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Introduction To Human Development Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 1916 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Human development describes the growth of humans throughout the life span, from birth to death. The scientific study of human development seeks to understand and explain how and why people change throughout life. What are the factors impacting on the wellbeing of the human? This includes all aspects of human growth, including physical, emotional, intellectual, social and personal development. Gowning up in environmental that is not safe, it is hard to survive. In this essay I will identify and discuss my own life experience and refer it to two theories of human development. Before concluding I will also discuss how these theories can be applied to social service practice.

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My own life experience

I was born in Mogadishu the capital of Somalia. I have 5 sisters, I am in the middle three are older than and two is younger than me. I was born and grew up in an extended family including parents, grandparent, unties, uncles, cousins. We were lived in a villa house that was a family house. We were a middle class family where my father was the oldest among his brothers and sisters, his was a hardworking man and had very good job. My grandfather was working, and he was a mechanic he had his own garage. Some of uncles were working too and others were students. My mother was very nice person and she used to be home at all times to feed and take care of the children. We were a very happy family where my parents and grandparents worked together to bring the children up with love and affection.

When the civil war broke out in Somalia 1991 and the central military government collapsed while the country became a field for the rebels who overthrow the military government to fight each other for power.

Many families started leaving the country to save their lives leaving their house and other belongings behind. My family were not the first the people left the country, we remained inside our house because we thought that things will change and settle down would and the country will be a safe place to live. Unfortunately it kept getting worst, it was difficult for my family to be safe and survive because people were getting killed by rebels and due hunger because there was very little food and water. In 1994 my father was killed in the war and my grandfather decided to flee the country for the sake of our safety; we bagged up and left for the neighbouring Kenya. While we were on the way to Kenya there were a lot of strangers, who were caring guns, knives, and some other weapons. On the way to Kenya I witnessed dead bodies on the side of the road. At that time I was only 7 years old and I saw this massacre and I witnessed the people dying of hunger since I was 4 years old.

When we arrived to Kenya, we met some our relatives that left the civil war who were already there. They helped us in finding the accommodation. I went to a school for first time in Kenya where I learnt mainly Islam Religion education, Somalia, Mathematics, and English. While staying in Kenya my uncles did not find work there was no work to survive and the living conditions were not good. In 2000 we moved to Ethiopia in search of better life and work during time many of my extended family members died. In 200 I came to New Zealand with my sisters and other family members including my grandfather, we arrived in Lower Hutt, Wellington and I enrolled High School.


Abraham Maslow’s theory

Abraham Maslow developed the Hierarchy of Needs model in 1940-50’s USA, and the Hierarchy of Needs theory remains valid today for understanding human motivation, management training, and personal development. Each of us is motivated by needs. Our most basic needs are inborn, having evolved over tens of thousands of years. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs helps to explain how these needs motivate us all.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that we must satisfy each need in turn, starting with the first, which deals with the most obvious needs for survival itself. Only when the lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied we are concerned with the higher order needs of influence and personal development.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs –

1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.

3. Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.

4. Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.

5. Self-Actualization needs – realising personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

Relevance to my life experience

Accordingly to Abraham Maslow’s theory the first need is food, water and shelter, after the civil was broke, family started form the first step of the triangle by searching Biological and Physiological needs. The second need was to be safe form difficult situation and survive. My father died in the war which was a huge impact on the safety of the whole family. We had to look for a safe place when the civil war broke out in Somalia and everything was destroyed. We have been to different countries to search better life for example we have been to Kenya, Ethiopia and finally New Zealand to live.

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My family settled in New Zealand because our two initial needs were met and we started working towards the third need. My sisters got married in here except two who has not got married and our family started growing. The fourth need was met by getting in to job and managing our day to day needs and work at home. Last year my grandfather passed away, he was 72. He reached at the fifth and last step of the triangle by actualizing his own self, he has been to Haj and became a spiritual leader in the community and he worked for the betterment of the community.

Bronferbrenner’s Theory of Ecology

Urie Bronferbrenners presented the theory of ecology on human development. This theory be made up of five systems, Microsystem, Mesosystem, Exosystem, Macrosystem and Chronosystem. These five systems influence the individual’s growth and personality. Microsystem is where an individual lives; it includes parents, family and Whanau, peers, school and neighbourhood. Mesosystem explains about the relationship between Microsystem and the wider community, such as relation between family experience and school experience or church experience.  Exosystem explains about the influence of work and social environment and its impact on the family and personal values. Macrosystem is about the culture in which an individual lives and the choronosystem is about the patterning of events and transition over the life course and sociohistorical circumstances.

Relevance to my life experience

If I put myself in the centre of a series of concentric circles of influence, I can link the theory of ecology to my growth and development. I had my parents, my extended family and friends in my Microsystem circle where I learned to socialise. The structures of Somalian families are based on tradition values and beliefs where children are cared by the extended family and the eldest male is the head of the family. The influence of my Microsystem on my growth laid the foundation of my personality and behaviour. Mesosystem helped me to develop the sense of belongingness with the community and my culture, where I learned how to be culturally appropriate and respectful to the others in the community. Micro and Mesosystems are significant in the development of a child. During my childhood and growth the Choronsytem which overlapped the inner circles of influence, was very complex due to the struggle for the power and control. There was not government to keep people safe, the survival was the first priority for us. The sociohistorical circumstances of Somalia did not impact on me because I migrated to New Zealand and after my father passed away my grandfather continued passing on his beliefs in equality and human values in to my family and Somalian community. During my growth and development I internalised with my family and community and learned culturally appropriate activities and respectful relationship. This helped me to construct my personality and behaviour.

How the theories may be applied and integrated into social service practice.

Abraham Maslow’s five hierarchies need theories.

Maslow’s best known influence to Humanistic psychology is his Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy is often used to sum up the humanistic psychology faith system. The fundamental idea of his hierarchy is that everyone is born with specific essentials. If we do not meet those base needs, we are unable to survive and attention upward inside the hierarchy. In our social system and social services we need to identify the basic needs of the clients and once their initial needs are met than only it will be possible for a client to move to next step of the triangle. Once the need of shelter and food is met than a client can think of getting in to work-force or in relationship and care for his/her family and the children. We push further and further to excel in our careers, to expand our knowledge, and to constantly increase our self-esteem. After meeting all the needs we can be in a situation where we can help others to over-come their problems and feel satisfied by helping others.

Bronferbrenner’s Theory of Ecology

While working with client a social worker need to measure microsystem that including individual’s family, peers, school and neighbourhood “It is in the microsystem that the most direct interactions with social agents take place. . .” (45, Santrock). It is important to assess the social system of a client while assessing client’s situation. The circles of the ecology system impacts and influence the client and the client does not have any control over it. For example impact of a hard day at work place will impact on the home situation of a client. A child who did not have a good sleep last night due the party at home will be tired and behaving difficult at school. Therefore Bronferbrenner’s Theory of Ecology is used and integrated in social work practice to assess client’s situation and particular behaviours.


In this essay I have written about my own life experience, which I really had a lot of challenging, moving out my own country to find better life and secure. It took while I and my family to recovered the problems that we have witnessed happening to our own families. There are many theories of human development that explains how the growth of a child is impacted by their environment and circumstances. I have linked two Human Development theories Bronferbrenner’s Theory of Ecology and Abraham Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs. Every human is shaped by his/her circumstances and situation. It is important to use and implement theories of human development to assess the client’s situation by making sure their basic needs are met and how the overlapping circles of the ecology are impacting on the situation of the client.


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