The basic tasks which must be mastered at each stage of life if the individual is to achieve normal development and healthy adjustment. Failure to perform any of these tasks may hamper development in succeeding stages.The tasks group themselves around several poles: physical skills, intellectual advancement, emotional adjustment, social relationships, attitudes toward the self, attitudes toward reality, formation of standards and values. To meet these requirements successfully, the individual needs to develop not only constantly increasing competence and understanding, but a sense of responsibility, a realistic outlook, and a capacity for self-direction. Here is an outline of these “pathways to maturity” for each major stage in life, based on Havighurst (1951) and Erikson (1950):Age 0-6 (Infancy and Early Childhood). Learning to take solid foods, walk, talk, control elimination. Developing trust in one’s self and others, as well as respect for rules and authority. Exploring the immediate environment and developing skills through play. Learning to identify with one’s own sex and relate to parents, siblings, other children, and adults. Learning to control emotions and distinguish right from wrong. Acquiring simple concepts of time, space, and safety.Age 6-12 (Middle Childhood). Expanding knowledge and understanding of the physical and social world. Adopting a masculine or feminine role, and building attitudes of confidence and self-esteem. Developing conscience, a scale of values, and the ability to take responsibility. Acquiring academic skills, reasoning, judgment. Learning physical and social skills through group activities and by trying different hobbies and interests. Achieving increasing independence and self-reliance.Age 12-18 (Adolescence). Developing self-assurance and a sense of identity. Discovering and accepting personal limitations as well as strengths, and adjusting to bodily changes. Developing sexual interest and more mature relations with peers. Achieving emotional independence from parents, as well as social and ethical values that reach beyond the self. Exploring interests and abilities; deciding on an occupation. Preparing for marriage, parenthood, and participation in the wider world.Age 18—35 (Early Adulthood). Completing formal education and embarking on an occupation. Finding and learning to live with a mate. Developing a home, and providing for the material and emotional needs of children. Finding a congenial social group and participating in civic affairs. Developing a basic philosophy of life.Age 35-60 (Middle Age). Taking greater social responsibility. Developing a fuller life and helping one’s mate do the same—including adult leisure time activities pursued together as well as separately. Establishing a standard of living and building financial security for the remaining years. Helping one’s teenage children become effective and stable adults. Adjusting to aging parents, and accepting the physiological changes of middle age.Later Life. Adjusting to increasing physical limitations, reduced income, the loss of friends or spouse. Accepting retirement as a way of life, and finding adequate living arrangements. Affiliating with one’s own age group, and maintaining active interests beyond the self. Meeting social and civic obligations within one’s ability and circumstances.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "DEVELOPMENTAL TASKS," in, November 28, 2018, (accessed August 9, 2022).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here