Around the age of 7 or 8, the neocortex mind/brain becomes functional. The focus of the neocortex mind/brain, also known as the rational mind, is on physical and emotional security.
At this stage of development, the child is beginning to explore the world outside of the home. Whereas good parental and sibling relations were necessary to satisfy the child’s safety needs when the locus of its life was the parental home, relations with peers and authority figures such as teachers, now take on added importance.
Once a child enters a community outside the home it must take responsibility for its self-protection by belonging to a group, community or gang. This means building friendships, fitting in, and being respected by members of the group. Feeling respected enables us to establish a feeling of self-worth; feeling accepted and acknowledged, gives us a sense of belonging and security. The gifts, skills and talents that allow us to feel recognized become important to us. We focus on them because they are our passport to security.
What is important at this stage of development is exploring your talents and getting positive feedback and appreciation for your efforts. If your efforts are not appreciated by those who are important to you, particularly your parents and teachers, you will stop trying, and may begin to develop a low sense of self-esteem.
If you do not get the approval and feedback you need from your parents, you may seek out groups, gangs or communities where you feel accepted and valued; where your gifts, skills or talents are recognized.
Feeling physically and emotionally secure in your community—being respected and recognized by others—is an essential prerequisite for mastering the serving stage of development later in life.