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Psychosocial Development of Kids

by Eliza Martinez, studioD

Psychosocial development refers to a child's development in the social realm and how he fits into his world. This type of development occurs in eight stages that begin with birth and continue through adulthood. One stage must be complete before a child moves to the next one. Understanding these stages might make parenting a bit easier since you have an explanation for his social behaviors during each stage, which can help you resolve problems and enjoy your child.

Trust versus Mistrust

The first psychosocial state occurs during the first year of a child's life. The stage is often called trust versus mistrust. During this stage, a child learns to trust his mother or other caregiver. Sometimes this trust doesn't develop, in cases of neglect or abuse, for example. Proper trust development gives a child confidence and security, notes the All Psych Online website.

Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt

Between the ages of 1 and 3, a child begins to exhibit more independence by showing his preferences, spending more time playing away from his mother and making his own choices. If autonomy isn't fostered in a child, he might doubt himself and lack in self-esteem, according to an article by Doug Davis and Allan Clifton for Haverford College. This can make him too dependent on others and cause difficulty when he's out on his own.

Initiative versus Guilt

During the initiative versus guilt stage, which occurs from age 3 until age 6, a child learns to use his imagination and play with other children, according to the Child Development Institute. Restricting this type of activity can interfere with proper development and cause a child to become too dependent on the adults around him.

Industry versus Inferiority

From age 6 until puberty hits, a child is in the industry versus inferiority stage. During this stage, children learn to take pride in their accomplishments, notes the All Psych Online website. This is important because it gives children confidence in their abilities, which translates to harder work and better scores in the classroom. It also plays a role in the development of initiative, or the drive to do well without help.

Identity versus Role Confusion

During the identity versus role confusion stage, which primarily occurs during adolescence, a child begins to base his worth on appearance and abilities. During this stage, children might have trouble deciding on a career choice, according to Clifton and Davis.

Adult Stages

The first five stages of psychosocial development set a child up for his adult years, during which he goes through three additional stages. This includes the intimacy versus isolation stage during early adulthood. During this stage, a person begins to forge and develop relationships. During middle adulthood, or the generativity versus stagnation phase, a person builds a family and begins looking toward the next generation, according to Clifton and Davis. The final psychosocial stage is the ego integrity versus despair, which occurs in late adulthood. During this stage, people reflect on their life and determine whether they lived a successful one, which brings happiness or one that wasn't what they wanted, which can bring sadness and guilt.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

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