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Erik Erikson's Personality Theory Essay

2331 words - 9 pages

I. Erik Erikson's Personality Theory of Life-Span Identity and Identity Crises
I chose Erik Erikson's Personality Theory of Life-Span Identity and Identity Crises to explain my personality development because I believe that a person never stops changing in all aspects, until death, and according to Erikson, it takes a life-span to develop an identity as well as personality. People pass eight stages during the course of their lives, in which segments or certain aspects of one's personality are formed, revised or discarded.
The first stage of Erikson's Personality Theory of Life-Span Identity and Identity Crises is named Trust vs Mistrust. In this stage, infants are in constant need of “nursing, peaceful warmth, and comfortable excretion”, which, when achieved, leads to the development of trust and security (Friedman & Schustack, 2012, p. 136). On the contrary, mistrust is developed when a child is not receiving the love, nurture and emotional security from the mother or closest caretaker. This may be carried on into later stages of life and result in an overall feeling of insecurity as well as suspicion towards other people and the world (Friedman & Schustack).
Following the first stage is the second stage of Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt, which occurs during one's early childhood. A child now learns to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong, and how to control temper and impulses (Friedman & Schustack). Parents who encourage good morals and decision making are likely to raise a child who will complete this second stage with a sense of autonomy and the ability to make decisions especially when it comes to choosing between right and wrong. A child may develop a sense of shame and doubt if it is over-criticized or punished for his or her impulses and actions, or if the parents controlled all of the decision-making process (Friedman & Schustack).
If a child has successfully developed a sense of autonomy during Erikson's second stage of personality development, it continues to expand its autonomy by learning how to contrive actions and accomplish plans during the third stage of Initiative vs Guilt. Now, social interactions are increasingly promoted and a child learns how to socialize with his or her peer group (Friedman & Schustack). Someone who had difficulties developing a sense of autonomy before, will continue to struggle during the future stages of the development process, and it might not even be possible to form a sense of initiative later on (Friedman & Schustack). Also, a child who does not successfully negotiate this stage is likely to become afraid of taking the initiative, pursue goals, and develop a low sense of self-worth.
Erik Erikson's fourth stage, Industry vs Inferiority, occurs during mid- to late childhood. A child now learns that it is favorable and desirable to accomplish tasks and achieve goals, especially in the academic setting (Friedman & Schustack). Children will develop methods to complete tasks, and a...

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