Early Childhood social and personality development
Dimensions of Development: Infancy and Childhood: Personality and Social Development
Psychologist Erikson proposed that personality development proceeds through eight major psychosocial stages. Each stage involves a major crisis (i.e. conflict) over how we view ourselves in relation to other people and the world. Four crises occur in infancy and childhood:
· Basic trust versus mistrust (age 1)
How adequately our needs are met, and how much love and attention we receive, determine whether we develop a basic trust or basic mistrust of the world.
· Autonomy versus shame and doubt (age 1-2)
If parents unduly restrict children or make harsh demands during toilet training, children develop shame and doubt about their abilities and later lack the courage to be independent.
· Initiative versus guilt (age 3-5)
If children are given freedom to explore and receive answers to their questions, they develop a sense of initiative. If they are held back or punished, they develop guilt about their desires and suppress their curiosity.
· Industry versus inferiority (age 6-12)
Children who experience pride and encouragement in mastering tasks develop “industry” – a striving to achieve. Repeated failure and lack of praise for trying leads to a sense of inferiority.
Because each stage of life creates new opportunities, personality is not fixed in childhood. The way we resolve each crisis influences our ability to meet the challenges of the next stage.
Temperament reflects a biologically based pattern of reacting emotionally and behaviourally to the environment. Extreme temperamental styles in infancy and childhood can predict some aspects functioning years later.
Attachment refers to the strong emotional bond that develops between children and their primary caregivers.
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