Individuals go through numerous transformations in their lives, the most notable of which is the transition from childhood to adulthood. This is the stage at which an individual starts to investigate and comprehend both themselves and their surroundings. This stage has a significant impact on an individual’s personality, evaluating their overall actions and character. Childhood is also thought of as a time of youth with little obligations (Kail and John, 38). A child would not be able to take responsibility for their acts because of their inability to distinguish between good and evil, as well as their lack of experience. During adulthood, it is usually expected that individuals are more aware of themselves and environment. Hence, they bear the consequences of their deeds. This paper undertakes to explore the period of childhood to adulthood through analyzing the underlying differences and similarities.
In many countries the period of childhood begins at infancy to the age of 18- 21 years and adulthood begin there to the death. Even though during childhood, individuals experience tremendous physical development, adults also undergo physical development, especially during early adulthood. In both stages of development, individuals experience bodily and mental growth although in different dimensions. Also, in both stages, individuals have various needs ranging from basic needs, auxiliary and emotional needs. Every individual requires food and clothes, and emotional satisfaction irrespective of their stage of human development (Valentine, 38: Kail and John, 32). Although the auxiliary needs differ, children will need toys and other gadgets to play with; adults will need among other things, cars to satisfy their auxiliary needs.
In addition, both children and adults have and will need a family. Every individual has a family in which they can identify themselves with. This satisfies an individuals sense of belonging. Every individual needs a family not only to identify themselves with but also, to provide physical and emotional support in the course of life. It is the family that shape-up a persons character and behaviors in both childhood and adulthood, especially during the early adulthood. Lastly, both children and adults interact with the environment which partly influences their personality. Interaction with the environment enhances an individuals knowledge and their understanding as well as neighbors (Valentine, 43).
Although persons in both stages of development undergo cognitive development, they have different cognitive abilities. One cannot assign similar tasks to children and adults. Adults have more developed mental abilities which enable them to communicate effectively and think critically. Hence they can be trusted in performing tasks that require the ability to think and reason. Children can only undertake lighten tasks with the guidance of an adult due to their limited mental capacity. Secondly, during adulthood individuals are able to align their concentration. Adults are able to learn and engage in a constructive conservation because they can remain focus without distraction from minor events. Children are easily distracted by anything thereby losing their focus and concentration effortlessly (Kail and John, 42).
Even though in both childhood and adulthood, individuals experience social development, it is more pronounced in adults. Adults can easily form social bonds since they can clearly acknowledge their social needs and responsibilities more than children. Adults can easily form a long-term friendship through their enhanced mental capacities. Whereas children make friends, mostly it is not long-term friendship because it is meant to serve a certain need at that specific moment. Life experience is another distinctive factor in both stages of development. Children are less inexperienced about life because they are mostly not aware of themselves and their surroundings (Kail and John, 50). They easily forget everything they encounter in their daily lives. For adults, every occurrence bears a life lesson which accumulates to life experience. It is this experience that informs their decisions in various circumstances.
During childhood, children are regarded as innocent and are exempted from taking responsibilities for their actions. It is assumed that they do everything out of innocence. However, in adulthood individuals are expected to take responsibility for their acts. Every action has an element of consequence. As such, adults have a responsibility for every action because their mental capacities are well-developed to understand and distinguish good and bad. Lastly, responsibility comes with freedom. Adults have a greater degree of freedom since they have more responsibilities than children. Whereas children cannot do certain things or go to some places without the consent of their parents or guardians, adults can go out to see their friends without permission of parents (Valentine, 50). They can make their independent decisions.
In conclusion, various stages of human development have different experiences and challenges. Even though childhood and adulthood possess definite differences, they are not that sharp. Every individual has their own experience of being a child as well as being an adult (Kail and John, 34). Depending on their individual experiences, they can define those stages differently. However, the above discussion explores key differences and similarities encountered in childhood and adulthood. These differences and similarities are not only shaped by the mental and physical development but also by the interaction with the environment.
Kail, Robert V., and John C. Cavanaugh. Human development: A life-span view. Cengage Learning, 2015: 34-68
Valentine, Gill. “Boundary crossings: transitions from childhood to adulthood.” Children’s Geographies 1.1 (2003): 37-52.