Erik Erikson did a terrific to explore human personality traits. Many of the features are inborn traits, but some characteristics, for an example, feeling either inferior or competent, seem to be acquired through learning. Although his ideas were subject to influence by Freud, Erik Erikson believed in the idea that human’s ego prevails from an individual’s birth, and his behavior does not reflect defense only. His study was based, partially, on the ideas of the tribe of the tribe of Sioux Indians, and it is through their insight that Erikson shared the awareness of the enormous contribution of culture upon human’s behavior. He spurred that the aim of development was determined as an interaction between the body, mind, and culture. His stages of developmental were founded on the philosophy, which suggested that the world becomes bigger as the human goes along and that failure is a cumulative feature. Erik Erikson organized life in terms of eight stages. The following is a classification of the eight stages developed by Erikson.
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The first stage is birth to eighteen months. In this period, the individual learns to trust or mistrust and have everything taken care of for him. The basic strength learned here is drive and hope. The second stage is early childhood to three years. In this stage, the individual learns autonomy or shame (usually attached to potty training habits). The basic strengths learned during this period are self-control, courage, and will. The most significant relationship is with the parents.
The third period of personality development is from age three to five years. In this time, the individual learns initiative vs. guilt. The basic strength developed is purpose. Within this period, we are driven by a desire of copying the adults that surround us. We come up with stories, while playing out different roles on stage of a trial universe, including the experiments of what we believe the adult life is assuming. The most vital relationship is observed with the person’s basic family.
The fourth stage is school age to 6 to 12 years, according to Erikson. In this stage, which is often referred to as the Latency, we are capable to learn, create and accomplish various new knowledge and skills. This is a highly social stage in the development, as well; and, if one experiences unresolved feelings of inferiority and inadequacy among his or her peers, then it may pose serious problems as far as self-esteem and competence are concerned.
The fifth stage is adolescence, from twelve to eighteen years. In this stage, the individual learns either role identity or role confusion. The most prominent strengths are devotion and fidelity. According to Erikson, until this stage development mainly depends on what a person does. From this stage, development is driven primarily by what a person does. Personal goal is to unveil who he or she is as individuals; however, separately from the family members and, at the same time, reflecting upon a role of a member of the community. A significant role for a person is in establishing a philosophy of his or her life and, during this process a person tends to perceive life through ideals, which are not conflictive, rather than in reality terms, which is conflictive. Person’s significant relationships build around peer groups mainly.
The sixth stage is young adulthood, spanning the ages eighteen to thirty-five. In this stage, the individual learns intimacy vs. isolation. The basic strengths during this period are affiliation and love. In case, when negotiating through this stage becomes a success, one can experience humiliation on a deep level. If a person is not successful, then distance and isolation from other people may occur. Person’s significant relationships reflect through marital partners, as well as friends.
Stage seven is middle adulthood, spanning, from thirty five to fifty five or sixty five. During this period, work is the priority occupation. Erikson noted that during the middle-age people tend for occupation, which offer meaningful and creative work, as well as issues that surround their families. The significant goal of this age is to perpetuate the surrounding culture and transmit the values of this culture through life within the family. If one does not get through this period successfully, then he or she can end up as a self-absorbed person. Person’s significant relationships build around the workplace, the family, and community.
Stage eight is late adulthood: fifty five or sixty-five until death. Person’s strength comes from wisdom and recognition that the surrounding world is extremely large and a person has a detached concern about all aspects of life, while accepting death from the point of the life completion. However, some of the adults may come to this stage of life in despair from their experiences or perceived failures.
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