Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development

There are many developmental theories out there.  You may agree or disagree with them. Understanding these theories could help you to understand children and the developmental stage they are in.  Erikson focused on how children socialize and how that affects their sense of self.

Erik Erikson’s developed a theory of psychosocial development in 8 stages.  The first five stages start at birth and go through adolescence.  For the purpose of this blog, i will only discuss the first five stages.  According to Erikson, each stage has an important part in a person’s personality and psychological skills.

Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development

  1. Trust vs. Mistrust (0-2 years):  This stage is centered around an infant’s basic needs being met by their caregiver. If a child is exposed to warmth and affection he/she will trust the world.  A lack of reliability and care will cause the infant to mistrust the world, which can result in anxiety and fear.
  2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (2-4 years): In early childhood, children begin to explore their surroundings. They become independent by walking, choosing what clothes to wear and what toys to play with.  If children are encouraged and supported to be independant they become confident and secure. If children are too controlled and criticized they will lack self esteem and feel a sense of shame and doubt.
  3. Initiative vs. Guilt (4-5 years):  Children begin to plan activities, make up games, and initiate activities with others. If encouraged and supported, children will develop a sense of initiative and feel comfortable leading others and making decisions.  If children are controlled or critized they will develop a sense of guilt.
  4. Industry vs. Inferiority (5-12 years): This is the elementary school aged child.  Children are introduced to social and academic demands.  These years are critical to develop a self confidence. If children are encouraged they begin to feel confident in their ability to achieve goals. If they are not encouraged they begin to doubt their own abilities.
  5. Identity vs. Role Confusion (13-19 years): During adolescence children become more independent.  This is the stage where they transition from childhood to adulthood. During this time they explore possibilities for their future (career options, relationships…) They try to find their personal identity. If they fail at finding their person identity it results in confusion. “What do I want to be when I grow up” is an example of the confusion.

What does this mean for nannies?

Encourage children throughout their development and watch them thrive.

There are 3 more stages in adulthood and if you would like to find out more information about these stages view the sources below.



2 thoughts on “Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development

  1. Pingback: Erikson’s Famous Theory of Psychosocial Development | Arras Darius Khaledi's Psychology Blog

  2. Pingback: Erikson TEC Center: Technology in Early Childhood | ElidaZerrouk

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