Shannon GeisFebruary 6, 2004PSY 1002AEssay 1According to Erik Erikson, there are eight stages of psychosocialdevelopment.

The first four are Trust vs. Mistrust, Autonomy vs. Shame andDoubt, Initiative vs. Guilt, and Industry vs. Inferiority. It is Erikson’sbelief that individuals progress through these stages sequentiallythroughout one’s lifetime.

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Each stage is characterized by a conflict, whichmust be worked through in order for healthy development to occur. Failureto achieve resolution impedes later development, but can be corrected inanother stage.The first stage, Trust vs. Mistrust, happens at birth to one yearold. Babies learn to trust or mistrust their caregivers, depending on thedegree and regularity of care, love, and affection offered.

This may or maynot be true. My middle daughter tended to gravitate towards her father,regardless of the fact that he was not her primary caregiver. She justliked him better than me!The second stage, Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt, occurs during theages of one to three years old. At this stage children begin to want to dothings for themselves. Overprotective parents may thwart their child’sefforts at independence, thus teaching the child shame and doubt abouttheir efforts to exert their own will.

Despite the fact that this line ofthought is convincing, I have a few doubts about it. Although all three ofmy daughters’ favorite word was “NO”, they applied the word to everysituation, even if they wanted the item in question. If the user of “NO”was me, some accept it, while some did not.

The third stage, Initiative vs. Guilt, happens from three to sixyears old. At this stage, children begin to initiate activities, plan andundertake tasks, and enjoys their developing motor skills . If not allowedto pursue these skills, the child may develop a sense of guilt about theiractivities. This one I agree with.

When my daughters would develop a newskill, such as setting the table, and were corrected on how the tableshould be set, they tended to flatly refuse to do it. They would cry thatthey were going to do it wrong. It became more a matter of whether or notthey could do it, rather than how they did it.The fourth stage, Industry vs. Inferiority, takes place at six yearsold to puberty.

Children begin to feel pride in their accomplishments inthis stage. They may feel they are inferior if not encouraged. I also agreewith this opinion. At this age my daughters entered school. As theylearned, they began to compare themselves to other children in their class,feeling inferior if others learned a skill quicker than they did . Forexample, my oldest daughter excels at the violin, but considers herselfstupid because algebra eludes her.

There are many differing theories about how children develop languageskills. The Learning Theory, which emphasizes language being learnedthrough reinforcement, and the Nativist Position, which stresses the pointthat language and grammar are learned easily and naturally in stages, aretwo of these opposing theories.Scholars that believe the Learning Theory, maintain that language isacquired in much the same way that other behaviors are learned. Throughreinforcement and imitation, parents are able to shape the way theirchildren learn. Parents selectively criticize incorrect words, whilereinforcing the correct ones with praise, approval, and attention. Becausechildren tend to learn by example, this particular approach is useful inteaching the child what is acceptable to say, and what is not. On the otherhand, imitation can not account for certain patterns of speech, such astelegraphic speech, or systematic errors, such as overregulation.

Parentsalso tend to reward children for the content of what they say, rather thancorrect grammar.Scholars who subscribe to the Nativist Position, believe thatlanguage develops in stages that occur in a fixed order, at approximatelythe same time in most normal children. Babies have an instinctive abilityto recognize and distinguish phonemes that are in any language.The Nativist position is better able to account for the fact thatchildren throughout the world go through the same language learning stagesat approximately same age, as well as the mistakes that all children seemto make as they learn. While this position explains in part how childrenlearn language skills, it does not take into account the fact that one’sown particular language is acquired in a social setting. The use ofmotherese as well as simply reading to the child are also a contributingfactors in a child’s language development.

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