erik erikson stages of personality development

Erik Erikson was a German-born American from 1902-1994. Erik was known for his psychosocial theory of emotional development of human beings. “Erik Erikson stages of development is a model for the stages of thinking and learning for children, you will notice in each stage there are opportunities for positive ego development as well as deficits in one’s character, not only before a child reaches his 20’s, but throughout life. “(Support4changes. com) This theory looks at the impact of parents and society on personality development from childhood to adulthood.

Erikson’s believes that each child passes through a series of eight interrelated stages over their entire life cycle. The first four stages focus on the childhood years. “He felt the course of development is determined by the interaction of the body, mind, and cultural influences. His developmental stages were based on his Philosophy that: 1. ) the world gets bigger as we go along and 2. ) Failure is correlative. ” (support4change. com) “Erikson hypothesized that the personality the ways a human fetus develops. “(www. vtaide. om) The stages are designed for children to pass through each stage as they conquer the one first stage and the second stage and so forth. The stages are a way for a child to grow and develop. Infancy is the first stage of the psychosocial development, happens from birth to 18 months. Trust vs. Mistrust is the first stage that a child with go through. Infants are helpless creatures that dependent on others for their needs to be met. This stage is learning what they can trust in their environment. Infants need to trust the people that are caring for their needs.

When they are hungry they will be feed, when they are wet or dirty they will be changed, and when they are tired they will be put be to bed. “If an infant’s physical and emotional needs are met in a consistent and caring way, he learns that his mother or caregiver can be counted on and he develops an attitude of trust in people. If his needs are not met, an infant may become fearful and learns not to trust the people around him. “(www. vtaide. com) This does not mean that every time your baby cries you need to pick him up or give him everything he wants.

It means that you are consistency of meeting their needs and how you are caring for them. There is a bond that is form between a child and parent or caregiver that later helps communication develops. “Over-yielding to a child’s demands can produce a spoiled and selfish child who finds it hard to conform to social expectations because he issued to having his own ways. “(www. vtaide. com) “The positive resolution of this stage is we will learn to trust that life is basically okay and have basic confidence in the failure.

The negative resolution of this stage we will fail to experience trust and are constantly frustrated because our needs are not met, we may end up with a deep-seated feeling of worthlessness and a mistrust of the world in general. “(www. support4change. com) Erikson’s second stage Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt. This stage is during the toddler years 18 months to 3 years. Toddlers are very curious creatures in their process of learning they learn that they are their own creatures and they have their own abilities, wishes, and desires of their very own.

During the toddler years they learn to be independent and they want to do everything by themselves. They learn how to make choices for their life. Toddlers grow at a fast rate during this age and don’t stay in one size very long. With toddlers bodies growing so fast their bodies develop as well and they learn to walk, run, balance, feed themselves, climb, jump, and many more skills that allow children explore the world around them. “Toddlers have many opportunities to build self-esteem and gain more control over their bodies and acquire new skills, learning right from wrong. (www. supper4changes. com) This stage is where most toddlers learn the word No because they become very vulnerable creatures. “Potentially, toddlers can get into dangerous situations. Therefore, parents have to balance the opposing virtues of encouragement and restraint. If a toddler’s efforts to do things on his own were frustrated by over-protective parents then he may not have many opportunities to develop autonomy. On the other hand, if a toddler was harshly criticized for “accidents” then he may develop doubt about his own abilities to tackle new challenges. (www. vtaide. com) There should be many opportunities in the child’s environment to learn these many skills, and learn to become them.

“The potential strength acquired on successful resolution at this stage is the determination to exercise free will in the face of failures, shames and doubt. When a child is to become a decision maker he must learn to take responsibility for his actions and face the consequences of mistakes and failures. He needs to try again and learn that making mistakes is alright. ” (www. vtaide. om) Children have to understand that skills are not just going happen to you have to practice them first and then conquer the skills. They also have learned that it is ok to make mistakes and life will continue to move forward, just have to stand up and try again. Erikson’s third stage is Initiative vs. Guilt. This is the preschooler stage 3 to 6 years old. This stage preschoolers are growing that much more, so their abilities increase that much more. At this stage children want to learn and are open to learning.

Preschoolers want to know everything at this stage and want to know why. “Parents who take time to answer their preschooler’s questions reinforce their intellectual initiative. But parents who see their children’s question as a nuisance may stifle their initiative and cause them to be too dependent on others and to be ashamed of themselves. “(www. vtaide. com) Preschoolers learn the roles of their parents and caregivers. They begin to play the roles of the people in their environment. They learn to creatively play with in their environment.

Positive resolution is having the ability to initiate activities and plays enjoy learning. The negative resolution of this stage is inhibition because of fear of failure, guilt, and punishment. The fourth stage is Industry vs. Inferiority. This is known as the schoolgoer stage from 6 to 11 years old. This is where a child learns that there is more than the home world and that there is a school world as well. This stage is where a child becomes aware of academic performance. Schoolgoer learn to do work and that it is not just play anymore that this is more to it. The child soon learns that he can win recognition from parents, teachers, and peers by being proficient in his school work. The attitudes and opinions of others become important. “(www. vtaide. com) “Children’s efforts to master school work help them to grow and form a positive self-concept… a sense of who they are. Children who cannot master their school work may consider themselves a failure and feelings of inferiority may arise. “(www. vtaide. com) This is where unconditional loves comes into play, parents need to give them love that no matter what they do, they are still children and everything will be ok.

This stage is probably the hardest for children because they have many people in their lives at this time and learning what is important to them works or play. The first book I pick is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This book is about Max who gets sent to his room and deals with his frustrations of the world. Max deals with his frustration and loss of freedom by propelling himself into an imaginary kingdom where he is in complete control of his circumstances. His mom’s act of love brings his desire for resolution full circle.

This book is about learning how to cope with things within a child environment. The second book I would pick would be The Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Seuss. This story presents a ridiculous example of prejudice against people who do things differently. It looks at pride in one’s own beliefs and examines trust, respect and responsibility. The third book I would pick would be I’m Gonna like Me: Letting off a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis. This book is about feeling good and learning about you. There are a lot unique things to learn about you and this book does a great job doing that.

The last book I would pick would be I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child. Lola is sure she is “too absolutely small for school,” but her older brother Charlie patiently convinces her otherwise by presenting a series of imaginative and funny reasons she needs to go to school. Literature is everywhere and there is always a book out there for what you want a child to learn.


Erikson’s First 4 Stages, www. vtaide. com/blessing/ERIK1-4. htm, 1998 Alan S. L. Wong Erik Erikson’s Developmental Stages, www. support4change. com/index. php? option=com. BY ARLENE F. HARDER, MA, MFT, 2011

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