter is a sociological part of a study that picks up one human trait and studies it in discrete detail. One classic example is the behavioral theory that is applied when attempting to explain and demonstrate new behaviors and tendencies within a given group of people.
The majority of these psychological theories are included within the learning curriculum since they tremendously contribute to the understanding and appreciation of the human behavior, existence and thought. This paper is a comprehensive and application essay that uses one personal issue faced by a family member and explains its repercussions using various psychological theories. The issue chosen for discussion in this essay is family separation and break up that was faced by one of my closest relatives.
At a very young and tender age, my relative faced numerous psychological and mental problems that were brought about by the separation of his parents. For the purposes of this essay, my relative shall assume the name Conrad so that his plight can be well understood. Conrad watched as his parent fought, tussled and physically abused each other on numerous occasions. The culmination of this strained relationship was an ugly separation where both spouses decided to go their separate ways.
My relative was forced to tag along with his father while his younger siblings whom were sisters went with their mother. After the separation, Conrad and his father settled in a different part of the city that was quite far from where they earlier resided. This meant that Conrad’s life was totally shattered and short-changed, as he had to begin anew on an entirely different locality. The life stage that this family problem or issue is taking place is within the young adolescent stage that is also identified as the role confusion or ego identity stage.
The Freud and Erikson psychological theories are in agreement that every crisis faced in life falls under one of the eight stages of development (Stagner and Moffitt, 2006). In this case, the role confusion stage is what characterized the problem faced by Conrad as his parents separated when he had just entered his teen years. Erikson affirms that this crises faced by individuals are regarded as being of a psychosocial nature because they always involve the psychological needs of the respective individual (Rathus and Longmuir, 2012). What’s more, their own physical needs tend to conflict with the immediate needs of the society.
The adolescent stage at which Conrad faced the psychological issue is well known to be the transition stage from childhood into adulthood. This is the crucial stage where any individual begins to learn how to become more independent as they learn various things in life, socialization, family and even future plans (Jones et al, 2014). In the case of my relative, this stage was highly affected after the separation of his parents. Erikson states that the adolescent and role confusion stage can make the teenager to feel uncomfortable in their own skin if they have faced one or two challenges within this period.
What’s more, the virtue of fidelity that is supposed to develop during this period fails to do so because the process of self-acceptance and appreciation lags behind significantly. Freud also affirms that this psychological issue can lead to an identity crisis where the individual begins to question their own lives and blame themselves for their own predicament (Karkouti et al, 2014). The psychological theories postulated by Freud and Erikson both concur with the fact that the successful completion of the adolescent stage is the key to a healthy and robust personality since all the basic virtues have been already acquired.
In addition, both scholars also state that these virtues are the strengths that can be used to solve any form of subsequent or identity crisis (Poston et al, 2012). In the case of my relative, these virtues were not well acquired and hence the poor development of his personality. The predicament and family issue faced by my relative can be explained using one of the cognitive, behavioural and other forms of psychological theories. The Erik Erikson theory of psychosocial development can be used to understand the plight faced by my close relative.
The Erikson theory focuses on how one can fathom the process of psychosocial development (Stagner and Moffitt, 2006). According to this theory, the personality of any individual develops slowly through the progression of one life stage to another. Therefore, if one of these stages is skipped or affected by a huge personal problem, then there is a direct negative impact on their resulting personality. Erikson’s theory directly applies to this situation as it describes the consequences that will follow one the social life of the affected individual and how it can spread to an entire lifespan.
Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development emphasizes that ego identity is one of the most important stages that occurs at one’s adolescence (Stagner and Moffitt, 2006). Ego identity refers to the consciousness of a person that normally develops through the process of social interaction. Erikson explains that the ego identity changes on a regular basis based on the experiences that a person goes through when they are interacting with other people (Poston et al, 2012). Therefore, if a person faces challenges within this developmental stage, then it directly affects their ego identity.
