Lifespan Psychology

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Lifespan Psychology
Developmental TheoryKey ProponentStages/ Phases
PsychosexualFreudOral Stage :
This occurs from birth to about 1 year. During this stage, the infant's primary source of interaction occurs through the mouth, so the rooting and sucking reflex is especially important. The mouth is vital for eating, and the infant derives pleasure from oral stimulation through gratifying activities such as tasting and sucking. As a result of the infant being entirely dependent upon caretakers, who are responsible for feeding the child, the infant also develops a sense of trust and comfort through this oral stimulation. The primary conflict at this stage is the weaning process, the child must become less dependent upon caretakers. If fixation occurs at this stage, Freud believed the individual would have issues with dependency or aggression. Oral fixation can result in problems with drinking, eating, smoking, or nail biting.

Anal Stage:
This period occurs at about 18 months to 3 yrs of age. The focus of gratification shifts from the mouth to the anus. The child experiences pleasure from the elimination of faeces. According to Freud, this brings them into conflict with their parents. Random elimination (as demanded by the id) incurs parental displeasure, yet withholding elimination (as requested by the parents) is denying the demands of the id, which until this point has been the source of all motivation. The resolution of this conflict requires the development of the ego, and as such has important implications for behaviours later in life. According to Freud, inappropriate parental responses can result in negative outcomes. If parents take an approach that is too lenient, Freud suggested that an anal-expulsive personality could develop in which the individual has a messy, wasteful, or destructive personality. If parents are too strict or begin toilet training too early, Freud believed that an anal-retentive personality develops in which the individual is stringent, orderly, rigid, and obsessive.

Phallic Stage:
This period extends from about age 3 to 5 years. Some critical episodes for development occur during this stage, but these episodes occur differently for boys and girls as the primary focus of the libido is on the genitals. Children also discover the differences between males and females. Freud also believed that boys begin to view their fathers as a rival for the mother’s affections. The Oedipus complex describes these feelings of wanting to possess the mother and the desire to replace the father. However, the child also fears that he will be punished by the father for these feelings, a fear Freud termed castration anxiety. This anxiety begun with the fear of punishment from the father leads to the boy thinking that the father hates him eventually becomes unbearable and the boy renounces his sexual feelings for his mother and chooses instead to identify with his father. The term Electra complex has been used to describe a similar set of feelings experienced by young girls. Freud, however, believed that girls instead experience penis envy. Just as with boys, girls begin to suspect the same sex parent knows about their attraction to the opposite sex parent, and they hate them for it. These feelings go round and round for awhile until the point when the girls renounce their feelings for their fathers and identify with their mothers.

Latency Stage:
This period occurs from about age 6 to 12 year of age. During the latent period, the libido interests are suppressed. The development of the ego and superego contribute to this period of calm. The stage begins around the time that children enter into school and become more concerned with peer relationships, hobbies, and other interests. The latent period is a time of exploration in which the sexual energy is still present, but it is directed into other areas such as intellectual pursuits and social interactions. This stage is important in the development of...
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