Erikson`s Initiative vs. Guilt


Erikson`sInitiative vs. Guilt

Erikson`sInitiative vs. Guilt

Theimportance of growth and development of a child cannot be understatedas far as the health and wealth of a country is concerned. Indeed, itis well acknowledged that the progress of an individual in thisregard, whether in terms of physical capabilities, mental acuity orpsychological abilities determines the needs of that person, as wellas the level of dependency that he or she can be expected to haveboth in the short-term and the long-term. This, with no doubt, has abearing on the financial elements of both the parents and the societyat large. This has increased the need to determine the milestonesthat an individual must have reached by the time he or she is of acertain age so as to be seen as having been progressing or growing inthe proper way. Volumes of research have been carried out anddocumented in expansive literature so as to outline these milestones,with numerous theories being crafted in this regard. Perhaps one ofthe most recognized theories of development remains to be Erikson’sStages of Psychosocial Development theory.

Thepsychoanalytic theory has underlined the notion that an individualwho is experiencing healthy development undergoes eight stages as hegoes from infancy to late adulthood. Each of these stages presentsthe individual with new challenges, with the elements pertinent inone stage building on the successful completion and mastering of theearlier stages. Of particular note is the fact that in instanceswhere an individual fails to successfully master or complete thechallenges that pertain to a particular stage, they can be expectedto crop up in the future as problems. This, however, does notundermine the fact that the mastery of a particular stage would notbe required so as to get to the next or subsequent stage (Crain,2011). On the same note, the theory underlines the fact an individualwho is progressing via the eight stages of life is a function ofnegotiating his socio-cultural and biological forces, with everystage of development incorporating a psychosocial crisis pertainingto the two conflicting forces. In instances where an individualsuccessfully completes a stage and reconciles the forces throughfavoring the attribute first stated in the crisis, he would come outof that stage bearing the corresponding virtue, an element that wouldbe deemed as proper growth (Newman&ampNewman, 2012).Of the eight stages if psychosocial development that Eriksonoutlines, five taka place from the time the individual is born to thetime he or she is 18 years of age, while the other three take placeafter that well into adulthood. It should be acknowledged thatErickson states that there exists immense room for persistentdevelopment and growth throughout an individual’s life, with a lotof emphasis being placed on the adolescent stage since the scholarfelt that it was an important stage for the development of anindividual’s identity. Given the epigenic principle that isfollowed where an individual’s personality grows in a predeterminedorder and even builds on the previous stage, the result is anexpansive and integrated collection of abilities and skills thatwould function together in an independent person (Newman&ampNewman, 2012).Still, it may be noted that as much as Erikson was building upon theFreudian theories of development, he did not concentrate on sexualdevelopment rather his interest was on the manner in which childrenor individuals socialize, as well as the manner in which this wouldimpact on their sense of self.

Perhapsone of the most distinctive stages in Erikson’s Stages ofPsychosocial Development is the Initiative vs. Guilt Stage, whichcomes as the third stage in the growth and development of anindividual. This means that the person will have undergone the firsttwo stages, which include trust vs. mistrust stage (oral-sensory),autonomy vs. shame and doubt stages (muscular-anal), which occur frombirth to two years and from two to four years respectively (Rather,2010). This third stage of development, which is christened aslocomotor-genital stage primarily revolves around the development ofindependence. Taking place between the age of 4 and 5, the childwould persist in becoming more assertive and taking initiative withregard to the things that he or she wants to explore. Particularlycrucial initiatives, in this case, would be hero worshipping andplaying, not to mention the fact that they are persistently eager forresponsibility (Strasser &amp Lissi, 2009). Recent research hasunderlined the fact that individuals in this stage have an increasedlanguage, mental and muscular capabilities, which mean that theperson will engage in more activities and ask more questionsregarding his or her environment (Rather, 2010). There exists immenseopenness and curiosity to learning, with the children persistentlyasking the question “why” with regard to everything that theyencounter. Scholars have acknowledged that in instances where parentstake their time to answer the questions pertaining to thesepreschoolers would, essentially, be reinforcing their intellectualinitiatives, with the failure to do the same stifling the initiativeand causing the child to become ashamed of himself and evenexcessively dependent on other people (Shaffer&ampKipp, 2010).On the same note, scholars have underlined the fact that children inthis stage primarily engage in imaginative play, where they reenactand explore the varying activities and roles of people both fictional(as learnt from television) and real (as they have encountered intheir home environments) (Strasser &amp Lissi, 2009).

