In another nod to Node your homework.
The exercise – Choose a life changing event, and explain the psychological effects it will have on the middle adult, and other persons involved.
For this exercise I chose the subject of having an unmarried seventeen-year-old daughter that announces she is pregnant. This would be a traumatic event for anyone, but is a very serious thing for such a young girl. If you think about how this changes a person's lot in life, it is to me one of the biggest life altering changes one can have. Not only for the girl having the child, but also for the rest of the family.
The biological changes for the seventeen-year-old girl would be tremendous. First of all, there is going to be weight gain and the stomach will of course expand because of holding the baby as it grows. The girl will stop menstruating as well. While pregnant, the girl may be overweight or fat and people would notice it. It would be a very hard thing to go through. For the middle-aged adult, this situation could lead to possibly hypertension because of the stress. Also the stress can lead to heart disease, and perhaps could lead this middle aged adult to start drinking or smoking to relieve stress, causing more distress for his heart. This situation is a bad thing for the biological processes of both people.
Cognitively, this has a larger effect on the seventeen-year-old than on the middle adult. Once the girl realizes she is pregnant and not getting out of it, according to Piaget's formal operations, she will start thinking of all the alternative paths her life could have taken if this hadn't happened. This could be a very depressing thing for the girl to realize that many things she wanted to do in life are now ruled out. Also, being very self-conscious at this age will lead her to worry about her image and how others will think of her. She will probably try to hide it, at least for as long as she can, in order to avoid the comments by her peers. This pregnancy will definitely enhance the presence of the imaginary audience, making it seem as if everyone is staring at them and the bulge that is their child. By this time, some of the invincibility fable must have faded, because something they thought wouldn't happen to them has happened to them. Also, according to Kohlberg, the reasoning leading up to pregnancy seems to have been about level three, meeting the expectations of important people, namely, her boyfriend. For the middle-aged adult, the cognitive effects do not seem to be as intense. Due to more life experience, the adult will be able to reflect on his life in that age span, and try to relate to his daughter. He will have lots of crystallized intelligence, being able to give her plenty of advice, and word it in a way that she will understand and respect. In my opinion, the middle adult will handle this situation better cognitively than the adolescent.
The part of both individuals affected the most is the psychosocial aspect. For the seventeen-year-old, this is greatly affected. According to Erickson, this is the time in life where there is identity achievement vs. identity diffusion. This event of getting pregnant will lead to lots of identity diffusion, and will perhaps destroy any hopes of a vocational goal, because the girl will have to now care for the child. Also, perhaps she has violated her ideology or value system by doing this. Also, this event could lead to possible contemplation of suicide because of a seeming helplessness, which could be enhanced if the middle-aged adult does not do anything to help. For the middle-aged adult, this is also a critical part in his life. He is going to have to reassess the relationship he has with his daughter, maybe trying to get closer to her now. Also, he will have to restructure his own self-concept with the fact that he is going to be a grandparent soon. And that he is the father of a daughter having an illegitimate child. Also, according to Carl Jung, this guy will become more in touch with his female side and become more sensitive, which can lead to better conversations with his daughter and more understanding. This event can definitely lead to a mid-life crisis. He will have to modify his dream because he has to now care for this newborn child, and provide for his daughter. He is going to question where he went wrong, where he had failed as a parent. This could be a very traumatic time in his life. This will definitely also cause a variation in the family structure, and cause the middle aged adult to realize that in order to support this new life, he will have to continue working, so he can just forget about retiring.
This situation would be my own worst nightmare, and that is the reason I chose it. Just think, the girls actions could lead to disgrace upon the family, and cause people to think of her as a morally loose individual. It would also bring a huge burden upon the parent. Things that the parent would not want to have to deal with if they had a choice. Also, you can't kick out the girl, because she is a minor and needs help. There really isn't much you can do but grit your teeth and try to make the best of it. Most importantly, you'd have to try and help heal this daughter's shattered dreams and ego, and try to help her along in that respect. Try to help her achieve identity. This would be the hardest part, but one that is arguably the most important. This is a situation becoming more and more common today unfortunately, and not one that I would wish for anyone. However, because it is common, it should be addressed, and that’s why I'm glad I chose this exercise, to help me reflect on all of the changes both of the age groups would go through.
All credit of knowledge herein goes to lecture notes and my great psychology teacher.