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Human Growth and Development: the Finkleys Family Case


The process of the human development is complex and intricate. Being affected by a range of factors, it requires the support of family members and needs to be encouraged actively as both a cognitive and a social change. In the case under analysis, the life of a woman named Carter Lee is considered closely. Due of the specifics of the interactions between her family members, particularly, the unceasing support that they provide for each other, Carter Lee managed to remain content with her life for most of her journey, contributing to the society and growing as a person.


Carter Lee was born on February 12, 2016, to a family of a navy seal and a registered nurse, both of her parents being in their forties when the baby arrived. The girl had three siblings, Carson (14), Malone (12), and Ariel (8), all of them being delighted to have a baby sister. Although several factors including the nature of her father’s job and the age of her parents, Carter Lee managed to pass all of the stages of her development successfully due to the use of therapy at a comparatively young age and the focus on family bonding.

The fact that the child was not planned has not affected Carter Lee’s development since the parents immediately accepted the mother’s pregnancy as an extraordinarily important and happy occurrence in their lives. However, the specified aspect of the family also affected Carter Lee’s ability to adjust and accommodate in a new environment easily, which would help her in her childhood and adult life extensively.

The age of the parents could also be seen as a factor that must have had a profound effect on carter Lee’s development. On the one hand, having reached their 40s and having three kids, the Finkleys acquired enough parenting experience by the time that Carter Lee was born to provide her with the support and care that she needed. On the other hand, the sage gap may have affected the development of the bond between Carter Lee and her parents as the child grew up, making the connection between her and her family rather loose.

Psychological Stages

Prenatal Development: The Genetic Pool

From the perspective of teratology, Carter Lee was exposed to an array of factors that defined her further well-being after her birth. Particularly, her mother was not subjected to any teratogens that may have impeded the development of the fetus, nor did Carter Lee’s gene pool incorporate any data that may have caused her to develop any abnormalities (“Boundless psychology,” n.d.).

The absence of maternal stress due to Mrs. Finkley’s understanding of the specifics of her husband’s job and the ability to handle changes and challenges also relieved Carter Lee from experiencing the negative outcomes of stress at the prenatal stage (“Boundless psychology,” n.d.). The family connection, including the development of the bond between Carter Lee’s siblings during the prenatal stage, also shaped the fast progress of the infant as Carter Lee was born.

The mother’s ability to fight the stress caused by the difficulties of raising three children, coping with the pregnancy, and supporting her husband can be seen as one of the crucial factors that allowed Carter Lee to be born as a completely healthy infant and prevent her from acquiring any developmental issues in the future. Furthermore, the fact that the mother abstained from any bad habits such as smoking or drinking during pregnancy helped the fetus to develop properly and avoid acquiring any abnormalities. Similarly, Mrs. Finkley was very wise to stay away from prescription drugs that would have affected her daughter’s development at the prenatal stage.

Infancy: Piaget’s Theory and Resiliency

Carter Lee was not a particularly noisy during her perambulatory stage. She interacted with the objects and people that surrounded her very actively by attracting attention with noises and trying to touch whatever she could reach. Particularly, she displayed the Moro several times, for instance, when hearing a particularly loud car sound through an open window. The specified phenomenon is quite common in infants at the early developmental stages and indicated Carter Lee’s need for protection (“Boundless psychology,” n.d.). With her mother constantly being around, the baby developed the sense of security that allowed her to acquire new cognitive skills rather rapidly and learn impressive cognitive skills.

After passing the sensomonitor stage, Carter lee entered the preoperational one, during which her mother assisted her actively in acquiring new vocabulary and learning more about the physical world that surrounded her. For instance, the mother used pictures in books stacking and building toys, and interactive toys that rewarded the baby’s actions in order to encourage Carter Lee to learn new information and acquire cognitive abilities actively. Similarly, pop-up books with audio soundtracks allowed the child to expand her basic thinking abilities. As a result, she developed the idea of constancy in accordance to Piaget’s theory of development and became ready to transfer to the next step of her sociocognitive and emotional progress.

In retrospect, the frequent change of location, to which The Finkleys were subjected due to the father’s job specifics could have affected the child negatively. However, due to the careful strategy used by the mother, Carter Lee developed resilience as opposed to stress and uncertainty. Being provided with a plethora of attention and care, at the same time being given a chance to develop independence, the child became resilient.

Adolescence: Piaget’s Theory

After passing the concrete operational stage, during which she acquired a substantial amount of critical thinking and creativity due to her family’s approach toward learning, Carter Lee transferred to the formal operational stage, gaining the ability to think abstractly. The puberty stage also occurred rather naturally in Carter Lee. She Apart from undergoing the physical changes associated with the transition from being a child to being a teenager, she also acquired new behaviors due to psychological changes. Particularly, Carter Lee started showing the propensity toward greater independence in decision-making and began challenging the family hierarchy. Roughly at the same time, she started growing increasingly.

However, despite the stereotypes associated with the difficulty of the specified period of development, Carter Lee managed to avoid critical conflicts with the family. For instance, despite frequent mood swings, which are typical for children experiencing puberty, she handled the alterations in her attitudes rather calmly. The observed behavior can be explained by the support that her family gave her, as well as the ability to build strong resilience toward negative factors (Masten, 2015). Having a profound understanding of the needs that teenage girls may have at the specified time period, her parents helped Carter Lee acknowledge and experience her emotions. Similarly, her siblings provided her with the emotional support that she needed by telling about the way in which they handled the problems of puberty.

