Erikson’s theory has been present in psychological circles for more than half a century. As the title implies, this approach to developmental psychology was introduced by a neo-Freudian psychologist, Erik Erikson, in the 1950s. According to Erikson’s theory, lifespan development is divided into separate strictly defined stages, each associated with a particular crisis that needs to be resolved. Moreover, the “four childhood stages form the foundation of adult personality” because, at these stages, an individual acquires certain attitudes toward oneself and society, which predetermine his or her consecutive development in adulthood.
The stages of childhood include from birth to 1 year when a trust versus mistrust crisis is resolved, from 1 to 3 years – autonomy versus shame and doubt, from 3 to 6 years – initiative versus guilt, from 6 to 12 – industry versus inferiority. The later stages are as follows: 12 to 18 years – identity versus role confusion, 18 to 30 years – intimacy versus isolation, 30 to late adulthood – generativity versus stagnation, and late adulthood – integrity versus despair.
The understanding of these stages and the pivotal role of the typical activities and positive characteristics that must be developed during each of them have a significant beneficial effect on my life. Using this knowledge, I can reflect on my current developmental stage and put effort into resolving the crisis so that in my adulthood, I avoid stagnation and despair. Also, reflecting on my childhood, I can analyze that since my parents did not provide me with enough independence at the initiative versus guilt stage, I tend to experience guilt in my life now. This understanding is helpful when dealing with psychologically challenging issues in my life. Finally, this theory is essential for family life and children’s upbringing. I will ensure to apply proper didactic methods following Erikson’s theory.