This stage is typically romanticized as a time for playful innocence. Adults believe that children should not be exposed to topics such as sex, death, alcohol, and violence. Adults therefore censor the films and language of young children and will not discuss certain topics or use certain words in their presence. To further protect children from exposure to taboo material, adults confine them to a specialized social world.
By the end of childhood, the elementary aspect of formal learning have been completed, and most children have developed enough maturity and self-esteem to cope with the routines of family, peer groups, and schools.
The period of childhood, roughly between birth and adolescence is not precisely the same for everyone. Ethnicity and class make a difference.
Adolescence serves as a bridge between childhood and adulthood. The cultural image of teenagers used to include physical grace and economic independence., the new image emphasized awkwardness, immaturity, and poor qualifications for entering the adult world. The insertion of adolescence into the life course provided an opportunity for more socialization but it is also created a tempestuous period of life: a jarring mixture of norms regarding freedom and subordination.
The period between the mid-twenties and the mid-sixties is reserved for adulthood. Because adult socialization builds heavily on primary socialization, the pace of learning becomes slower. Rather than being a time for new learning, adulthood is the time to put previous learning into practice. All the skills, talent, and education acquired earlier are applied at this stage.
During early adulthood-until about age 40-many of life’s initial tasks are achieved. For example, young adults loosen the bonds with their parents, redefine their lives around their own families, and assume responsibility for their own economic and social welfare.
The age between 25 to 35 are the period when women are most likely to leave the labor force to have children but those are the same years, in which men are acquiring key promotions, skills, and seniority that will ensure success in later adulthood.
During middle age, careers peak and the physical charms of youth, long taken for granted, now become problematic. This fact strikes especially those who internalized the standards of youthful beauty. Although the social expectations of adulthood can challenge even the strongest person, meeting the challenges successfully produces a profound sense of accomplishment.
At the beginning of adulthood, people emphasize new relationships and egoistic accomplishment. By middle age they begin emphasizing closeness and compassion in social relationships.
OLD AGE AND VERY OLD AGE
Elders must learn to be retirees rather than workers, to be grandparents rather than parents, and to give advice rather than to give orders. Patterns of personal interaction also must change as spouses long used to being apart during the day must adjust to being together most of the time. Although many people in this category begin to show the symptoms of physical and mental decline, many others remain vigorous and active. Very old age is the most rapidly growing segment of the life course.