Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development
November 29, 2014
Each human being has a reason as to who you are and why you are that way. Each and every day that you grow older you face experiences whether it’s good or bad, and the way it impacts you and the way you react to it, is how you form your identity. Erik Erikson, was a psychologist who developed one of the most popular and influential theories of development. Erikson’s theory describes how social experiences impact your whole life span. One of the main components of Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory is the development of “ego identity”, which is the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction. He claims that our ego identity is constantly changing throughout our lives as we come across new experiences and information that we obtain in our daily interactions with people. As we face each stage of development, we also face new challenges that may help our development grow farther, or cause difficulties and even delays to it. For instance if you are trying really hard at work to be promoted to a higher job position, and you come across some difficult times in your life that make it harder for you to accomplish your establishment, that could be called a delay. When on the other hand everything’s working out great for you and smoothly and you reach your goals faster.
The way your identity is formed, is something that starts off when you were a child, and becomes important in particular during adolescence, but Erikson believes that it is a process that continues throughout your whole life. Our own personal identity gives us a complete and connected sense of self that remains and continues to grow as we age. Erikson also believes that any competition may motivate your behavior and actions. In Erikson’s theory each stage has some sort of concern having to do with being competitive in an area of life. If your competency is successful, you may gain a feeling of mastery which is referred to as “ego strength” or “ego
equality”. Erikson believed that in each stage people experience a conflict that performs as a turning point in development. These conflicts are mainly either developing a psychological quality or failure to develop it. As a girl, puberty and hormones was the first thing to pop up in my head when I learned about that.
The first stage of Erikson’s theory is “trust vs. mistrust” (Cherry, K.), the most fundamental stage in life, and that occurs from birth until about 1 year old. Since a baby is so vulnerable they have no other choice but to trust their parents or caregiver. At this age, the baby must depend on the adult for everything, to feed, for love, to bathe, safety. If any caregiver fails to show the affection for their child, the child will feel some sort of untrust, and cannot depend on the adults in their life. A caregiver is the first person to be so close to the child in their first year, they depend on that person for everything. If the caregiver develops trust from the child, they will feel safe and secure. Caregivers who fail, will end up leaving that child in fear of them. The second stage is “autonomy vs. shame and doubt” (Cherry, K.), it happens during early childhood and is mainly focused on children developing personal control. At this point in life children are starting to become independent and want to do everything on their own. If the caregiver gives the child a time to make a decision of their own choice, they will feel autonomy. Toilet training, picking what food to eat, toy and clothes preferences and mainly learning to control you own bodily functions is a sense of independence. Children feel confident in themselves if they reach this stage with success. The third stage “initiative vs. guilt” (Cherry, K.) ...
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