Theory of Early Childhood Development According to Sigmund Freud and Erikson


Erikson's Psychosocial Theory


Man the un-known” (humans are mysterious creatures) as expressed by Alexis Carel when describing the incomplete search for human nature by experts. Many academic endeavors are carried out by experts when they want to explain who they really are. Sciences such as philosophy, economics, sociology, anthropology as well as psychology and several other sciences are sciences that discuss humans with their respective perspectives.

Erik Erikson is one of the experts who made that effort. From a psychological perspective, he describes humans from the point of view of their development from 0 years to old age. Erikson is a psychoanalyst and the developer of Freud's theory. The advantage that we can find from Erikson is that he breaks down the entire human life cycle, unlike Freud who only reached adolescence. Included here is that Erikson includes social factors that influence the development of human stages, not just sexual libidinal factors.

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Erik Erikson's theory of human development is known as the theory of psycho-social development. This theory of psychosocial development is one of the best personality theories in psychology. Like Sigmund Freud, Erikson believed that personality develops on several levels. One of the important elements of Erikson's theory of psychosocial levels is the development of ego equality. Ego equality is a conscious feeling we develop through social interactions. According to Erikson, ego development is always changing based on new experiences and information that we get in interacting with other people. Erikson also believes that the ability to motivate attitudes and actions can help the development of being positive, this is the reason why Erikson's theory is called the theory of psychosocial development.

Ericson explained his theory through the concept of gradual polarity. There are 8 (eight) stages of development that will be passed by humans. It is interesting that this level is not a graduality. Man can rise to the next level even if he did not complete the previous level. Each level in Erikson's theory corresponds to abilities in areas of life. If the level is handled well, the person will feel smart. If that level is not handled properly, the person will come across with a feeling of dissonance.

At each level, Erikson believes everyone will experience conflict/crisis which is a turning point in development. Erikson argues, these conflicts center on the development of psychological qualities or failure to develop those qualities. During this time, the potential for personal growth increases. Likewise with the potential for failure.

Trust vs Mistrust 


  • Occurs at the age of 0 to 18 months
  • The first stage of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development occurs between birth and one year of age and is the most basic stage in life.
  • Because infants are highly dependent, the development of trust is based on the dependability and quality of the caregiver to the child.
  • If the child manages to build trust, he will feel safe and secure in the world. Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or rejecting can encourage feelings of insecurity in the child being cared for. Failure to develop trust will result in fear and belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable.

Autonomy VS shame and doubt


  • Occurs at the age of 18 months to 3 years
  • This second level of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development occurs during early childhood and focuses on the major development of self-control.
  • Like Freud, Erikson believed that toilet training was an essential part of this process. However, Erikson's reasoning is quite different from Freud's. Erikson believed that learning to control one's bodily functions would lead to feelings of control and independence.
  • Other important events include gaining more control over food choices, preferred toys, and clothing choices.
  • Children who successfully pass this level will feel safe and confident, while those who fail will feel inadequate and self-doubt.

Initiative (Initiative) vs guilt (Guilt)


  • Occurs at the age of 3 s / d 5 years.
  • During the preschool years , they begin to show their power and control over the world through direct play and other social interactions. They are more challenged because they face a wider social world, so active and purposeful behavior is required.
  • Children who succeed in this stage feel capable and competent in leading others. There is an increased sense of responsibility and initiative.
  • Those who fail to reach this stage will experience feelings of guilt, doubt, and lack of initiative. An unpleasant feeling of guilt can arise when the child is not trusted and made to feel very anxious.
  • Erikson believes that much of the guilt can be replaced quickly by a sense of accomplishment.

Industry vs inferiority (perseverance vs low self-esteem)


  • Occurs at the age of 6 to puberty.
  • Through social interactions, children begin to develop feelings of pride in their accomplishments and abilities.
  • Children who are supported and directed by parents and teachers build feelings of competence and trust in their skills.
  • Children who receive little or no support from parents, teachers, or peers will doubt their ability to succeed.
  • Previously accomplished initiatives motivate them to engage with new experiences.
  • As they move on to middle and late childhood, they direct their energies toward mastering knowledge and intellectual skills.
  • Problems that can arise in the elementary school year are the development of low self-esteem , feelings of incompetence and unproductiveness.
  • Erikson believes that teachers have a special responsibility for the development of children's perseverance.

Identity vs identify confusion


  • Occurs in adolescence, namely the age of 10 to 20 years
  • During his youth he explored independence and developed his own intelligence.
  • Children are faced with discovering who they are, how they will become, and where they are headed in life (towards the maturity stage).
  • Children are confronted with many new roles and statuses as adults – work and romance, for example, parents must allow adolescents to explore many different roles and avenues within a particular role.
  • If adolescents explore such roles in a healthy and positive way to follow in life, a positive identity will be achieved.
  • If an adolescent's identity is rejected by parents, if the adolescent is not adequately exploring multiple roles, if a positive future path is not explained, then identity confusion is rampant.
  • However, for those who receive adequate support, personal exploration, self-sensitivity, feelings of independence and self-control will emerge in this stage.
  • For those who are unsure of their self-confidence and desires, they will feel insecure and confused about themselves and their future.

