Personal Developmental Trajectory

Personal Developmental Trajectory

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT TRAJECTORY (Powerpoint texts & accompanying notes)

The Big Picture

The learner is currently in Erik Erikson's sixth stage of psychosocial development -- intimacy vs. isolation -- when she has a clear sense of self and is therefore starting to enjoy the satisfaction of having deep, intimate relationships. For instance, her marriage is considerably happy and strong. She has healthy working relationships and adequate support groups. Within the next ten years, she expects to remain in this stage of psycho-social development . She projects continuity not only in her stable marriage and relationships but also in her fulfilling career as a teacher. Driven by desire to master her craft, she plans to pursue graduate studies and eventually shift from teaching to school counseling. On top of these, she also plans to start a family with her husband. In the succeeding slides, she describes the possible effects of these major changes -- in the context of environment, gender, and culture/ethnicity -- to her personal relationships, communication style, and career effectiveness.

Personal Relationships

The learner foresees significant milestones to occur with respect to personal relationships within the next ten years of her life. If and when motherhood comes, the learner's relationship with her husband will inevitably be challenged. For the couple, the first year post-partum would be characterized by major adjustments to having a new member in the family who is fully dependent on them for virtually all of his needs. The husband-wife relationship takes a new turn as there is now an additional mother-infant and father-infant relationship feeding in. The couple might use different dynamics to balance these relationships. The early family relationship is expected to be disorganized in the beginning but gradually become more coherent and integrated as time goes by (Bell, et al., 2007, Abstract). Without doubt, having children can potentially decrease the amount of time that a couple spends with each other. The challenge therefore is to think of new ways to be together if continuity in marriage satisfaction is desired. For instance, the couple might set aside one night every couple of weeks as a "date night." A hired babysitter or a family member or in-law can be called in to make this possible.

The transition to parenthood is a critical moment in terms of gender gap/differences between husband and wife. For one, the mother is traditionally the primary carer of the child and hence spends more time caring for the baby than the father does. Second, studies show that during transition to first order births, women significantly increase the amount of time they spend on routine household labor whereas mens' housework time during the same period is extraordinarily stable. Hence, as a woman, the learner can expect to have decreased time for personal activities she previously enjoyed before. This could mean less time with friends, colleagues, etc., temporarily affecting her relationship with these individuals.

On the other hand, the transition to motherhood can potentially strengthen the learner's relationship with family members (e.g. A parent or sister), in-laws or close friends, if they are called in occasionally to ease the burden of child care. When this happens on a regular basis, the learner will have to adjust to the increased presence of other people at her house and be prepared to allow people in, house tidy or not.

From a long-term perspective, the learner and her husband might consider moving to a more spacious apartment or house to make room for their growing family. Eventually, this will mean adjustments…