The 5 Stages of Becoming an Adult

The other day someone mentioned Adult Developmental Theory. That was so interesting I had to look it up! Googling around, I found these 3 posts on it:

How to Be an Adult- Keegan’s Theory of Adult Development – Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

I am sure there are many more resources out there, but these 3 posts seem pretty good.

In a nutshell, the 5 stages are:

  • Stage 1 — Impulsive mind (early childhood)
  • Stage 2 — Imperial mind (adolescence, 6% of adult population)
  • Stage 3 — Socialized mind (58% of the adult population)
  • Stage 4 — Self-Authoring mind (35% of the adult population)
  • Stage 5 — Self-Transforming mind (1% of the adult population)

Source: Part 1: How to Be an Adult

Rather than repeating what is in Part 1 on the details of those stages, may I invite you now to visit that page, read the descriptions of the stages, and then come back? Pay particular attention to the “More Characteristics” section of each stage. Take a look and please return.

Now that you’re back – what stage are you in now? And how do you feel about that? After this insight, what emerges within you in terms of your own growth?

This evoked many thoughts, feelings, and memories of my own experiences in reaching adulthood. I can see the parallels in my path in separating finally from my parents, becoming my own person, and then being able to design my own path in life and in the universe. It was a journey of maturation that I walked, and I recalled the difficulties I faced, and without guidance nor insight which caused me anguish and a growing dissatisfaction with my life and my relationship with my parents. Once I was able to recognize its effects, I went through a process of much needed separation, which involved both myself and my parents who, unknowingly in their love and care for their children and with positive intentions, limited my growth as my own person and becoming an adult.

Just recently I have encountered a number of clients with cases of being bound to their parents’ opinions, upbringing, and seeking their love and approval in making any moves in their lives. While we acknowledge our experiences with our parents and how they shaped who we are today, sometimes they can also limit us or evoke unresolved feelings inside us which result in discomfort and frustration, among other feelings. Growing beyond the current state of the relationship and into something healthier can create a situation of greater comfort as well as freedom for the individual to truly express who they are, without the being bound to someone elses’ opinions, judgement, and approval.

This path can be walked alone, which is what I did (and a bunch of self-help audio tracks!). It could require help, which could mean a life coach, and dependent on the severity of the experiences, may also require a therapist. Certainly it will take work, time, and space – and some amount of emotional energy. When you envision yourself coming into your own, fully matured into an adult and on a path of your own choosing, what can you accomplish? Is such a journey worthwhile for you?