Unformatted text preview: The first stage of Erickson’s psychosocial development is the Trust vs. Mistrust stage.
This stage generally occurs from birth to 18 months. If the child receives predictable and
consistent care the will develop trust and feel secure. At this age I was very outgoing. My
parents say that I would talk and play with anyone. I knew no stranger. My parents also said
that I loved a routine. I went to bed, slept all night and never cried. I was also small for my age.
They said I was the perfect baby. This is a perfect example of a young child who felt secure and
trusted people around them.
The next stage of social development is Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt. During this
period it is the first time a child begins to push their boundaries and experiment with making
decisions and choices about all different aspects of their lives. Ericson believes that it is
important for the child’s development for the parents to give their child room to try and either
succeed or fail. This process of trial and error is critical to the development of the child’s
independence, self stem and will. During this period I am told that I was very independent and
child. I wouldn’t put an outfit on unless I picked it. Another outcome of my strong will in
relation to the way I dressed was that I wouldn’t wear socks. I would literally do anything not to
have to put them on my feet. I also loved to have tea parties. I had a small tea set and Play
school table and chairs. If you came over to our house we were going to have a tea party. The
last interesting story that I have heard a million times is that I didn’t walk until I was eighteen
months old. That is significantly older than most kids. I don’t really remember why. My
parents said that I really didn’t want to walk until I was ready to walk. They didn’t make a big deal about it since the doctor said that I didn’t have any physical problems keeping me from
walking. In fact my dad says that I really never walked I just started run.
The third phase in Ericson’s psychosocial development is Initiative vs. Guilt. This
phase begins around three and lasts through five years. In this stage a child gets the
opportunity to develop their interpersonal skills, take initiative, continue to develop
decision making skills and leadership skills. In addition to these behaviors a child now
starts to ask a lot of questions to speed in their knowledge and mental capacity. I liked to
play make believe wither it was a tea party, doctor, nurse or school. Since I have an older
brother and he was in school I wanted to go and learn. My parents said that I was good
with numbers, letters and had a good drive to learn. I started taking dance lessons during
this period of time. I didn’t really pay attention but I liked to dress-up.
The fourth stage of Industry vs. Inferiority covers the ages from five to twelve. This
time is dominated by the academic development and peer group approval. At this age I
was very focused at trying my best at school. I participated in some team sports from
soccer and t-ball. I never really enjoyed team sports that much. I just wasn’t that
competitive. As far as social clicks in elementary school, I just wasn’t very concerned with
following anyone just to be part of a group. I’ve always just wanted to be true to myself.
The fifth stage is Identity vs. Role Confusion and it lasts from twelve to eighteen years
of age. During this stage kids become more independent and look to their future. A critical part
of that is figuring out where we belong in society. He believes that there are two identities are
involved during his stage; a sexual and occupational. The sexual identity should resolve itself in an individual who can committee to a partner and accept others with ideological differences.
The occupational identity is when the teen explores different beliefs and determining where they
fit into society at that time. I have struggled at times in High School trying to identify where I fit
into society. I went through a period where I rebelled against my parents and didn’t try in
school. Additionally, I started hanging out with other kids who had already developed legal
trouble as juveniles. My parents were there for me through the bad times and helped me get
The next stage is Intimacy vs. Isolation, it lasts from approximately eighteen to forty
years old. This stage is primarily about exploring long term relationships. It is during this time
that most long term relationships outside of our family are developed. I currently am not in a
relationship and don’t have any interest in one or a family and kids. I think that I would like to
wait until after college too even think about getting married and having a family.
The next stage is Generativity vs. Stagnation and, it lasts from approximately forty to
sixty-five years old. During this stage we develop a career, raise our families and develop our
place in society. We also give back to society by becoming involved in our community. At this time in my life I cannot imagine having a husband and family. I’m sure as I grow older my mind
might change but not now.
The last stage is called Ego Integrity vs. Despair. This period covers adults
sixty-five and older. It is during this period our productivity declines. We contemplate our life
and reflect back upon our accomplishments. If we look back on our lives and see our time as
productive and satisfying we will lead a happy retirement. If we are not happy about what we achieve it can lead to despair and depression. The final virtue that we can achieve then is
wisdom. It is wisdom that allows us to look back at our lives with a sense of closure and accept
our death. I cannot even imagine what this will mean for me. There are still so many
possibilities for my life that I cannot fathom what the end of my life will look like.
Now that I have taken a shot at breaking down my own life experiences using Erickson’s
stages, I am ready to try my skills on analyzing another person’s experiences. I convinced my
cousin Alyssa and her mom to take some time and share with me her experiences at the different
stages that she has lived through.
We started with the first stage, birth to eighteen months. My aunt had a lot of interesting
facts about Alyssa. She said that she walked at an early age around eleven months. She said
Alyssa was very loving and loved to be held a lot. However she didn’t really get close to anyone
but her mom. Physically Alyssa was normal height and weight and make physical progress at a
rate comparable to other kids her own age. The only other thing that stood out about her at that
age is she was impossible to stay on any kind of schedule.
