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Understanding Child and Adolescent Development Essay

Erik Erikson in 1956 researched and developed Eight stages of development. According to Erikson, the socialisation process consists of eight phases – the ‘eight stages of man’, his eight stages of man were formulated, not through experimental work, but through wide-ranging experience in psychotherapy, including extensive experience with children and adolescents from low- as well as upper- and middle – social classes. Each stage is regarded by Erikson as a ‘psychosocial crisis’, which arises and demands resolution before the next stage can be satisfactorily negotiated. These stages are conceived in almost an artilectual sense: satisfactory learning and resolution of each crisis is necessary if the child is to manage the next and subsequent one satisfactory.

The eight stages by Erikson

1) Learning basic trust versus Basic Mistrust (Hope)

This is the period of infancy through the first ones or two years of life. The child well handled, nurtured,, and loved, develops trust , security and a basic optimism. Badly handled, he becomes insecure and mistrustful.

2) Learning Automy versus Shame (Will)

The second psychosocial crisis, Erikson believes, occurs during early childhood, probably between 18 months or 3 years and 3.5 to 4 years of age. The ‘well parented’ child emerges from this stage sure of himself, elated with his new found control, and proud rather than ashamed. It may also show in the early stages of psychosocial crisis, including stormy self-will, tantrums, Stubbornness and negativism.

3) Learning initiative versus Guilt (purpose)

Erikson believes that this third psychosocial crisis occurs during what he calls the ‘play age’. During it, the healthy developing child learns 1) to imagine, to broaden his skills through active play of all sorts, including fantasy 2) to cooperate with others 3) to lead as well as follow immobilised by guilt, he is 1) fearful, 2) hangs on to the fringes of groups, 3) continues to depend on adults and 4) is restricted both in development of play and imagination

4) Industry versus Inferiority (Competence)

Erikson believes that the forth psychosocial crisis is handled, during what he calls the ‘school age’ up to and possibly including some of high school. At this stage the child learns to master the more formal skills of life 1) relating to peers according to the rules. 2) Progressing form free play to play that maybe more structured by rules and may demand more teamwork. 3) Mastering social studies reading, maths. Homework is also a necessity, and the need for self-discipline, increases yearly. The child who, because of his successive and successful resolutions is trusting, autonomous, and full of initiative and will learn easily. However, the mistrusting child will doubt the future. The shame-and guilt filled child will experience defeat and inferiority.

5) Leaning Identity versus identity diffusion (Fidelity) During the fifth psychosocial crisis (adolescence, from 13 or 14 to about 20) the child now adolescent, learns to answer satisfactorily and happily the question of ‘who am I?’ But event the best-adjusted of adolescents experiences some role identity diffusion: experiment with minor delinquency, rebellion flourishes. Erikson believes that during successful early adolescence, mature time perspective is developed the young person develops self – certainty as apposed to self – consciousness and self doubt. The young person anticipates achievement, and achieves rather than being paralysed by feelings of inferiority or by an inadequate time perspective. In late adolescents, clear sexual identity is established. The adolescent seeks leadership, and gradually develops a set of ideas.

6) Leaning intimacy versus isolation (Love)

The successful young adult, for the first time can experience true intimacy- the sort that makes possible good marriage or a genuine enduring friendship. 7) Learning Generatively Versus Self-Absorption (Care) In adulthood, the psychosocial crisis demands generatively, both in the sense of marriage and parenthood, and in the sense of working productively and creatively.

8) Integrity Versus Despair (Wisdom)

If the other seven psychosocial have been successfully resolved, the mature adult develops the peak of adjustment. He trusts, independent, works hard, and has found a well defined role in life, and has developed a self-concept with which he is happy. He can be intimate without strain, guilt, regret or lack of realism, he is proud of what he creates. If one or more of the psychosocial crises have not been resolved, he may view himself and his life with disgust and despair.


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