Childhood Theorists

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Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory

Erik Erikson proposed a theory of psychosocial development. He believed development occurs throughout the life span. His theory provided new insights into the development of a healthy personality. It emphasises the social and emotional aspects of a Childs growth. Children’s personalities develop in response to their social environment. Erikson’s theory includes eight stages. At each stage, a social conflict or crisis occurs. These are not generally tragic situations; however, they require solutions that are satisfying both personally and socially. Erikson believed that each stage must be resolved before children can progress to the next stage. Therefore, teachers and parents play a powerful role in recognising each stage. By providing social opportunity and support, teachers and parents can help children overcome each crisis. Below are details of the first four stages of Erikson’s theory. These stages occur during the early childhood years.

Stage 1: Trust versus Mistrust
During the first eighteen months of their life, children learn to trust or mistrust their environment. To develop trust, they need to have warm, consistent, predictable, and attentive care. They need a care giverwho will read and respond to their signals. When babies are distressed, they need to be comforted. They also need loving physical contact, nourishment, cleanliness, and warmth. Then they will develop a sense of confidence and trust that the world is safe and dependable. Mistrust will occur if a child experiences the opposite of these. Stage 2: Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt

The second stage occurs between eighteen months and three years of age. During this Stage, toddlers use their new motor and intellectual skills. They want to be independent and do things for themselves. They are in the process of discovering their own bodies and practising their developing physical movement and language skills. The objective of this stage is to gain self-control...
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