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Erick Erickson who is widely known for the psychosocial theory of development was a German-origin American psychologist. He modified the psychosexual development theory, which owes its origin to Sigmund Freud whereby he expanded the theory and focused on the fundamentals of individual life cycle. He proposed that the first four stages of development of children would have a greater impact on the later stages of the child (Shaffer, 2008). The theory unveils and examines critically the influence of parents and society on the personality development of an individual from childhood to adulthood. The theory takes in account the needs of children as they undergo the eight interconnected stages (Duane, 2005).
I will discuss the first four stages of development, which are entirely on the early stages of individual development. The first stage is basic trust versus mistrust. This is in the infancy stage, which is from birth to 18 months old. The main prominence of this stage is the physical contact of the parent to the child. The stage is extremely valuable as will determine the personality growth of the child in the next stage of life and parents should handle this stage with a lot of concern (Ryckman, 2007). The stage is crucial in that it deals with building the hope of the child. When parent nurtures a child by ensuring there, is regular physical contact the child will build up trust, self-assurance, hope, and will be more secure. On the other hand, when the child does not receive the trust or the physical care from the parent, he will develop mistrust, which will have detrimental effects on the future life of the child. The child will feel insecure, despair and will have mistrust on the world surrounding him (Shaffer, 2008).
The second stage, which is still at early childhood runs from 18 months to 3 years. This is a stage, which focuses on autonomy versus shame. In this stage, the child has developed trust and it is the time to have an opportunity to develop independence and self- esteem (Ryckman, 2007). A child learns how perform some tasks independently as well as building up the skills of differentiating right from wrong. The child, who received the right care from the parents or caretaker, will be proud and confident rather than being shameful in performing some tasks, or playing with other children. At this stage, the children can exhibit behaviors like displeasure, disobedience, outburst, and inflexibility. The children tend to be prone and at the time feel low self-esteem and shame when they fail to accomplish a certain task or even when unable to learn new skills (Duane, 2005).
The third stage is initiative versus guilt. This is at the preschool stage and it runs from 3 to 5 years. The children at this stage are exceptionally creative, and imitate what the adult are doing, it is a highly crucial stage, and they should be guided. The children experiment what the adults do so that they unravel the question, “WHY” things are the way they are. At this stage when the child fails to initiate a certain task, he will develop guilt. The child also wants to resolve the, “social role identification” this is where the girls identify themselves with feminine roles, and boys identify with masculine roles (Duane, 2005).
The fourth stage is the industry versus inferiority, which is at the school-going age, and is from 6 to 12 years. The stage is also referred to as the latency stage, and it deals with competence. The child at this stage is able to learn new skills, perform a number of tasks thus enabling the child to cultivate the logic of industry. This is a social stage where the child has to develop competence and self-esteem when interacting with peers. When the child does not develop the sense of industry, it will lead to problems of feeling inadequate and inferior thus affecting the later stages of life (Shaffer, 2008).