Theory of Development by Erikson

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Aside from gaining knowledge for this research, I was curious about my extended family history, so I interviewed my grandfather. I've always been close to my grandfather, and acquiring information from him was simple. During our interview, I was able to clearly connect his development to Erikson's ideas. He was born in 1940 and had a wealth of life experience to contribute. I can state that my Grandfather exhibited the most of the attributes since, in my opinion, his personality was very important to a person's development in the social context.

Erikson's work was mostly published after Freud's death.  His theory is generally referred to as the psychological theory of personality development. According to this theory, every person undergoes several unique as well as qualitatively different life stages as from the time they are born up to the time they die. He says that life stages happen to be universal. Again, the ages that one is claimed to have passed from are also considered to be fairly universal (Syed & McLean, 2017). For that matter, the key point in his theory is that individuals face conflict at every stage the undergo in life. Moreover, it is not obvious that the conflict will be resolved in a certain stage. Learning to resolve a certain issue in a particular stage determines how issues in the next stage will be handled. This is considering that, according to Erikson, issues on a certain stage overlap with issues on the next stage. Erikson stressed that there is always a connection between the present way of handling issues in terms of thinking as well as feelings and previously resolved or unresolved issues of development. However, he said that it is possible to solve any developmental block at any stage. He provided eight stages of psychological development.

My grandfather’s life experience helped him develop Nurturer personality. Even though his parents were not very rich, they were able to provide for him to the best of their abilities. They went through tough times together but there was no time that he could remember lacking basic needs. According to him, he was among the lucky few during his times. The first stage of Erikson theory of development talks about Trust and Mistrust. This is the stage where infants learn to trust others and in particular those who provide for their basic needs. The stage happens between the age of 0 to 2 years. Most of the time, parents are expected to take good care of their children by attending to their needs (Syed & McLean, 2017). This way, they learn trust. The good care that my grandfather received from his parents helped him learn and appreciate the value of trust and in turn started learning about the importance reaching out to others and helping.

During his childhood days, my grandfather was most of the time shy and it was hard for him to interact with guests. At the same time, he felt very guilty at any time he thought that he was doing the wrong thing. According to him, he never understood the reason why. However, he mentioned that his parents were very strict and always insisted that, the right thing should be done all the time. In this case, two stages of Erikson theory are displayed. This happens to be stage two and stage three which is Autonomy vs shame and initiative vs guilt. At this stage, the child begins to explore the world by their own will. Here, the child feels all the senses and therefore shame can easily develop and they can also be devastated by minor crises (Syed & McLean,2017). Children start to express their feelings at this stage. Coming to the stage of initiative and guilt, children begin to make decisions and carrying them out. They start to imagine things and they can easily recognize the bad behavior (Mobley & Johnson-Russell, 2015). That’s why my grandfather felt guilty whenever he did something wrong. For that reason, he was able to envision something good in his imagination and then go ahead and pursue it. Between the age of 2 to 6 years, he discovered his love for baseball and got a lot of support from his parents.

Even though my grandfather was very fond of baseball and wanted to play every day, his father created a schedule for him. It means, there are times when he could not play. Instead, he focused his energy on academics. He told me that, he worked very hard in academics but also found time to play baseball. From time to time, he received incentives from his parents whenever he performed well in his studies. Here comes the fourth stage of Industry Vs Inferiority that is experienced between the age of 6 to 12 years (Syed & McLean, 2017). Here, the child begins to workhand with a goal of gaining competence in various activities including academics. Most of the time the child is praised and encouraged to do things that he loves. However, the child may start valuing himself bring a sense of comparison and inferiority. This reminds me that, my grandfather mentioned how badly he wanted to be the best in his baseball team. It is important to make the child feel that he can pursue a task and do it well since this is the time he begins to redefine his relationship with the outside world.

By the age of 13 years, my grandfather had already started asking himself what he really wanted to do with his life. He really loved baseball but his parents wanted him to concentrate on academics. This brought about some kind of conflict. For that matter, he worked hard in school but still found enough time to play basket. As time went by, he found himself giving much thought to playing baseball than he did to his academics. For that matter, read more books about baseball and practiced more. By the age of 16 years. He had already established his career in baseball and surprisingly, his parents supported that move. He became a successful baseball player and got married when he reached 28 years. By 35 years, he retired and became a coach to the local club. Since then, he had been giving back and never regretted it.

Identity vs role confusion comes in at stage five, where people develop their sexual identity as well as try to discover what they need to do with their lives. Here it is possible for confusion to crop up but with proper guidance, adolescents are able to discover themselves (Mobley & Johnson-Russell, 2015). My grandfather decided to become a baseball player. In the stage of intimacy and isolation, people become worried about finding their right partner. This is a point where my grandfather married my grandmother and ended up raising a successful family. In stage seven, adults begin finding sense in what they do. They feel that they ought to do something meaningful and give back to the society. My grandfather decided to become a coach with a goal of instilling hope and meaning into young adult’s life. Throughout his life, he learned to always give back. His Nurturer personality is clearly supported by the urge to pursue the things he believed in which are upheld by his nature of unselfishness and enthusiasm. He always valued harmony, cooperation, and values other peoples feeling. It shows that he enjoys his old age and feels proud of what his ha been doing throughout his life.


Syed, M., & McLean, K. C. (2017). Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development.

Mobley, C. E., & Johnson-Russell, J. (2015). Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. Theory-directed nursing practice, 115-142.

April 26, 2023

Life Psychology


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