Case History of Eric B.
Eric is a 6-year old African-american male who was raised in an impoverished inner city neighborhood in Chicago. Drugs and violence surrounded his daily life. With a single-mother who involved herself in a series of relationships with abusive boyfriends, Eric found himself beat with a belt, and may have been sexually assaulted. His mother was not home that often, and he was forced to sit outside on the stoop so that his grandmother, that also lived with them, could sell drugs. His mother was uneducated and supported the family with her public assistance grant. He has never met his father, and his uncles are in jail. His father was convicted of robbery and drug charges but Eric was told that he was shot to death in an attempted robbery. He dreams of one day avenging his father's death and acts it out when he plays alone. He has a history of terrorizing animals and killed the family cat. He also did poorly in school, being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. He is constantly involved in fights and has no companions. When home, he mostly involved himself in action movies and cartoons. Eric b efriends a boy who lived next door to him. One day he steals the boys bicycle and when the family comes to claim it, Eric threate ns the boy by saying that he was going to kill his baby brother. A few weeks later, Eric broke into the apartment and assaulted the baby, beating him nearly to death.
According to Eric Erikson, a student of Freud, his psychosocial theory states that you have to move through stages of development to have your needs met. One needs to be psychologically ready to move on to the next stage. This depends on the social environment they are in Eric, being six years old is in the iniative vs. guilt stage of Erikson's Stage Theories. In this stage, he is suppose to be ready to take iniative in his own activities and make plans and goals for the future. If his mother does not allow him to take iniative then he will feel guilt for his attempts at independence. He may also be in the industry vs. inferiority stage. This means he should be aware of his responsibilities such as homework and chores. He should be able create a sense of industry, if praised and rewarded by his mother. If not, then he will feel inferior. He would also be influenced by his peers and teachers.
However, this is merely how is should be, but is not how it is for Eric. Lack of iniative is not the problem. Without a parental figure present, Eric was forced to take on too much iniative and make too many decisions on is own. He feels no guilt in being independent but according to Erikson, should feel inferior due to the lack of praise and reward from his mother.
According to Jean Piaget, and his stages of cognitive development, kids construct their knowledge of the world through reorganization and they move to higher levels of psychological functioning. Piaget looked at how kids think of themselves...