Depending on the age, a person may move through different life stages. In the Western industrialized world, there are several life stages, including prenatal, infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. Each stage is associated with certain psychological tasks that are essential for an individual’s development. These transitional periods are times of crisis and opportunity. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with the changes that occur during these phases.
In the United States, for example, life stages tend to be quite similar. In a survey of emerging adults, most of the people in their late teens or early twenties said that they had higher expectations for themselves and for their children. In contrast, they indicated that they did not have high expectations, and that they were satisfied with the way their lives turned out. Moreover, these expectations lead to higher levels of experiences and achievements. Consequently, they are an important part of life’s trajectory.
As the human lifespan continues to grow, new stages emerge in the form of socially constructed stages. The first socially constructed stage is early childhood. This period encompasses the years from birth to age three, while the remaining phase is the years from four to eight. During this period, a child’s physical growth increases steadily, but the rate at which other parts of the body grow slows down. The brain and skull have grown to nearly adult size by the age of ten. These changes in the human lifespan occur over a life span, with each successive stage defining a distinct identity.