The second Erickson’s stage is from eighteen months to three years old. During this
period, Alyssa began to expand her comfort level with people beyond just her mom to include
her family and a few other people. She tended to enjoy playing more by herself than with other
kids her age. When she was with other children and they became too close to her she would
become more aggressive and push them away. She was very independent and did not want other
people to help her with anything. Eventually she would let you help her, but it had to be on her
terms. She was potty trained during this time and did not have any trouble. The third stage of Initiative vs. Guilt proved to be one of continued progress of
Alyssa. She enjoyed playing make believe with her dolls and stuffed animals. She didn’t
ask why a lot. She was very accepting of things the way they were. She did enjoy reading a
lot with her mom and dad. She was also good at printing letters and numbers. Alyssa was
more of a tomboy at that age and she was not particular about what she wore. She was still
shy at this age and did not like to see people beyond her immediate family.
The fourth stage of Industry vs. Inferiority was a period of change for her. Alyssa
became more interested in team sports. She really enjoyed the competition and she was
good at several sports. She was good at school but never had any real connection to
learning. School just didn’t seem to give her the same satisfaction. She became more
outgoing but was still shy.
Alyssa is seventeen in the fifth stage of Identity vs. Role Confusion. Her lack of
interest in school continues to increase. She doesn’t like school and is trying to graduate early.
Now her interest in sports has also decreased. She doesn’t really have the same love of the sport
that she had before when she was younger. She has started to date some but nothing steady. Her
parents are separated and she has several younger siblings. Alyssa has taken a larger roll over
this period of time taking care of her brother and sisters. She also has a part time job to earn
some extra spending money. When we talked about the next stage of her life, ages 18 to 40 she didn’t really have any
concrete ideas or thoughts around what she wanted. Her biggest goal was to get out of the house
and on her own. She has thought about joining the military as a way to get money to go to
college and get out on her own. When asked about a long term relationship she said she didn’t
see herself in one. She only wanted to get on her own.
The next stage of Generativity vs. Stagnation from age 40 to 65 really didn’t have any
meaning, except Alyssa wanted to be comfortable. She didn’t want to have to worry about
money to make a basic living. She did want to have a family but wasn’t sure.
When we talked about the last stage of Ego Integrity vs. Despair at age 65 and older she
didn’t have any specifics except for the fact that she didn’t want to have to have any regrets and
not to be scared of dying.
For the first stage Alyssa and were different in the fact that I walked late and she walked
early. I would also go to anyone and she was very shy and wouldn’t go to anyone but her
mother. I was small Alyssa was average size. I liked routine and she didn’t like routine.
During the second stage we were still very different. I really enjoyed different make
believe play in different situations and became very stubborn about what I would wear and how I
would wear it. Alyssa was shyer than I was and didn’t want to play with people beyond her
immediate family. Alyssa also tended to be more aggressive if her personal space was invaded
by another child. The differences continued during the third stage when were both from 3 to 5 years old. I
still tended to be more outgoing than Alyssa. I was still more interested in playing different
make believe games whether it was nurse or school. I was also very interested in questioning
everything trying to learn how different things worked and why they did what they did. She was
also more of a tomboy and interested in Athletics. Alyssa and I were the same in the fact that we
were both independent and liked to learn how to do things on our own.
The fourth stage of Industry vs. Inferiority covers the ages from five to twelve. At
this time Alyssa became more interested in sports and the competition. Her interest in
school started to wane. On the other hand my interest in school continued to develop and
grow. I also continued my focus on independence and became more interested in
developing friendships with individuals as opposed to becoming part of a click. It really
sounds like at this time we also became more alike in that fact then we had been earlier.
The fifth stage from twelve to eighteen was the period of the greatest change in my
life. I pretty much became the opposite of what I been up to that point in my life.
Rebellious, hated school and struggled to find my place. Alyssa turned away from sports
that she had liked up to that point. We did have our rebellion in common during this time.
Another way that we were similar was the fact that we both worked part time during
school. During the sixth stage, we both were only able to give our vision of what we would
be at that age. That really complicates our comparison but it does give some insight into
the views we have of our futures. I was focused on completing school and not developing a long term relationship. We did have in common that we both want to move out on our
The seventh stage from forty to sixty-five becomes even more difficult to compare.
Alyssa really focused on being able to be financially independent. For me at that time in life I
want to have a family and career. For someone as young as we are it is very difficult to try and
identify what you want your life to be.
The results of the last stage are very similar for both of us. We really want to have a
personal level of accomplishment and satisfaction with our lives so when we are in our final days
we can die without any regrets.
This process of reviewing your life based on your age and experiences has helped me
evaluate I have accomplished up to this point in my life. The final part of trying to identify what
your future is going to be like really challenges you to think about your destiny. I would
recommend this experience to everyone who wants to contemplate their past, present and future. ...
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