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Erikson's Psychosocial Stages And Adopted Children

1272 words - 5 pages

Difficulties and Stages of Adopted Children

Erikson believed that people develop in psychosocial stages. He emphasized developmental change throughout the human life span. In Erikson's theory, eight stages of development result as we go through the life span. Each stage consists of a crisis that must be faced. According to Erikson, this crisis is not a catastrophe but a turning point. The more an individual resolves the crises successfully, the healthier development will be.

The first stage of Erikson's psychosocial stage is trust vs. mistrust, which is experienced, in the first year of life. Infants learn to trust in order to satisfy their needs thus developing a feeling of self-worth. When infants receive inconsistent care they may mistrust the people in their life. This is a very important stage to look at when looking at adoption and the foster care system. Children who are adopted in the first few weeks of life will probably not face may difficulties during this stage because their care will be consistent from the second or third week on. This is very different from children who are adopted later in this stage or who are in the foster care system during this stage. Some of these children will have inconsistent care thus mistrusting people in their lives. This mistrust will follow this child for a long time or possibly for the rest of their life. For example I was adopted at three years old and I remember my social worker coming by a year after I have been placed with my family to do the last home visit. As soon as I saw her I ran and hid in my closet because she had taken me away from so many places and my care was so inconsistent that I have formed a sense of mistrust of people. With the help of my family I have learned to trust and have successfully completed this stage.

     Autonomy vs. shame and doubt is Erikson's second stage of development occurs between the first and third years in life. During this stage children learn to be independent by mastering tasks such as feeding a dressing themselves. If children do not develop autonomy during this stage they will doubt their ability and develop a sense of shame. I lived in one foster home from the time I was one and a half to the time my parents adopted me at age three. I believe that I developed during this stage just as well if not better than children who are biological or who are adopted very young. The reason that I believe this is because in my foster home their were many children which caused me to do things for my self. I learned to feed myself, dress myself and perform other tasks much earlier than societies norm.

     Initiative vs. guilt is Erikson's third stage of development, which occurs between three to six years of age. This is an expansion on the autonomy developed in the second stage. During this stage children begin pretend play with peers and accept responsibilities such as chores. If this stage develops conflict between family members and this child is...

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