Erikson’s Psychological Theory of Child Development

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Erikson mental development model is very vital with a significant life concept. Life is merely a series of challenges and lessons that help one grow mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Erickson upheld the fact that personality matures in a preordained manner through the eight steps of psychosocial development right from infancy to maturity or adulthood (“Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development”). In every stage of development, one undergoes a psychosocial crisis that can impact one’s personality development outcome either positively or negatively.

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Erickson refers to them as psychosocial crises because they involve an individual’s psychological needs (psycho) which conflict with societal needs (social). This paper provides a detailed discussion on Erickson’s psychology model of development and how it relates to my life experiences.

Eric Erickson model of 1963 crowned him the first psychologist to address a permanent and broad psychological development since others only focused on small parts of one’s life. According to Erickson, growth is continuous in one’s lifetime accompanied by a series of unconscious crises or conflicts. He also believed that every battle encountered is based on issues arising from a particular stage of life and therefore, they are age-related but not limited to age only. According to this development model, every successful completion of a single-stage leads to a healthful personality as well as the acquisition of fundamental life virtues. Erickson believed that proficiency motivates actions and behaviors. Essential life virtues are behavior strengths upon which the ego can counter subsequent crises. Failure to complete a specific stage successfully may result in lessened potentiality to finish the following steps and hence, an unhealthy sense of self-mastery and inadequacy in the personality aspect. Typically, these delayed stages can be fixed successfully later in a lifetime (Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development and Career Development – ScienceDirect). The eight stages of human development about my experiences in life are as follows;

Stage One: Trust Vs. Mistrust

It is the most fundamental stage of development and occurs between the age of 0 to a year. The fact that an infant is dependent, establishing trust relies on the quality and dependability of the baby’s caregiver. The child depends on the caregiver for nurturing, safety, warmth, love, food and anything else for survival. If the caretaker fails to deliver quality care and provision of the basic needs, the child cannot trust them any longer. If the child fruitfully develops a sense of trust, they tend to feel more secure and safe in the world. Inconsistent, rejecting and emotionally absent caregivers influence feelings of mistrust among children under their care.

Distrust among children may result in withdrawal and fear that the world is unpredictable and unreliable (“Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development”). Erickson does not necessarily mean that the child will develop a 100% sense of trust or doubt but instead will be able to strike a balance on these two contradicting sides. With the successful completion of the stage, children gain courage and self-drive. Based on the person I have become today, I can confess that I positively resolved this crisis. I felt the world was the safest place to be and I could trust everyone. I think a successful and positive completion of this crisis; I could handle future emergencies affirmatively because I felt I could take in people’s advice since I trusted them.

However, currently, I think that during infancy I just trusted a lot without a sense of fear but I have learned not to trust everyone lest there is a legitimate reason for that. Not every person can be trusted, some of my friends have disappointed me severally, and I have reworked on this crisis. I remember telling my secrets to my close friend about my financial situation, and from nowhere I heard the same information from three of my classmates. I trusted my friend enough to confide in him, but he could not be trusted. Although the encounter altered my trust in people I still hold on to the underlying belief developed when during infantry.

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Erikson’s Psychological Theory of Child Development. (2021, Nov 27). Retrieved from