Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Psychosocial Development in Infancy and Early Childhood

It takes a lot of patience combined with good judgment and warm, nurturing relationships to raise emotionally healthy children. But no matter what we do, children are going to feel sad, afraid, anxious, and angry from time to time. Challenge is to learn how to help children cope with their feelings and express them in socially acceptable ways that don’t harm others and are appropriate to the child’s age and abilities.
What is Psychosocial Development?
Childhood psychosocial development is a multistep process in which children learns to trust others, communicate their needs and develop distinct identities. Renowned psychologist Erik Erikson (1902-1904) developed an eight-stage model of human development that is widely accepted among educators and mental health professionals. Five of Erikson’s stages of development take place during childhood. Under Erikson’s model, if the child does not progress through one stage successfully, she will have difficulty with the next phase.
Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is one of the best-known theories of personality. Similar to Freud, Erikson believed that personality develops in a series of stages. Unlike Freud’s theory to psychosexual stages, Erikson’s theory describe the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan.
One of the main elements of Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory is the development of ego identity. Ego identity is the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction. According to Erikson, our ego identity is constantly changing due to new experience and information we acquire in our daily interactions with others. In addition to ego identity, Erikson also believed that a sense of competence also motivates behaviors’ and actions. Each stage in Erikson’s theory is concerned with becoming competent in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of mastery. If the stage is managed poorly, the person will emerge with a sense of inadequacy.
In each stage, Erikson’s believed people experience a conflict that service as a turning point in development. In Erikson’s view, these conflicts are centered on either developing a psychosocial quality or failing to develop that quality. During these times, the potential for personal growth is high, but so is the potential for failure.

Psychosocial Stage 1 – Trust vs. Mistrust

·         The first stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development occurs between birth and one year of age and is the most fundamental stage in life.
·         Because an infant is utterly dependent, the development of trust is based on the dependability and quality of the child’s caregivers.
·         If a child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and secure in the world.
·         Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or rejecting contribute to feelings of mistrust in the children they care for. Failure to develop trust will result in fear and a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable.
·         During the trust vs. Mistrust stage, an infant learns whether he can trust a caregiver to meet his needs. If you are present for your child and respond to his need for security, safety and nutrition, then he will likely develop a trusting relationship.

Psychosocial Stage 2 – Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt
·         The second stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development lasts from ages 1 to 3 years. This stage is focused on children developing a greater sense of personal control.
·         The control of one’s body functions leads to a feeling of control and a sense of independence and toilet training is a vital part of this process. Other important events include gaining more control over food choices, toy preferences, and clothing selection
·         Children who successfully complete this stage feel secure and confident, while those who do not are left with a sense of inadequacy andself-doubt.
·         During the Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt stage your child begins to separate from you and begins to assert some autonomy by learning to walk, make simple choices and interact with the world on his own. If you give your child room to grow and are not overly critical, he will develop a healthy sense of autonomy and self-esteem.
Psychological Stage – 3 Initiative vs Guilt
·         During the preschool years(lasts from 3 to 6 years), children begin to assert their power and control over the world though directing play and other social interactions.
·         Children who are successful at this stage feel capable and able to lead others. Those who fail to acquire these skills are left with a sense of guilt, self-doubt, and lack of initiative.
·         During the Initiative vs Guilt Stage, children begin to show initiatives by engaging in creative play and further assert their independence from their parents. If a parent stifles their child’s decision-making skills and creativity during this period, the child might develop feelings of guilt and have an inhibited sense of autonomy according to Erikson’s theories. However, by encouraging your child to think creatively and independently, she can develop a strong sense of personal initiative.
Psychological Stage – 4 Industry vs. Inferiority
·         This stage covers the early school years from approximately age 5 to 11 or onset of puberty.
·         Through social interactions, children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishment and abilities.
·         During the Industry vs Inferiority Stage, children who are encouraged and commended by parents and teachers develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills. Whereas children who receive little or no encouragement from parent, teachers, or peers will doubt their ability to be successful.
Basis Conflict
Infancy (birth to 18 months)
Trust vs. Mistrust
Children develop a sense of trust when caregivers provide reliability, care and affection. A lack of this will lead to mistrust.
Early Childhood (2 to 3 years)
Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
Toilet Training
Children need to develop a sense of personal control over physical skills and a sense of independence. Success leads to feelings of autonomy, failure results in feelings of shame and doubt.
Preschool (3 to 5 years)
Initiative vs. Guilt
Children need to begin asserting control and power over the environment. Success in this stage leads to a sense of purpose. Children who try to exert too much power experience disapproval, resulting in a sense of guilt.
School Age (6 to 11 years)
Industry vs. Inferiority
Children need to cope with new social and academic demands. Success leads to a sense of competence, while failure results in feelings of inferiority.

Take AwaysFor Parents’
Encouraging Independence  Encouraging independence in toddlers, while maintaining limits necessary to safety and positive behavior, is a difficult task to balance. Toddlers need choices in order to feel confident and independent, but these choices should be limited. Instead of asking what your toddler wants for lunch; ask where he would like to have his lunch. Instead of asking if he’d like to get dressed, ask him which shirt he’s like to wear. This limited questioning, where the choice is not open to a negative response such as “No, I don’t want to get dressed,” prevents confrontation and power struggles. Providing the opportunity for choice makes a toddler expect to choose for himself, which helps him develop autonomy. However, parents must also say NO occasionally. Toddlers need independence, but they must also learn that sometimes they can’t have what they want, and they must manage this disappointment.
Choices and Limits     We must remember that this drive toward independence and self-assertion is an important stage of emotional development of the Child. By allowing children to make their own choices and decisions and be responsible for their own outcomes, we are setting the framework for strong, emotionally healthy lives.Learning how to cope with disappointments and delays is also a critical part of the development of a healthy, balanced Child.
Benchmarks of Emotional HealthOn Daily Basis
            Firstly, is the child able to separate from her family without undue stress and form an attachment with at least one other adult at school?
            Secondly, is the child learning to conform to routines at school without undue fuss?
            Thirdly, is the child able to involve herself deeply in play? Play is not only the work of children, it’s the greatest health promoter and vehicle for learning that’s available to them.
            Fourthly, can the child settle down and concentrate? Being able to focus attention on something that interests a youngster is an indicator that he is capable of learning.
            Finally, does the child have access to the full range of her feelings and is she learning to deal with them in an age-appropriate way? This is one of the most important indicators of emotional health because then the child is aware of all her feelings and can express them without harming herself or others.
            When children seem to have emotional difficulties, we need to remember we don’t have to solve every emotional problem by ourselves. We need to talk to family, colleagues or to professional counselors.

By :- Rupa Chauhan 

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