There are many theories about how we develop as humans. One theory I find the most interesting is Erik Erikson’s Theory Psychosocial Stages of Development. Erikson’s theory has eight stages. The first stage of Erik Erikson’s theory is trust versus mistrust.
Erikson believes this is from birth to twelve months. During infancy, trust is very important for a baby’s development. Infants being unable to care for themselves are dependent on other people such as their parents or caretaker to take care of them and their need. It is important that the parent tends to the infant’s needs in order for the baby to develop trust with them. This trust will show the baby that they are safe making the baby feel comfortable and secure where they are. If an infant was not having their needs met this would lead to mistrust not only to their parents but to anyone they come across throughout their life. The second stage of Erikson’s theory is autonomy versus shame and doubt. Between the ages of one to three, toddlers are getting to know the world more and this is the perfect time for them to learn new things.
Toddlers learn new things such as how to change their own clothes and feeling themselves. The more they learn the more they want to take control and do more things independently without any help. Erikson called this the “me do it” stage. An example would be a toddler wanting to feed himself but in doing so making a giant mess. As a parent, the last thing you want is to have to clean up a mess so you take over and try to feed him yourself. This could cause him to doubt his own abilities which often leads to feeling shame as well as low self-esteem. The shame can come from him seeing other kids his age doing these tasks that he had yet to learn.
However, it is important that a child learn to care for themselves because if you fail to teach them they will continue to rely on you and others to care for them. Stage three of Erikson’s theory is initiative versus guilt ages three to six. The more children grow up the more they begin to explore and do things on their own. This is when children have the desire to take control over their world by using play and social interactions. When a child is allowed to try new things they risk getting disapproval and disappointment. Play interactions allow children to engage and get along with others who have similar interests. At this stage, children are introduced to school and in preschool where they learn about themselves and their social life.
According to Erikson at this age children know what tasks they can achieve on their own giving them self-confidence. If a child fails to do something on their own they will ask for help from others which can cause them to feeling guilty. A lot of times during this stage children will have a large amount of why questions. The fourth stage of Erikson’s theory is industry versus inferiority ages 6 to 12. Erikson believed that this is the stage in a child’s life where they begin to differentiate themselves to the other children around them.
While children start to get to know learn what their own abilities are they also learn the abilities of others. Children can develop one of two senses. One is a sense of pride and accomplishment in the things they do include but not limited to social activities, school, family life, and much more. When they set out to finish a task and complete said task they will feel proud and accomplished. Erikson believed that at this stage it is important for parents and teachers to show support for a child ability because it gives them confidence. Two they can feel inferior to others because they don’t match up to their ability. Children often compare their own abilities to others and sometimes see their peers doing better than them. This sense of inferior can make a child feel doubtful of his or her own skills.
Children can also feel this way when they are discouraged or even ignored by parents or teachers causing them to feel like a failure. The fifth stage of Erikson’s theory is identity versus role confusion from age 12 to 18. According to Erikson children in this stage develop a sense of themselves, also known as Adolescents. This is where children struggle to find out who they are and what they want to with their lives as they transition from childhood to adulthood. Throughout this stage, Erikson believes that each child will try different things to see what one they think works best for them.
Children who are successful at this stage will gain a strong feeling of what their own identity is. They will also be able to stay true to their own beliefs and values when they come across another person who has a different perspective then them. According to Erikson children who fail at this stage of figuring out who they are will have a weak sense of themselves and end up being even more confused about their future as well as themselves. Often times children are pressured into following what their parents want for their future to be also causing them to fall into this stage of confusion about themselves and their future.
Stage six of Erikson’s theory is intimacy versus isolation ages 20 to 40s. According to Erikson, the conflict young adults have of identity confusion comes to an end at this stage. Once a young adults identity is established he or she is now ready to commit to other people.
After developing our sense of self-adolescence, we start to worry about sharing our lives with other people known as dating. Often times there is fear one might fail at finding the right partner and might have to spend their life alone. Erikson believed that in order to have an intimate relationship with another you must have a strong sense of yourself.
Without a positive strong sense of yourself in adolescence, you’ll end up feeling alone as well as emotional isolation.Stage seven of Erikson’s theory is generativity versus stagnation age 40 to 60s. Known as middle adulthood where adults main focus is on their work and family. Erikson believed that a this is the stage where you contribute subconsciously to develop themselves and others through a number of activities. These activities consist of raising their own children, mentoring, and volunteering to help others. Any adult who fails at this take can experience stagnation where they have little to no connection with other people as well as small interest in being proactive and improving themselves.Stage eight of Erikson’s theory is integrity versus despair ages mid-60s to death.
Late adulthood where people look back on their lives either feeling some sense of satisfaction or some sense of failure. Those who feel satisfaction are proud of their accomplishments through life because they lived their life to the fullest. Those who are not successful at this stage feel that they wasted their life. Leading them to pay more attention to what they could have done differently. This causes them to live the rest of their life feeling depressed and sour.