Stages are sequential and consecutive; that is, the person cannot skip a stage or avoid one.
They may, however, stall and never complete a stage.
Both Kohlberg and Fowler believed that many people never achieve the higher levels of moral and faith development.
Some people base their whole moral value set on fairness with themselves as the pivotal point.
One common example is seen at Christmas when people determine to spend the same amount of money on each gift without regard to need, appropriateness, or desire of the recipient.
In addition to complexity, this stage is far more difficult to define.
Some children don't enter it until at least 13 or maybe 14, while some are ready at 12.
On the other end of the spectrum, some are ready to begin entry into the adult world at 17, some not until 20 or even 21.
The teen years mark a more profound change than any of the other stages.
This is the beginning of the separation from the family and home.
In these years the individual achieves sexual maturity and the final stages of body growth and brain myelination.
At the end of this period he or she has moved from a gangly child to an adult.
The teenager is able to begin abstract thinking which marks the formal operations of Jean Piaget's stage development.
With full brain myelination the frontal lobe is now able to begin a higher level of thought not possible until now.
Logic and reason now begin to flower.
Conceptual ideas can be processed, but growth and maturity are challenging and risky.
Early in this period the teen is still securely nested in his or her family, but pressure in this period draws him or her toward the peer group.
Sports teams may a positive influence while gangs may be detrimental, but the peer group gains dominance over the family.
While it is appropriate for the teen to begin to loosen ties with the family, it is a dangerous time if this aspiring adult does not have a positive influence.
One way or another, the teenager wants to find a place to belong.
Lawrence Kohlberg wrote that the teenager's major task in this period is to establish a sense of personal identity in regard to occupation, sex roles, politics and religion.
This is a big goal for seven or eight years of the immature person's life.
In this period Kohlberg emphasizes the importance of mutual interpersonal relations.
The teenager must establish the way he or she will relate to other people.
James Fowler calls the stage of faith appropriate at this time synthetic-conventional faith.
In the beginning of this period, the teen is still in the family fold and by the end he or she has adopted the attitudes of outside influences.
Neither of these positions is arrived at on the basis of his or her own choices.
That position waits for the next stage.
With the multitude of difficult choices and struggles the teen faces and with the turmoil of hormones and new abilities he or she gains, this period is highly stressful for the teen and the parents.
The teen aged boy sees realities he never recognized before and believes his parents are blind.
The teen aged girl lives in romantic angst and assumes her parents never felt like this.
Suffering such distress is painful but necessary for maturity.