While reading the textbook, Erik Erikson’s psychological theories of development seemed interesting and stood out to us. Erik Erikson (1902-1994) was a psychosocial theorist that was a follower of Sigmond Freud (Berger, 2012). He acknowledged the significance of the unconscious mind and early childhood, as well as, furthered his studies and developed his own ideas. In the following paragraphs, we will describe Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development. The first stage that Erikson discussed was from the time period of birth to one year of age.
This stage is known as the Trust vs. Mistrust. In this stage, babies learn to trust others or develop mistrust due to the way they are cared for (Berger, 2012). Although they are young, children have the capability to determine the quality of the care they receive. If the parent is incapable of meeting the child’s basic needs and nourishment, the child will develop mistrust and later on in life could be affected by not having a close relationship with the parent.
For example, our friend that has recently had a baby has been reading up on how to give her child the best care possible.
This will help her child develop a sense of trust. The second stage of development is in the time period of one to three years old. This is known as the Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt stage. During this stage, children can become self- sufficient or fall behind in many skills. This will depend on whether or not the children doubt their own abilities or develop personal control (Cherry, 2010). As a parent, it is important to encourage the child to do little things on their own, such as feeding themselves (Berger, 2012).
Activities in which a child can develop a sense of self- sufficiency are toilet training, feeding, walking, exploring, talking, etc. The third stage of development is three to six years of age. This stage is known as the Initiative vs. Guilt stage. The book describes this stage as the child feeling either adventurous or guilty of doing adult like things (Berger, 2012). This stage could help a child build up their confidence. Children that are successful at this stage will become great leaders (Cherry, 2010).
On the other hand, children that have negative experiences during this stage can grow up and become indecisive and hesitant or feel guilty easily. For example, when I was little, I used to wear my mother’s heels and try putting on her makeup. One time, she caught me doing this and I felt guilty for using her things. This stage can determine whether a person is independent or not in adulthood. The fourth stage is from six to eleven years of age. This stage is known as the Industry vs. Inferiority stage. This stage is the period of time when a child starts school.
Children at this time need to cope with new social and academic demands. Children are capable of learning, creating, and accomplishing many new skills (Harder, 2012). Success leads to a feeling of confidence. On the other hand, failure may lead to being self conscious and insecure. For example, Billy has trouble reading out loud and has not developed his reading skills as well as the rest of his classmates in third grade. Billy’s teacher yells at him and makes him feel inferior. This feeling of inferiority can carry on throughout his life, making him feel as if he is an insignificant contribution to society.
The fifth stage is during the period of adolescence. This stage is known as Identity vs. Role Confusion. This stage is where adolescents try to figure out who they are and where they fit in society. Teens start to develop a sense of self and personal identity. They establish sexual, political, religious, and vocational identities or are confused by what their role is in life (Berger, 2012). A great example of this stage is high school, where everyone has their own group of friends and interests in common (athletes, drama club, math club, etc). The sixth stage is during adulthood.
This stage is known as Intimacy vs. Isolation. Erikson describes this stage as when young adults seek companionship and love, as well as sexual satisfaction; on the other hand, they can become isolated from others and fear rejection and disappointment (Harder, 2012). For example, Chad is a timid 20 year old that has had a crush on Amy for years but, has never asked her on a date due to the fear of rejection and embarrassment if she said “No. ” The seventh stage of development, like the sixth, is during adulthood. It is known as the Generativity vs. Stagnation stage.
Erikson described this stage as the middle-age stage when people tend to be occupied with creative and meaningful work and with issues of raising and teaching your family important life lessons (Harder, 2012). Also, this time can impact a person negatively if they struggle to find a meaning to their life. For example, Mary’s divorced mother is going through a mid-life crisis because Mary has left for college and she is trying to find new meaningful things to contribute her time to. The final stage of psychosocial development according to Erikson is during older adulthood. This stage is known as the Integrity vs.
Despair stage. During this stage, older adults try to make sense of their lives by seeing it as meaningful overall, or despairing over goals that they were never able to reach (Berger, 2012). For example, Rose a 75 year old woman looks back on her life and regrets not following her dreams and being an artist after college. As stated previously, Erik Erikson followed in the theories of Freud by believing that the unconscious and early childhood are crucial stages of life (Berger, 2012). In our opinion, Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development make sense and do contribute to an individual’s behavior and personality.
We agree with Erikson’s stages of development, rather than Freud’s stages because he does not put an exaggerated amount of emphasis on the psychosexual theories. Overall, Erik Erikson was a great psychologist and his eight stages of psychosocial development were a great contribution to the development of psychology.
Berger, K. S. (2012). The developing person: Through childhood and adolescence. (9 ed. ). New York, NY: Worth Publishers. Cherry, K. (2010). Erikson. Retrieved from http://psychology. about. com/od/psychosocialtheories/a/psychosocial. htm Harder, A. F. (2012). Support 4 change. Retrieved from
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