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Erikson Essay, Research Paper

Psychosocial Development Erikson, (1902-194), concluded that a humans development is determined genetically and that in order to move through each stage of development than they must be biologically, socially and psychologically ready. Erikson believed that the child?s genes resembled a timetable and it is this genetic timetable that determines the child?s stages of development. ?Erikson extended this principle to social and psychological growth; it is human nature to pass through a predetermined sequence of psychosocial stages which are genetically determined?. Gross, (R), The Science of Mind and Behaviour. (1996) The Psychosocial Stages Erikson concluded that every personality has a certain amount of trust and mistrust that is essential to development through the stages. Erikson did however suggest that although the time to develop trust is in infancy he did suggest that under develop trust could be further develop in later life however it would be harder to do. Basic Trust Versus Mistrust (0-1): – This stage is essential to the child?s development of trust toward not just it?s parents particularly the mother, but how it trusts the rest of the world. If a child is well loved i.e. affection, cuddles etc. then it will develop an adequate of trust for the world, however should the child receive inadequate care then it will grow to mistrust. Trust enables the child to experience situations without fear whereas mistrust causes the child to fear, behaving with suspicion possibly even withdrawal. Autonomy Versus Shame and Doubt (1-3): – A this stage the child becomes mobile, curious and generally more independent. The ability to be able to see itself as it?s own person separate from it?s parents is known as, ?Autonomy?. It is at this point that all the parents should still ensure the child?s well being they should still maintain a caring attitude and safe environment. At this stage if the child is put down or lead to believe it is a failure on a continual basis then the child may develop a feeling of shame and doubt in it?s abilities and it?s environment. Allowing the child to do things for itself and learning by its mistakes gives the child confidence and an increased self-esteem. Doing things for the child all the time and telling the child they are wrong will have the reverse effect. It is at this stage that if a child is not praised and allowed to do things for itself that insecurity appears i.e. in the form of attention seeking. Initiative Versus Guilt (3-5/6): -The child is discovering and developing new abilities and because of this the child?s desire for knowledge is also increasing. The child should be encouraged to ask questions and adequate answers should be given. Play is also a crucial part in the child?s mental and physical development. If the parent try?s to stop this question asking or play the child will develop a feeling of guilt about it?s desire to learn. Industry Versus Inferiority (7-12): – At this stage other adults other than parents begin to have significance in the child?s development. The child becomes interested in the way things work, and are carried out. Relationships with other children should also be encouraged, as children need to compare themselves with others in order to develop their own identity. Failing to offer the child the right resources, amenities, guidance and encouragement will result in the child feeling inferior. Self Concept ?In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of ego identity?, Erik Erikson, (1963), Moonie, N, (1995). Self-concept is an individual?s perception of their personality. Along with the self-concept is Self-awareness; this is how an individual imagines how others see them. The Self-concept can be divided into three interlocking components, Self-image, Self-esteem and the Ideal-self. Self Image: – This refers to the way we describe ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally, be it good or bad. Kuhn & McPortland (1954) Gross p.519 Suggest that the self image maybe broken into three categories, ?Social Roles?, the aspects of our self-image that are objective i.e., student, employee, partner. Others can confirm these aspects they are definite aspects ?Personality Traits?: – these aspects of our self-image that we perceive of ourselves may be confirmed or contradicted by another?s opinion or judgement of us. ?Physical self?; – this refers to the physical aspects of our self-image i.e., tall, short, thin ?Self-Esteem?: – ?A personal judgement of worthiness, that is expressed in the attitudes the individual holds towards himself?. Coopersmith (1967) Gross p.520 The level of our self-esteem is dependable on how we feel about ourselves, do we like the way we are, do we like the way we act, look etc. Our self-esteem can be greatly affected by outside influences i.e. a young person who is constantly told they are stupid by their parents is likely to have a low self-esteem believing they are stupid and maybe even inadequate. ?Ideal Self?: – this refers to the type of person we want others to perceive us as. Our self-image and in turn self-esteem may be affected by this because if we are shy and want others to see us as out-going and confident, then because we aren?t then we aren?t entirely happy with ourselves. Almost all the young people I have been working with like to convey an out-going personality, however when I got to know some of them they are actually quite shy. Other young people can also come across as being quite aggressive in their behaviour and again after talking to them for a while it appears some of them are doing this to hide the fact that they are afraid that they will be seen as, ?Wimps?, this is especially obvious in the boys. ?Symbolic Interactionism?, this is a theory initially instigated by, James, (1890), it emphasises the importance of interaction with the environment, reacting towards things as if they are symbols with meanings. The theory implies that language is important and the ability to perceive another?s point of view is essential in the development of an individual?s self-concept. James, went on to draw a distinction between the self-as-subject, (I), and self-as-object, (ME). The, (I) being the inner main self-perception although we have a multifaceted self i.e. depending on who we are interacting with will influence the self we are projecting. James also concluded that with every relationship we have we construct a different personality. Cooley, (1902), influenced by James, also concluded that we do have multiple selves formed by interactions with others. It is the reactions of others that tell us about ourselves; this is known as, ?The Looking ?Glass Self?. As we grow up we form a concept of ourselves by the reactions, judgements, opinions etc. of parents, teachers, friends, Again each individual we interact with may have a different reactions, opinions etc. how we see ourselves will depend on who?s views, opinions we take on board. An example of this can be seen in the changes in the behaviour, opinions and appearance of young people when they interact with different individuals, i.e. when they are on their own they can be quite pleasant and cooperative however, if they are in a group a number of them can be loud, out-going and even aggressive possibly so they are not seen as being, ?Square?, or, ?Boring?. The funny thing here is that when others talk about them they often complain about their behaviour when they are in a group. Argyle, (1969,1983), believed that there are four major influences on the development of self-concept: – The reaction of others: – the young people are always very conscious of others reactions, especially their peers, about new hairstyles, clothes etc. Comparison with others: – an example of this can be seen at exam time when the young people are intrigued about the results of others it is especially obvious among brothers and sisters. Social Roles: – An excellent example of this is, three young women, two of which are sisters who rarely see eye to eye, were having a argument, one of the girls who is not one of the sisters went to hit one of the sisters, the other sister immediately jumped in and said, ?You dare hit her and I?ll hit you???? when I asked her afterwards why she stuck up for her even though they are always fighting she said, ?She?s my sister of course I?m going to stick up for her?. Identification: – Have you ever noticed the skate boys, and their baseball caps, sweatshirts, baggy trousers and trainers? Or the trendy girls with their glittery makeup, matching hairstyles, and similar clothes? There appears to be a need to have something in common the need to identify with each other. Adolescence brings about many changes physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Puberty brings with it quite dramatic changes in the body and changes in sexual feelings and desires. Many of the young people I have worked with are between the ages of 11 and 18 all at different stages of development. One of the most obvious observations I have made, in particular with the young women is their desire to impress not just other young women but the young men also. Every time I have been in a group there is always one young person with a new pair of trainers, album or mobile phone!! Although Argyle suggested there is a need for Identification, ?According to Coleman, (1995), the development of identity requires not only feeling separate from others, but also knowing how one appears to the rest of the world. Dramatic bodily changes seriously affect these aspects of identity and represent a considerable challenge in adaptation for even the most well adjusted young person. Consequently, the timing of the adolescent growth spurt may have an important effect on the adolescent?s self-concept, especially self-esteem?. Sighted in, ?Psychology The Science of Mind and Behaviour?, Gross, (R), (1996).


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