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Erickson Stage Theory And The Impact Of Divorce On Children

1046 words - 4 pages

Divorce has grown conventional in today's society. First marriages stand a 50% chance of breaking up and second marriages stand a 67% chance of doing the same thing (issue 8 pg 146). It seems as if instead of working out problems and believing in love, people are giving up and throwing away all they worked on together for so long, thinking that their next marriage will be much different. By doing this they are hurting not only themselves but also their children and could cause them to have negative side effects later on into their adult lives according to clinical psychologist Judith S. Wallerstein. Erikson's theory of personality development can help calculate which and how stages are affected when parents get divorce. Stages 3, 4, 5 and 6 seem to be the most affected by the divorce because the main conflicts the child is confronting at the time are necessary to go through them calmly for a healthy development.
Stage 3 of Erickson's theory of personality development lasts from 3 to 6 years of age and it is the stage in which the child becomes aware of their independence and that they do not always have to do what their parents say. It is called Initiative versus guilt because they take the initiative to do as they please and at the same time feel guilty that they do not obey the rules given to them. The conflicting question during this age is "am I good or am I bad?". If a divorce occurs at this stage, the child might believe that something they have done caused them to do so, filling the child with guilt.
Stage 4 of Erickson's theory of personality development lasts from age 6 to the beginning of adolescence. The main theme of this stage is industry versus inferiority. Here is where the child learns to function outside of home and become social with people who are not family. It is labeled industry versus inferiority because in this stage the child realizes that the world revolves about productivity and that it is not a perfect or loving place like home. The child also realizes that if one does not function effectively they will be compared to those who do and this could hurt them while developing a sense of inferiority. If a divorce happens at this stage where the child is often being compared, it won't be long until they realize that they might be going through something their mates might not. Realizing this could lead to future low self esteem and even depression in later years. "Children who grow up in divorce homes typically feel insecure. They worry about another loss or sudden change in the household (Wallerstein 151)." These insecurities will most likely haunt them down when feeling compared by other at school or social gatherings.
Stage 5 of Erickson's theory of personality development lasts all through adolescence. This stage is called identity versus confusion because in this stage the child is questioning their very own existence, their purpose in life and is...

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