“A little like the unfolding of a rose bud, each petal opens up at a certain time, in a certain order, which nature, through its genetics, has determined. If we interfere in the natural order of development by pulling a petal forward prematurely or out of order, we ruin the development of the entire flower” (Boeree, 2003).
I will observe an eleven year old boy using Erik Erikson’s psychosocial developmental theory. Erik Erikson is a Freudian ego-psychologist who believed that some of Freud’s theories were correct. Erikson expanded Freud's genital stage into adolescence plus three stages of adulthood (Boeree, 2003). He is known for his work in refining and expanding Freud's theories of stages. Development, he says, functions by the epigenetic principle (Boeree, 2003). This principle states that each stage has a central task, and if it is not fulfilled at the proper stages in which they are supposed to take place, then the person develops too little of a negative or positive influence or too much of a positive or negative influence. (Example: trusting too much or too little). Just as the quote above about a rose bud written by C. George Boeree says, if we don’t experience each stage of Erikson’s stages of development at the time that it was supposed to take place, the unfortunate result is that the entire flow of personal development is ruined or delayed. Erik Erikson’s psychosocial development theory consists of eight stages that take place from birth until death, but I only emphasize about the first four stages in my theory to analyze if the eleven year old boy whom I will interview, is at the appropriate psychosocial developmental stage of Erikson’s theory. The first of the eight stages developed was the psychosocial crisis, Trust vs. Mistrust, which occurs from birth to the age of eighteen months (Boeree, 2003). If during that age the child receives proper care, the result is the maturation of sensory, perceptual, motor functions and social attachment. If the proper balance is achieved, the child will develop the virtue hope, a belief that things will turn out well anyway even if things are not going their way (Boeree, 2003). A sign that a child is doing well in the first stage is when the child isn't overly upset by the need to wait a moment for their parents to satisfy their needs: “Mom or dad don't have to be perfect; I trust them enough to believe that, if they can't be here immediately, they will be here soon; Things may be tough now, but they will work out” (Boeree, 2003). This kind of learning gets us through disappointments in love, our careers, and many other aspects of life. The second stage is for toddlers, from eighteen months to three or four years old (Boeree, 2003). Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt is this stage’s psychosocial crisis, which is developed when the parents permit their child to discover and explore their surroundings. Through discovery and exploration, the child learns autonomy, this means independence. Parents during this stage need to be “firm but tolerant” so the child learns to possess both, self-control and self-esteem. Stage three is for preschoolers. From three or four to five or six, the central task of this stage is identification and through the psychosocial crisis initiative versus guilt. The result is that the child is able to find purpose from enjoyable learning. They’re able to have the courage to imagine and pursue valued goals. Parents are supposed to allow their kids to try out their ideas. “But if children can imagine the future, if they can plan, then they can be responsible as well, and guilty. If my two-year-old flushes my watch down the toilet, I can safely assume that there were no "evil intentions." It was just a matter of a shiny object going round and round and down. What fun! But if my five year old does the same thing... well, she should know what's going to happen to the watch, what's going to happen to daddy's temper, and what's...
References: Boeree, George. (2003). Shippenburg University. General Psychology: Erik Erikson Retrieved 2003 from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/genpsyerikson.html
Wong, Alan (1998). Erikson’s Stage 4 – Industry versus Inferiority. Retrieved June 1998 from http://www.vtaide.com/blessing/ERIK1-4.htm
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