Childhood And Adolescence
Early childhood is characterized by basic tasks such as learning to walk, to take solid food, and to control the elimination of body wastes. In addition, young children have to achieve more complex cognitive and social tasks, such as learning to talk, to form simple concepts of reality, and to relate emotionally to other people. In middle childhood, developmental tasks relate to the expansion of the individual's world outside of the home (e.g., getting along with age mates, learning skills for culturally valued games) and to the mental thrust into the world of adult concepts and communication (e.g., skills in writing, reading, and calculating). Achieving adolescent developmental tasks requires a person to develop personal independence and a philosophy of life. Adolescents are confronted, for example, with learning to achieve new forms of intimate relationships, preparing for an occupation, achieving emotional independence of parents, and developing a mature set of values and ethical principals. The peer group plays a major role in facilitating the achievement of adolescents' developmental tasks by providing a context in which some of these tasks can be accomplished.