Erik Erikson was a self-esteemed psychologist that introduced the theory of psychosocial development. It is one of the most influential theories that examine the influence of social experience in the entire human lifespan. Erick’s intention was to understand how social contact and relations play a role in the growth and development of humans. As well, the psychosexual theory by Sigmund Freud that emphasized on the significance of feeding. The three persons I observed include T.N (A preschool child), G.D (a teenage girl) and S.M (a Middle-aged man).
Upon observing T.N for a couple of days, I can attest that the characteristics exhibited fit with the common features that Erickson speaks about in the preschooler stage of development. Erickson has classified the Preschooler stage as the third stage of psychosocial development. As observed, the preschooler kid wanted to be in control over everything. During the playtime, she seemed to direct the play and dictate how others should play or whether they should join the play. In other words, a preschooler always desires to stay in control of everyone and every activity. Another notable observation as reckoned by Freud is that the preschooler seems to identify with friends or even parents with the same gender. For instance, T.N would be seen playing with fellow young girls, while the boys played separately. Indeed, a preschooler that comes out successful in this stage often feels gifted, talented and skilled in leading others. However, children that fail to develop these abilities and skills often feel guilty, insecure and disappointed (Erikson).
The findings collected upon observing G.D relates or rather fits with the common features noted by Erickson in this fifth stage of psychosocial development. It is a stage that occurs during the teenage hood. It is period where a teenager starts to develop an aspect of personal identity which continually determines their behavior and growth for their entire lifespan. In some of the observations made, G.D seemed independent and in control of her life. As well, G.D would relate mostly to teenagers of the opposite sex, which is an observable character emphasized by Freud (Erikson & Erikson).
Another observation I made with G.D is that she seemed confused about several issues and often made consultations from her fellow teenagers. As reckoned by Erickson, the teenagers require proper encouragement and support in dealing with life issues. Any mistakes committed during this stage may ruin the life of a person throughout their entire lifespan. The teenagers that seem uncertain about their beliefs and desire often exhibit the traits of insecurity and confusion about what they want in life. It is during this stage that a teenager may indulge in other antisocial behaviors as a way of seeking answers and purpose in life.
The final observation involved S.M, a middle-aged man who operated a workshop. S.M seemed more focused on his daily routines and always busy engaged in some form of activities. As reckoned by Erickson, the characteristics exhibited by S.M relate/fit with this stage seven of psychosocial development. In this stage, a person focuses on building and establishing their lives. Most of the persons in this stage are either married or almost getting married. Therefore, they mainly focus on developing their career or taking care of their family. In fact, individuals that come out successfully in this stage often develop a special feeling about their role in developing the world. Furthermore, S.M seemed careful in his daily activities. According to Erickson, Care is one of the virtues that demonstrate that a person has come out successful in this stage. As a middle-aged adult, one feels proud about the achievements made in life. Furthermore, the development of a sense of harmony with the spouse is also a significant achievement during this stage. However, individuals that fail to achieve their desires as mentioned above often feel wasteful, unproductive and unimportant in the world (Cherry).
Erikson, Erick H. Childhood and Society. (2nd ed.). New York: Norton; 1993.
Erikson, Erick H & Erikson, Joan M. The Life Cycle Completed. New York: Norton; 1998.
Cherry, Kendra .Comparing Erikson’s vs. Freud’s Theories, 2018.