Intimacy vs isolation (intimacy vs isolation)


  • Occurs during early adulthood (20s to 30s)
  • Erikson believes this stage is important, namely the stage a person builds a close relationship and is ready to commit to another person.
  • Those who succeed at this stage will develop a committed and secure relationship.
  • Erikson believes that a strong personal identity is important for developing intimate relationships. Research has shown that those who are less self-conscious tend to lack commitment to relationships and are more likely to experience emotional isolation, loneliness and depression.
  • If you fail, there will be a sense of alienation and distance in your interactions with people.

Generativity vs Stagnation 


  • Occurs during middle adulthood (40s to 50s).
  • During this time, they continue to build their lives focused on career and family.
  • Those who succeed in this stage will feel that they are contributing to the world by participating in their home and community.
  • Those who fail to pass this stage, will feel unproductive and uninvolved in this world.

Integrity vs depair 


  • Occurs during late adulthood (60s)
  • During this phase tend to do self-reflection of the past.
  • Those who do not succeed in this phase, will feel that their life is wasted and experience many regrets.
  • Individuals will feel the bitterness of life and despair
  • Those who successfully pass this stage, means that he can reflect the successes and failures that have been experienced.
  • This individual will attain wisdom, even in the face of death.

Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual development


Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual development is one of the most well-known theories, but also one of the most controversial. Freud believed that personality develops through a series of stages of childhood in which the pleasure-seeking energies of the id become focused on specific erogenous areas. Psychosexual energy, or libido, is described as the driving force behind behavior.

According to Sigmund Freud, personality is largely shaped by the age of five. Early development has a big influence on personality formation and continues to influence behavior later in life.

If the psychosexual stages are completed successfully, the result is a healthy personality. If a particular problem is not resolved at the proper stage, fixation may occur. fixation is a persistent focus in the early psychosexual stages. Until this conflict is resolved, the individual will remain “stuck” in this stage. For example, a person who is fixated on the oral stage may be overly dependent on others and may seek oral stimulation through smoking, drinking, or eating.

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  • Oral Phase

In the oral stage, the baby's primary source of interaction occurs through the mouth, so the rooting and sucking reflex are very important. The mouth is essential for feeding, and infants derive pleasure from oral stimulation through satisfying activities such as tasting and sucking. Since infants are completely dependent on caregivers (who are responsible for feeding the child), they also develop a sense of trust and comfort through oral stimulation.

The main conflict at this stage is the weaning process, the child must become less dependent on the caregivers. If fixation occurs at this stage, Freud believed the individual would have problems with dependence or aggression. Oral fixation can result in problems with drinking, eating, smoking, or biting nails.

  • Anal phase

In the anal stage, Freud believed that the primary focus of the libido was on controlling the bladder and bowel movements. The main conflict at this stage is toilet training – the child must learn to control his bodily needs. Developing this control leads to a sense of accomplishment and independence.

According to Sigmund Freud, success at this stage depends on the way in which parents approach toilet training. Parents who use praise and rewards for using the toilet at the right time foster positive outcomes and help children feel capable and productive. Freud believed that positive experiences during this stage served as the basis for people to become competent, productive and creative adults.

However, not all parents provide the support and encouragement that children need during this stage. Some parents' instead punish, ridicule or shame a child for an accident. According to Freud, inappropriate parental responses can lead to negative outcomes. If parents take an approach that is too loose, Freud suggested that an anal-dispelling personality can develop where the individual has a messy, wasteful or destructive personality. If parents are too strict or start toilet training too early, Freud believed that an anal-strong personality develops in which the individual is strict, orderly, rigid and obsessive.

  • Fase Phalic

In the phallic stage, the main focus of the libido is on the genitals. The children also found differences between men and women. Freud also believed that sons began to see their fathers as rivals for their mother's affections. The Oedipus complex depicts this feeling of wanting to have a mother and a desire to replace a father.However, the child also worries that he will be punished by the father for these feelings, Freud's fear of being called castration anxiety.

The term Electra complex has been used to describe a similar set of feelings experienced by young girls. Freud, however, believed that girls were not the envy of the penis experience.

Eventually, the realized child begins to identify with the same-sex parent as a means of vicariously having the other parent. For girls, however, Freud believed that penis envy was never completely resolved and that all women remained somewhat fixated at this stage. Psychologists such as Karen Horney dispute this theory, calling it both inaccurate and demeaning to women. In contrast, Horney proposed that men experience feelings of inferiority because they cannot bear children.

  • Latent Phase

The latent period is a time of exploration in which sexual energy remains, but is redirected to other areas such as intellectual pursuits and social interaction. This stage is very important in the development of social and communication skills and self-confidence.

Freud described the latency phase as one that is relatively stable. No new sexuality organization developed, and he didn't pay much attention to it. For this reason, this phase is not always mentioned in the description of the theory as one stage, but as a separate period.

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  • Genital Phase

In the later stages of psychosexual development, individuals develop a strong sexual interest in the opposite sex. Whereas in the early stages the focus is solely on individual needs, the interest in the welfare of others grows during this stage. If the other stages have been completed successfully, the individual should now be balanced, warm and caring. The goal of this stage is to establish a balance between the various areas of life.

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