Initiativeadds to independence the quality of attacking, planning andundertaking tasks simply for the sake of being on the move andactive. At this stage, the child would, essentially be learning thefundamental skills and principles pertaining to physics, as well asthe most appropriate way to master the world (Newman&ampNewman, 2012).They would also learn to speak and count with ease or even tie andzip up. Of particular note is the fact that they do not simply wantto complete the actions rather they want to start and successfullyundertake them for a purpose.

Onthe same note, it has been asserted that guilt comes as a confusingand new emotion, where the individuals can feel guilty over thingsthat should, logically, not make them guilty, for instance, in caseswhere the initiative does not give the desired results. Scholars havealso noted that the child in this stage comes across complexitiespertaining to planning and the development of a sense of judgment, inwhich case he or she learns to take initiative, as well as prepare totake up goal achievement and leadership roles (Strasser &amp Lissi,2009).

Incases that necessitate some initiative, some children could developsome negative behaviors, which scholars have stated result from thedevelopment of a sense of frustration due to inability to attain agoal as planned (Beckett&ampTaylor, 2010).The child could even take part in behaviors that are evidently tooruthless and aggressive or assertive including yelling, hitting andthrowing objects.

Giventhe increasing independence, there are numerous choices that have tobe made regarding activities that an individual pursues, withchildren commonly taking on tasks that they can easily accomplish andeven others that are way above their abilities or even that interferewith the activities and plans of other people.

Ofcourse, the appropriate growth and development of a child in thisstage is dependent on the manner in which his or her efforts to takeinitiative and become more autonomous are treated by the peoplearound him or her/. Scholars have noted that the feeling of guiltcomes up in instances where the child has had too many failures andthe parents exert too many restrictions and rules on the behavior ofthe child (Beckett&ampTaylor, 2010).Indeed, this is bound to result in the child becoming too fearful oftrying out new things or taking charge and initiating behavior. Itcan cause the child to feel that he or she is wrong and to be blamed(Shaffer&ampKipp, 2010).Children at this stage feel that the world is primarily black andwhite, in which case an individual can only be on one side. Thismeans that in instances where the child makes a mistake, he or shewould translate the episode to underline the notion that he is bad,irrespective of the magnitude of the mistake. Of course, the attitudeand feeling that takes precedence is determined by the manner inwhich the parents treat the mistake that he has committed. Scholarsnote that it is imperative that the children recognize that everyperson makes mistakes, which does not necessarily mean that anindividual is bad (Wattset al, 2009).On the same note, it should be acknowledged that individuals wouldnot necessarily learn the first time they undertake a task ratherrules and restrictions have to be stated numerous times prior to thecomprehension of the main message by the child.

Further,the concept regarding individuals making mistakes would be immenselyvital in assisting the person to develop a sense of initiative. Sincechildren often define themselves with regard to the things that theycan accomplish successfully, they try to find out the things thatthey can do and, essentially, initiative a large number of activitieswhile exploring their curiosity. They try numerous things on impulseeven without considering the consequences pertaining to the same, inwhich case they are likely to exceed their capabilities and makemistakes. Essentially, adults should assist their children to notinternalize the mistake but rather learn from the same, as well asthe things that they did incorrectly or wrong (Wattset al, 2009).It is imperative that they support and encourage the efforts of thechild while also assisting them to make appropriate and realisticchoices so that the children can develop independence and initiativein the planning, as well as accomplishment of activities. If theparents discourage the pursuance of autonomous activities or even seethem as bothersome and silly, the children are likely to feel guiltyabout their independence, desires and needs, in which case guidingthem in a helpful, caring and loving manner would be the mostappropriate way of reinforcing the independence and initiative.


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