Erikson's Developmental Stage Theory
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Theory > Erikson's Developmental Stage Theory
Eric Erikson investigated and developed a stage theory about how children
grow and develop psychosocial skills.
||Trust vs. mistrust
|A child will only learn trust if its mother meets the
deep need for attention and affection.
|Autonomy vs. shame and doubt
(around age 3)
|If the exploring child receives encouragement in a
search for autonomy, the child will learn trust, otherwise they learn shame and
||Initiative vs. guilt
(around age 4)
|If the questioning child is encouraged in their ideas and
games, the child will gain confidence or otherwise feel guilty
about initiating things.
||Industry vs. authority
|If encouraged and praised by teachers, the child will
increase efforts to learn. If always criticized, the child will learn to feel
||Identity vs. role confusion
(from age 12)
|If the child's identity has been reinforce up to puberty, the
will handle it well. If not, there is a frightening identity crisis.
||Intimacy vs. isolation
(around middle age)
|Identity crises may occur later in life if people cannot
or do no relate to others.
In order to learn, Erikson talked about giving children a 'psychosocial
moratorium', where they can take risks and experiment in safety without the
threat of punishment. This is a key responsibility of parents.
When working with children, take especial care to build trust and
self-esteem. With dysfunctional adults (as most of us are), recognize the roots
of their problems and help where you can. This means yourself too.