Erick Erickson
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(Modern) Psychosocial Theory
Believed that childhood is very important in personality development.
Most famous for his work in refining and expanding Freuds theory of stages.
Stated that development functions through the “epigenetic principle.”
EPIGENETIC PRINCIPLE- This principle states that we develop through a series of eight
stages, and our progress in each stage is predetermined by our success in the previous stage.
**Stage 1: Oral-Sensory**
Age: Infancy — Birth to 1 year
Conflict: Trust vs. Mistrust
Important Event: Feeding
The important event in this stage is feeding. According to Erikson, theinfant will develop a sense of trust only if the parent or caregiver isresponsive and consistent with the basic needs being meet. The need for careand food must be met with comforting regularity. The infant must first form atrusting relationship with the parent or caregiver, otherwise a sense ofmistrust will develop.

The infants need for care, familiarity, comfort and nourishment are met. Parental consistency and responsiveness is essential for the sense of trust todevelop.

Babies who are not securely attached to their mothers are less cooperativeand more aggressive in their interactions with their mothers. As they growolder, they become less competent and sympathetic with peers. They also exploretheir environment with less enthusiasm and persistence.

Babies will begin to understand that objects and people exist even when theycannot see them. This is where trust becomes important.
Stage 2: Muscular-Anal
Age:Toddler period — 1 to 2 years
Conflict: Autonomy vs. Doubt
Important Event: Toilet Training
According to Erikson, self control and self confidence begin to develop atthis stage. Children can do more on their own. Toilet training is the mostimportant event at this stage. They also begin to feed and dress themselves.This is how the toddler strives for autonomy. It is essential for parents not tobe overprotective at this stage. A parents level of protectiveness willinfluence the childs ability to achieve autonomy. If a parent is notreinforcing, the child will feel shameful and will learn to doubt his or herabilities. “Erikson believes that children who experience too much doubt atthis stage will lack confidence in their powers later in life”

The child must take more responsibility for his or her own feeding,toileting, and dressing. Parents must be reassuring yet avoid overprotection.
If parents do not maintain a reassuring, confident attitude and do notreinforce the childs efforts to master basic motor and cognitive skills,children may begin to feel shame; they may learn to doubt their abilities tomanage the world on their own terms. Children who experience too much doubt atthis stage will lack confidence in their own powers throughout life.

In this stage children begin to assume important responsibilities forself-care like feeding, toileting, and dressing.
Stage 3: Locomotor
Age: Early Childhood — 2 to 6 years
Conflict: Initiative vs. Guilt
Important Event: Independence
The most important event at this stage is independence. The child continuesto be assertive and to take the initiative. Playing and hero worshipping are animportant form of initiative for children. Children in this stage are eager forresponsibility. It is essential for adults to confirm that the childsinitiative is accepted no matter how small it may be. If the child is not givena chance to be responsible and do things on their own, a sense of guilt maydevelop. The child will come to believe that what they want to do is alwayswrong.

In order for a positive outcome in this stage, the child must learn toaccept without guilt, that there are certain things not allowed. Children mustbe guilt free when using imagination. They must be reassured that it is okay toplay certain adult roles.

If children are not allowed to do things on their own, a sense of guilt maydevelop and they may come to believe that what they want to do is always wrong.

A four year old passing tools to a parent who is fixing a bicycle. Childrenat this stage will worship heroes. Pretend games are also common.
Stage 4: Latency
Age: Elementary and Middle School Years — 6 to 12 years
Conflict: Industry vs. Inferiority
Important Event: School
In this stage children are learning to see the relationship betweenperseverance and the pleasure of a job completed. The important event at this stage is attendance at school. As a student, thechildren have a need to be productive and do work on their own. They are bothphysically and mentally ready for it. Interaction with peers at school alsoplays an imperative role of child development in this stage. The child for thefirst time has a wide variety of events to deal with, including academics, groupactivities, and friends. Difficulty with any of these leads to a sense ofinferiority.

It is essential for the child at this stage to discover pleasure in beingproductive and the need to succeed. The childs relationship with peers inschool and the neighborhood become increasingly important.

Difficulty with the childs ability to move between the world

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Childs Ability And Important Event. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from