If a child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and secure in the world. Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or rejecting contribute to feelings of mistrust in the children they care for. Failure to develop trust will result in fear and a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable.
Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
Like Freud, Erikson believed that toilet training was a vital part of this process. Erikson believe that learning to control one’s body functions leads to a feeling of control and a sense of independence. Children who successfully complete this stage feel secure and confident, while those who do not are left with a sense of inadequacy and self-doubt.
Industry vs. Inferiority
Children who are encouraged and commended by parents and teachers develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills. Those who receive little or no encouragement from parents, teachers, or peers will doubt their ability to be successful.
Identity vs. Confusion
Those who receive proper encouragement and reinforcement through personal exploration will emerge from this stage with a strong sense of self and a feeling of independence and control. Those who remain unsure of their beliefs and desires will insecure and confused about themselves and the future.
Intimacy vs. Isolation
Erikson believed it was vital that people develop close, committed relationships with other people. Those who are successful at this step will develop relationships that are committed and secure.
Remember that each step builds on skills learned in previous steps. Erikson believed that a strong sense of personal identity was important to developing intimate relationships. Studies have demonstrated that those with a poor sense of self tend to have less committed relationships and are more likely to suffer emotional isolation, loneliness, and depression.
Generativity vs. Stagnation
Those who are successful during...