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Erik Erikson Essay

970 words - 4 pages

Erikson’s Stages of Personal and Social Development.

As people grow, they face a string of psychosocial crises that shape personality, according to Erik Erikson. Each crisis focuses on a particular aspect of personality and involves the person’s relationship with other people.

STAGE I: TRUST VERSUS MISTRUST ( BIRTH TO 18 MONTHS) The goal of in-fancy is to develop a basic trust in the world. Erikson ( 1968, p. 96) defined basic trust as “ an essential trustfulness of others as well as a fundamental sense of one’s own trust-worthiness.” The mother, or maternal figure, is usually the first important person in the child’s world. She is the one who must satisfy the infant’s need for food ...view middle of the document...

STAGE III: INITIATIVE VERSUS GUILT ( 3 TO 6 YEARS) During this period, children’s continually maturing motor and language skills permit them to be increasingly aggressive and vigorous in the exploration of both their social and physical environment. Three- year- olds have a growing sense of initiative, which can be encouraged by parents and other family members or caregivers who permit children to run, jump, play, slide, and throw. “Being firmly convinced that he is a person on his own, the child must now find out what kind of person he may become” ( Erikson, 1968, p. 115). Parents who severely punish children’s attempts at initiative will make the children feel guilty about their natural urges both during this stage and later in life.

STAGE IV: INDUSTRY VERSUS INFERIORITY ( 6 TO 12 YEARS) Entry into school brings with it a huge expansion in the child’s social world. Teachers and peers take on increasing importance for the child, while the influence of parents decreases. Children now want to make things. Success brings with it a sense of industry, a good feeling about oneself and one’s abilities. Failure creates a negative self- image, a sense of inadequacy that may hinder future learning. And “ failure” need not be real; it may be merely an inability to measure up to one’s own standards or those of parents, teachers, or brothers and sisters.

STAGE V: IDENTITY VERSUS ROLE CONFUSION ( 12 TO 18 YEARS) The question “ Who am I?” becomes important during adolescence. To answer it, adolescents increasingly turn away from parents and toward peer groups. Erikson believed that during adolescence the individual’s rapidly changing physiology, coupled with pressures to make decisions about future education and career, creates the need to question and redefine the psychosocial identity established during the earlier stages. Adolescence is a time of change. Teenagers experiment with various sexual, occupational, and educational roles as they try to find out who they are and who they can be. This new sense of...

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