Erikson mainly believed that childhood is a very important stage for the development of an individual’s personality. Therefore he developed a theory about the stage of development of the human being from the start of birth to death and included theories which dealt with factors like ego, superego, id and theory of infant sexuality and he also believed strongly that personality usually develops after the age of five in a child. Erikson also focused on how the people developed the sense of identity, abilities and beliefs regarding themselves that resulted in the production and satisfaction of the members of the society (Slater, Charles L. (2003). His theory has a combination of the development of the individual’s beliefs mentally and psychologically so as to learn how to exist in a larger community. Erikson developed many stages and each stage is associated with a general life span or a particular time of life. However each of Erickson’s theory explains the different types of motivation for the children to adapt to the stages and further be productive and well equipped within the society and also explains the types of issues and developmental activities which results in the motivation that occurs less frequently.
The first stage is that of mistrust and trust which takes place from birth to about one year of age. In this period the children are provided with all their basic needs such as diapers, warmth, love, affection and food as they will learn to trust other people in their surrounding who care for them and they would in turn believe that the world is nice to them. If the infants are ignored and not given attention or even if they are taken care of unpredictably or in a rough manner they will learn to question their caretakers and assume that the others will not always be ready to support them when required. Therefore to trust others is the first learning and also how to have a good support and loving relationships with the others and these results help in the development of a positive self-image (Bee, Helen et al (2009). The second stage of the theory is autonomy versus doubt and shame which takes place in the time span of one to three years of age. Here the children are autonomous and they feel a sense of confidence that they can start deciding for themselves and also make their own choices so that they attain positive results. These young children become more independent when the caretakers give them support and make the child feel confident to make their own decisions and also to explore with themselves and solve their problems without feeling ashamed. Because when a child feels shameful or guilty they are incapable of making the right decisions and doing the daily tasks in a confident manner. This would result in stopping the development of a positive way of looking at oneself because these children start to see themselves as very stupid and feel low about them. Finally the third stage is the initiative versus guilt which takes place at the age of three to six years. Here the children start to develop the capability and continue to develop their desire to try out all the new things and also to learn to be responsible for their doings to some extent. When the caretakers give the children a chance to explore and learn the children will continue to look for their purpose but if the caretakers try to restrict the children and force a lot of responsibility on them the kids may start to feel guilty because they are not able to complete their tasks perfectly (Allen et al (2003).
In conclusion it can be said that Erikson’s theories emphasize the importance of the various stages in child development and also claims that human beings continue to develop and change throughout their span of life and their personality is not only formed during the years of childhood. This also helps in giving a positive idea and makes them feel realistic as it greatly encourages oneself and the others to see the future in a more positive way to change and develop in a better manner rather than to look back with regret and blame (Crain, William (2011).
Allen, Eileen; Marotz, Lynn (2003). Developmental Profiles Pre-Birth Through Twelve (4th ed.). Albany, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.
Bee, Helen; Boyd, Denise (March 2009). The Developing Child (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Crain, William (2011). Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education
Slater, Charles L. (2003), "Generativity versus stagnation: An elaboration of erikson's adult stage of human development", Journal of Adult Development