Carter Lee also demonstrated the development of resilience when having to deal with the specified difficulties while the family moved from one area to another due to the requirements set by Mr. Finkley’s job. Particularly, she managed to adjust to rapidly changing settings, acculturating to the new environment and finding new friends quite easily, which shows that she maintained her resilience skills (Lewis, Ecclestone, & Lund, 2015). Having developed the skills of multicultural communication, Carter Lee demonstrated strong resilience toward the specified changes.

The specified alterations align with the concept of adolescence as defined by Piaget. The shift in a child’s cognitive perspective occurring due to the hormonal release and the focus on adapting toward the outside world (“Boundless psychology,” n.d.). In hindsight, the family could have encouraged the development of carter Lee’s independence to a greater extent, yet the support and care that they age her was also crucial in this formative period of her transition from being a child to becoming a teenager.

Early and Middle Adulthood: Erikson’s Theory and Resiliency

When considering the changes that occurred in Carter Lee’s life after she transferred from being a teenager to her adulthood, one should consider switching from Piaget’s theory of development to the one of Erikson. While the former serves its purpose in introducing the essential stages of a child’s evolution, the latter sheds light on the crucial changes in the life of an adult.

At the specified point in her life, she experienced the need for developing close relationships and the fear of failing to do so, thus lingering between intimacy and isolation as outlined in Erikson’s theoretical framework (“Boundless psychology,” n.d.). Carter Lee decided to focus on both her educational opportunities and her personal life, exploring the options associated with college and at the same time becoming involved in romantic relationships with a young man.

As Carter Lee grew older, she became more resilient and learned to analyze her feelings, as well as allow herself to develop an attachment to the people that she deemed as important in her life. The identified alteration in her behaviors can be seen as the development of resilience as explained by Erikson (Popham & Hess, 2017). Particularly, the observed change signifies that Carter Lee became mature enough to commit to serious relationships (Wernher & Lipsky, 2015). Furthermore, the identified phenomenon indicated that she could engage in self-analysis and build the skills required for addressing psychological challenges of communication.

Late Adulthood: Erikson’s Theory

As Carter Lee matured, her tendency to approach her life from a well thought-out perspective of sensibility only grew greater. While the specified behavior is typical for older adults, the inclination to rationalize every step was rather unusual for a teenager and a young adult. However, as she entered the stage of late adulthood, Carter realized that she had lived a fulfilling life and thus developed a philosophical approach toward her age.

For instance, despite the increasingly high levels of ageism, which could be observed within the global society at the time, she was never ashamed of her identity. Instead, she focused on enjoying her life and started being more selective in her activities. The specified behavior is quite typical for people that have reached a rather mature age, as the Socioemotional Selectivity Theory (SST) created by Carstensen (“Boundless psychology,” n.d.) explains.

Due to the reevaluation of one’s life priorities, an aging adult typically prefers being more thoughtful in their choice of activities and issues on which they focus (“Boundless psychology,” n.d.). Therefore, the behavior that Carter Lee had at the given point in her life can be rationalized rather easily. From Erikson’s perspective, the specified change in people’s attitude toward life, in general, includes suffering through a crisis of integrity and despair (“Boundless psychology,” n.d.). The specified alterations in people’s approach to viewing their personality and building relationships with others show that there is the necessity to maintain communication at the stage of late adulthood to void further issues associated with managing priorities.

Carter Lee lived a fulfilling life and died at the age of 82 because of a heart disease. She was a very unique character who attained significant success in her life because of her upbringing and the ability to use the available opportunities responsively. Carter Lee could be characterized by a very strong sense of responsibility and the ability to analyze the environment around her accurately, thus producing wise and sensible conclusions about it. She may not have made a difference on the global scale, yet she had a profound understanding of ethics and the needs of others, thus making the society a better place.


Carter Lee’s life has shown that the focus on family bonding and the active enhancement of communication between family members leads to the successful management of emotional and cognitive changes occurring in one’s personality due to the process of growing up.

As a child, Carter Lee established a very strong emotional bond with her family members, which led to the creation of the environment in which she could feel secure when exploring her nature and personality. Consequently, Carter Lee could manage the hardships of growing up in a constructive and objective manner, learning new skills and adopting flexible behaviors whenever required. Therefore, the case in question points to the necessity of understanding the key stages of an individuals’ development and providing the setting for their continuous and successful growth.


Boundless psychology. (n.d.). Web.

Lewis, L., Ecclestone, K., & Lund, P. (2015). Can a rules-based model illuminate resilience mechanisms? Pedagogy in Practice, 1(2), 36-65.

Masten, A. S. (2014). Global perspectives on resilience in children and youth. Child Development, 85(1), 6-20.

Popham, L. E., & Hess, T. M. (2017). Age stereotyping and views of aging, theories of. In N. A. Pachana (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Geropsychology (pp. 105-112). Singapore: Springer.

Wernher, I., & Lipsky, M. S. (2015). Psychological theories of aging. Disease-a-Month, 61(11), 480-488.

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