Erikson's Theory

Topics: Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, Developmental psychology, Development Pages: 3 (780 words) Published: October 19, 2013
When discussing the development theory, Erikson had been the frontier with many major contributions. Unlike Freud and Piaget, Erikson’s theory of development focused much more on social interactions. While most of us agreed that children do become toilet-trained between ages one and three, Erikson’s theory also went further to acknowledge that children also learn to talk, walk, feed themselves, etc. In order to understand Erikson’s theory of development, we need to focus on three main principles: dynamic balance of opposites, vital involvement and life in time.

Dynamic balance of opposites:
There are two opposing tendencies in dynamic balance of opposites: dystonic (negative) and syntonic (positive). Erikson believed there were eight stages, and at each one, the individual resolved a crisis between the positive (syntonic) and negative (dystonic) tendencies (Erikson & Kivnick 1986). A resolution of crisis does not mean that a person rejects either syntonic or dystonic completely, but rather that a person should find a balance between two of those tendencies. For instance, our American culture has frequently taught parents to never say “no” to their children because that could potentially damage a child’s self-esteem. However, Erikson would disagree and say that children do need to hear “no” sometimes to understand that the whole world does not revolve around them. Erikson would also say that telling the child “no” all of the time is bad as well. Vital involvement depends on the balance of syntonic and dystonic tendencies.

Vital Involvement:
Erikson developed eight stages of development. First, the trust versus mistrust stage, where infants start to learn that either the world is good and can be trusted, or is bad and can’t be trusted (Erikson 1986). For instance, Erikson would state that babies learn to trust their caregivers for not letting them go hungry, but babies also learn to mistrust their caregivers for yelling at them...
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