To understand TRTP, we need to look at the Periods of Development. You see we are not born with where we are now including our values. So how do people develop these values? There are three periods of development as we grow where we develop those values.
Periods of development
Sociologist Morris Massey has described three major periods during which values are developed.
The Imprint Period
This is the period from when we were conceived up to the age of seven. We are like sponges, absorbing everything around us and accepting much of it as true. Our parents and carers play a big role during this time. The confusion and blind belief of this period can also lead to the early formation of trauma and other deep problems.
Developing and learning right from wrong, good and bad is the critical aspect of this period. This is a human construction which we nevertheless often assume would exist even if we were not here (which is an indication of how deeply imprinted it has become).
Many of the people who have emotional problems have negative experiences dating back to this period. In fact, so traumatised are some people, they have no memory of their early childhood. You see the unconscious mind is there to protect us mentally and emotionally. So, its way of protecting someone who has been traumatised during this earlier period, is to shut out that memory.
The Modeling Period
Between the ages of eight and thirteen, we copy people, often our parents, but also others. Rather than blind acceptance of their values, we are trying them on like a second skin, to see how it feels.
At this age, we may be impressed and influenced with religion or our teachers. You may recall being particularly influenced by junior school teachers who seemed so knowledgeable–maybe even more so than your parents.
This can be a difficult period where young people are questioning the wisdom and/or activities of their parents, their behaviour and even their relationship. For example, it is not unusual for a child to even question if they have been adopted.
The Socialisation Period
This is the period between the ages of 13 and 21. During this time we are largely influenced by our peers. As we develop as individuals and look for ways to get away from the earlier programming, we naturally turn to people who seem more like us. This can be a positive or negative experience quite often based on the previous two periods.
I often describe this period as being similar to a chick trying to scratch it way out of the shell to be free. Arguments are common especially with parents/carers. It is usually not because they believe in what they are saying, but just to be more like an adult and have that discussion or experience that strength.
Many parents find this extremely frustrating and can lead to conflict.
Two excellent books for any parents with teenagers are:-
Bitchface Princess by Michael Carr-Greig (for parents of girls) and
Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph (for boys).
Like to read more? Here is Part 2 of What is The Richards Trauma Process™
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