A Summary of the Stages of Child Development by Erik Erikson

Erikson had a view of the personality within the psychosocial stages of development. He downplays a biological sexuality in favor of the psychosocial features of the conflict between child and parents. Since development extends throughout the life span and is divided into periods or stages, the amount of conflict in each stage determines whether the positive or negative pole is learned The first stage is the infant stage, which is considered from birth to one year. Here the child goes through a trust vs.

mistrust crisis. Because the infant is so dependent on his mother, it is important for him to feel secure and trusting toward her. The goal is gain faith and trust in the mother, this is done through the act of hope. Here it is important for the mother to be consistent and continuous in her actions; a baby needs familiarity. This will help the infant feel safe and secure and begin to trust the mother. If the child does not gain this trust and leans more toward the mistrust side, the child will begin to become withdrawn and will detach from others.

Early childhood is the next stage, which is considered from ages two to three. The crisis faced in this stage is autonomy vs. shame and doubt. The goal is to achieve a degree of autonomy while minimizing the amounts of shame and guilt.

The parents need to allow the child to explore so he will gain a sense of independence; a good sense of balance between being firm and being tolerant is what is needed at this stage.

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Through strong will and determination, the child will gain this autonomous way. A little shame and guilt is beneficial to the child. Otherwise, an impulsivity and/or compulsion is created. Erikson used the term impulsivity to mean a sort of shameless willfulness that would later lead to doing things without consideration of abilities. Compulsiveness is when perfection comes into play. When a child feels he has to do everything perfectly, it becomes unhealthy because he does not allow for mistakes. The positive balance between autonomy and shame and doubt creates willpower. Willpower is the determination that forms. The third stage is the three to five year age. Here the child struggles between initiative and guilt. Here is where the child experiments with different roles. Hopefully, they will identify with the proper role models at this time and they do this all through purpose and courage. They tend to go toward all different people within the family. If this role experimentation is not done accordingly, there will become an imbalance. This is where ruthlessness comes about. Erikson calls too much initiative and too little guilt ruthlessness. The imbalance of ideas creates a desire to do go toward their goals, and do whatever they have to do in order to achieve their goals no matter what. However, a good balance leads to purpose. Purpose is something many people strive for. It allows for a limitation to be set in order to attain goals set before an individual, as well as allows past failings to play a part in the thinking process. The fourth stage is from ages six to eleven. Here is where the struggle between industry and inferiority is present. At this stage, school is a big part of their lives. Their strength is the competence that is shown in most things. They learn right and wrong at this stage. It is important that the child is allowed to gain a lot of success in order to steer away from the inferiority issue.

Without a balance, it leads to maladaptive tendency. Too much industry leads to narrow virtuosity. This occurs when a child is not allowed to be a child and kids without a life. On the other hand, inertia can evolve as well. This would include all those who suffer from the inferiority complexes. The fifth stage is ages twelve to eighteen. This is the adolescent stage and here is where the conflict is between ego-identity and role-confusion. Here is where the adolescent wants to explore the world and see what they want in life, they want to become adults, and they want to leave the childhood stages behind. The relati This is where parents usually have the most problems with their children. Children want to do their own thing at this age and do not want to be told what to do. They want to explore and see things on their own without being told what to do and how to do it. The two maladaptive tendencies at this stage are fanaticism and repudiation. Fanaticism is when a person believes his way is the only way; this is the most popular problem to deal with at this age. In addition, repudiation can be a problem as well. Repudiation is a lack of identity, which can cause problems because the child will then go toward peer groups or anyone that will give them an identity of some sort such as cults, militaristic groups, hatred groups, etc. Stage six is the young adult stage; it is where the struggle is between intimacy and isolation. The main relationship is between partners and friends. At this point in development, love is the driving force behind it all. Now the fear of commitment in this intimacy comes about; however, a desire for mutually satisfying relationships is prevalent. The maladaptive tendencies at this stage are promiscuity and exclusivity.

Promiscuity refers to the tendency to become intimate too freely, too easily, and without depth to your intimacy. Exclusivity refers to the isolation of oneself from love, friendship, and community, and to develop a certain hateful attitude in compensation for one’s loneliness. Stage seven is where the crisis of generativity vs. stagnation occurs. This is the middle adult stage. The main relationship here is with those living in the household and those who the person works with. Generativity is an extension of love into the future; it is less selfish than that of the intimacy stage. Stagnation is self-absorption; at this time, the individual cares for no one. It is important to have a good balance between these two factors. If not, then overextension and rejectivity comes about. Overextension is the stagnation that comes about; this is where people are so generative that they have no time for themselves. Rejectivity is where too little generativity is shown; this is where people are no longer participating in or contributing to society. Either way, it is important to keep a balance so that neither of these maladaptations takes place. Stage eight is the late adulthood stage; here is where the struggle is between ego integrity and despair takes place. The relationships are with mankind. The task at hand is to develop ego integrity with a minimal amount of despair. This stage seems to be more difficult than all the other stages. There needs to be a detachment from society, from a sense of usefulness, for most people in our culture.

Then comes a biological uselessness because the body is not the same as it used to be. The strength here is wisdom. One thing that can go wrong at this stage is presumption. Presumption is what happens when presumes ego integrity without actually facing the difficulties of old age. Another maladaptive tendency at this stage is disdain. Disdain is when one feels that life was not worth it, where one begins to feel unworthy. Erikson had a great view here. The way he showed the development of personality and the changes within each stage was ingenious. The struggles within each stage are what allowed the personality to develop and as we have seen, at each stage there is a tendency to take one of two paths. This is what allows for the many personalities within the world today.onships most obvious are peer groups and role models.

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A Summary of the Stages of Child Development by Erik Erikson. (2022, Sep 28). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-summary-of-the-stages-of-child-development-by-erik-erikson/

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