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Human growth and development are critical to the society’s existence. In this regard, a number of scholars have come up with theories to explain the concept of human growth and development. The article Erik Erikson by Saul McLeod presents an insightful explanation on the stages of human development. Early child development is critical for human life (Fleer & Hedegaard 25). To start with, development and growth are gradual and involve different stages. Erikson’s theory of development explains the concept of human development in details. Unlike Freudian theory of development, which stipulates that the development of human personality starts at the age of five, Erikson’s theory argues that human development is continuous and occurs over the entire lifespan. Erikson’s theory of development comprises eight psychosocial stages that people usually pass during their lives.
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These stages include: “Trust vs. Mistrust, Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt, Initiative vs. Guilt, Industry vs. Inferiority, Identity vs. Role Confusion, Intimacy vs. Isolation, Generativity vs. Stagnation, and Integrity vs. Despair” (Amundson & Borgen). These eight stages of personality development have several distinct features, which signify the beginning and the end of each given stage. This paper takes a critical look on the fourth stage of Erikson’s theory, which is Industry vs. Inferiority, the way it emerges and the factors that influence feelings of competence. Erikson’s developmental theory suggests that human development is both qualitative and quantitative.
The fourth stage of Erikson’s development theory is Industry vs. Inferiority. This personal development stage occurs at around six years. At this period of development, the child is curious and wants to enter the world of work and knowledge. This stage is characterized by conflicts of opinion and child’s demands. During this period the child is sensitive to everything. One significant feature of this stage is the child’s entering the school system. At school, the child is introduced to books and other learning materials.
The learning process is not restricted to school but continues at home and in the street. Erikson’s theory explains that successful experiences a child acquires at this stage of development give a sense of industry, competence and mastery(Amundson & Borgen). The feelings of competence and mastery are prompted by the child’s success and the sense that what he/she is doing is good. Parents’ approval and guidance are important at this stage. Failure results in the sense of inadequacy and inferiority. Therefore, it is important to guide the child at this stage of development, to let him/her realize that failure is merely a barrier to overcome in his/her movement to the next level.
Experiences and interactions in school play a great role in fostering children’s new skills (Trawick-Smith 17). Children learn from books and peers. Children of different backgrounds provide an opportunity to learn new cultures. New cultures, coupled with learning at school, help children to develop the feeling of industry and competence. The latter lays the foundation for the subsequent development and growth. Thus, parents should allow their children to experience adventures at this stage of child’s development. This will go a long way in shaping a child character and his future life.
The personality development stages presented in the discussed article are valid based on my individual experience. I have passed through all stages mentioned above. In this regard, this article is authentic and I recommend everyone to read it. Moreover, available scientific literature confirms the fact that human development comprises several stages, including adolescence.
In conclusion, Erickson’s theory of development is important for the analysis of individual growth and development. Parents must understand these important stages in life. Given that the early growth and development are crucial for the child’s future endeavors, it is the responsibility of parents and society to ensure that a child is given a priority.
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