Eriksons Theory of Development

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Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development is based on the development of what is termed the ‘Ego Identity'. According to Erikson our ego identities are ever changing, partly due to the interactions in our daily lives, but mostly how those interactions are perceived by us as we mature and age. Erikson's Theory of psychosocial behavior can be easily understood using the table below. Each stage has a goal of competence and plays a role in the development of social and psychological skills.

0-1yrTrust vs. Mistrust
2-3Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
3-5Initiative vs. Guilt
6-11Industry vs. Inferiority
12-18Identity vs. Role Confusion
19-40Intimacy vs. Isolation
41-64Generativity vs. Stagnation
65 olderEgo Integrity vs. Despair

The first phase is critical as it occurs during infancy, a time of total dependence for the baby. The babe must have a stable a nurturing environment to live and gain a foundation for trust in others. There is a popular comic strip entitled Baby Blues written from the perspective of a baby (from birth to 5 yrs thus far) and her parents. Through humorous, satirical anecdotes and sketches we are able to sympathize with the baby trapped in the world of the overworked, underpaid parent who doesn't speak the same language.

The second stage lovingly referred to by most as the ‘terrible two's' is another critical turning point in psychosocial behavior. This is the age the pull-up commercials were made for right? Right. At this age the name of the game is "I can do it" even though everybody knows otherwise. There really is nothing terrible about this phase except for the parent who does not allow the child enough independence to develop the confidence essential for positive self image.

With the home front conquered the next phase introduces the child to the preschool arena where the confident child quickly sets about to determine her/his place in the outside world....
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