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Erik Erikson’s 8 Stages of Development

Erik Erikson identified 8 main stages people go though in their life.

1) Basic Trust vs. Mistrust, 0-18 month

Kids learn, that if they can trust someone now, they can also trust people in the future. If they experience fear, they won’t be able trust others in the future. Key influencer: mother

2) Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt, 18 month - 3 years

Kids experience themselves and mechanism of their body, such as their genitals. If they are allowed to do that they develop self-confidence, otherwise they develop self-doubt and shame. Key influencer: parents

3) Initiative vs. Guilt, 4-6 years

Kids start to explore the outside world and need to be allowed to go out. If you don’t allow it to go out of home, they might feel guilt for their own actions and develop self-doubt. Key influencer: family

4) Industry vs. Inferiority, 6-11 years (Puberty)

Kids need to experience success with the skills they are developing, otherwise we risk that they carry the fear of failure into adulthood. Key influencer: neighbours, school friends

5) Identity Achievement vs. Role Confusion, Adolescence

Children learn different roles (they are children, adults, students, friends) and try to bring all roles into one single identity. If they fail to do so, they might experience ego confusion – “being a bit lost”. Key influencer: peers and role models.

6) Intimacy vs. Isolation, Early Adulthood – Thirties

It the stage in which we try to become emotionally and sexually intimate with others. Due to the many roles one now might play, some get confused of who they are and then are afraid to open themselves up and to share their feelings – then they might end up feeling isolated and lonely. Key influencer: friends and partners

7) Generatively vs. Stagnation - Middle Adulthood (forties and fifties)

People direct their energy to social change. They turn to become more charitable. They donate their time and money to do Good. But if they did not resolve some earlier conflicts in their lives, they can become too self-obsessed and then they don’t grow and experience isolation. Key influencer: household, workmates

8) Ego Integrity vs. Despair, Late Adulthood (fifties up)

People look back over their lives and judge it. If they can look back positively, they feel good about their lives, if not they experience a sense of despair. As some people start counting down, they ask themselves “how well have I done?” Key influencer: mankind, my-kind Video by Rory Lees-Oakes