In the case of my relative Conrad, his ego identity was highly affected by the separation of his parents. This unforeseen problem affected his own, personality and skills of social interaction. A person who was previously jovial and related easily with his friends and peers suddenly retreated and began keeping to himself. My relative became an introvert and aloof as his faith in his parents and their relationship was highly broken. Moreover, this challenge and personal issue caused a lot of hindrance to the development of his self-identity.
Erikson states that values, ideals and beliefs are very important in shaping the identity and character of a person Jones et al, 2014). In fact, the formulation of this identity usually begins in the childhood stage, but it gains heightened importance during adolescence. Hence, this shows that the process of acquiring ego identity is actually a continuous process in the life of an individual. Erikson also affirms that it is this personal identity that is responsible for giving people their cohesive and integrated sense of self that continues to endure and grow as people age (Karkouti et al, 2014).
The process of developing personal and ego identity of my relative was affected by the separation of his parents. As stated by Erikson, serious challenges that a person faces in their stage of development can directly affect their personality and social interaction skills (Poston et al, 2012). In fact, Conrad found it difficult to interact with others in school or in his immediate neighbourhood. The effects of his parent’s separation reduced his self-confidence such that his personality was not well developed.
The stage of adolescence is very important to any person and because my relative faced a major issue at this stage, it directly made him feel inadequate and inferior. These facts are supported by Erikson’s theory, which states that individuals who receive the right encouragement through this stage are able to conquer and develop confidence in themselves (Stagner and Moffitt, 2006). For Conrad, his parents were absent in training him on the values and give him guidance required to become an independent person.
Despite the fact that he went ahead to live with his father, his mother’s training on how to be well behaved and conduct him around others was conspicuously absent. Hence, his ego identity and psychosocial development were largely affected such that he could hardly socialize and interact easily with his peers. The problem of family separation coupled with divorce is highly rampant in most cities in Canada. In a survey that was conducted as late as last year, it was shown that at least 29% of Canadian citizens have reported that they have faced family separation and divorce from their parents.
Moreover, the statistics also showed that the average marriage in Canada only lasted for ten years at most (Urquia et al, 2013). A further fifteen percent admitted that separated spouses who shared time among both of them to raise them independently were raising them. The statistics of family separation in Canada are also quite serious because 50% of the people who are married believe that their own unions will not survive to see their 30th marriage anniversary (Urquia et al, 2013).
In overall, at least seventy percent of the citizens who have faced or undergone family separation in Canada admit that they have not intentions of salvaging their marriage or even getting married for the second time. According to the family separation and divorce fact sheet in Canada, the number of separations and divorces as of the year 2013 were estimated to be approximately seventy thousand. Additionally, 45% of the first marriages in Canada were shown to be at risk of ending up in divorce (Urquia et al, 2013).
A further 16% of them were shown to have divorced more than once while the average marriage in Canada was shown to last for only ten years. Hence, my relative forms part of this saddening statistics that show the rate of family separation is rapidly increasing and is also a large contributor to psychosocial problems. The two agencies that can offer support to any person facing a similar predicament as that of Conrad would be the family court support worker program and the Alberta response program center (Karkouti et al, 2014).
Both of these agencies usually offer counselling, advice and support to people who have faced problems emanating from either divorce or separation from their families or spouses. Both of these agencies encourage people to share their problems with one another so that they can lighten their burden (Karkouti et al, 2014). Moreover, people facing similar predicaments and challenges find it easy to confide with others in a similar situation. Hence, these two support organizations are the most appropriate places to offer solace and encouragement to people undergoing turmoil caused by family separation.
The application of psychological theories in explaining human nature and behaviour is essential in understanding various concepts of life. The challenges faced by an ordinary person can be best understood through the incorporation of these theories. This paper has analyzed the issue of family separation on a close family member and how it closely relates to the psychological theories. The Eric Erikson psychosocial theory explains that the personality of an individual develops through a series of stages.
Hence, if one of these stages is marred with problems and challenges, it can hinder the resultant developmental process. This theory has been effectively incorporated into the family issue faced by my close relative and it explains why he faced numerous problems in his adolescent stage. Certainly, the best way to deal with such social issues is to seek the services of various counselling agencies that can offer care, support and guidance on how to deal with such stressful situations.