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Ryan Isch


Stage #1: Trust versus Mistrust

First year of life
The first of the eight stages that Erikson talks about, is trust vs mistrust. In this theory, it
states that the wellbeing, and how you are treated in the first year of your life, will decide how
you rely on other people in your life later as well. If a child has parents who cannot provide for
him, or the child feels abandoned in the areas of life that are required, the child will develop a
personality of someone who cannot trust people later in life as well. The first year of a childs life
is one where they are very dependent on their caretakers, so if they feel as though those
caretakers cannot take care of them, they are going to grow into the next stage feeling as though
they will not be able to trust anyone at all. If all of the basic needs are not met, the child will then
develop mistrust for the world based on how the child feels that the world treats him. If the basic
needs are lacking, then the child will grow up mistrusting everything from the world, his parents,
basic needs, and even for himself, if a child leaves the first stage feeling mistrust, they are
usually bitter with the world and will have a hard time believing anything. (Berk)
My Life
I was born into a home with two loving parents, my father had graduated college a year
before I was born, and had a successful career as a banker, and my mom was employed at a
daycare. Money was not something that we lacked, I had all of the basic needs required in my
life. I was taken to my mothers daycare while she worked, so I had almost constant contact with
at least one of my parents. We lived next door to my grandparents as well, so I was always very
close to people who would always give me most anything that I wanted, I never really lacked for
any of the basic needs, and probably even had an abundance of things that I didnt need. I would
say that I was able to trust everyone in my life quite a bit, and as a result, when I left that stage I

believe that I left in a very trusting state. I currently usually believe people right away, and dont
usually require a lot of proof that they are telling the truth or being honest, so I believe that Im a
very trusting person because of how I was treated in the first stage.

Stage # 2: Autonomy versus Shame & Doubt

Second year of life

In the second of Eriksons stages, the child is beginning to move around some on their
own, they have found out that the world is a place that is a lot bigger than they had before
imagined. They are going to want to explore as much as they can in this stage. They will try and
see what the world is about, if they have any interests, this is when they will begin to start
exploring them in depth. What they discover and enjoy, will in turn help to decide who they will
be. If the parents of the child think that they are exploring too much, and try to stifle their
interests, the child will begin to doubt if what they are doing is correct and really who they are
supposed to be. If a child cannot explore their own interests, and what they think will make them,
them. They will grow up in life doubting their own will and personality of who they are. Parents
need to encourage the exploring, but also safety as well of course, so the child can leave this
stage knowing who they are and what they enjoy that makes them who they are. (Berk)

My Life
I am the first born in my family, as a result, I feel that my parents were trying to figure
out how to be parents, and they had all of their attention dedicated to me. They did not need to
juggle between several other children. I feel that they may have protected me quite a bit from all
of the struggles of the world, they had never had any children before, and they wanted to protect
me. And being their only child, I feel that they just gave me whatever I wanted, rather than

letting me explore and try to get the things I required on my own. And whenever I wanted to look
into something new, I feel that they usually held me off for fear of what I might get into. As a
result, I feel as though I left in the doubt stage. Even now, I sometimes wonder if Im doing the
right things, or feel that what I do is never good enough. I even have a hard time being sure that I
am who I am supposed to be a most of the time. It would seem that I have exited the second
stage in the doubt and shame phase.

Stage #3: Initiative versus Guilt

3 6 Years

As the child begins to discover that they can do many new things with their newfound
autonomy skills, they realize that there are many different boundaries and things that they might
wish to cross, to see the limits of life and what they can achieve. This is where the child will test
the limits of the parents and preschool teachers and see what is acceptable, but they are going to
want to try and do all of these things on their own. They will want to figure out what is right and
wrong for them to do in life, it is a time where the judgment of things will start to come out in
their lives. If a parent is then able to help guide them by demonstrating in their own lives things
that are acceptable to do, and encouraging the childs efforts to become more self-sufficient it
may help to give the child a sense of what to go off of when looking for some of the own things
in their own lives. However, if the parents or preschool teachers discourage the childs
independence, the child will begin to feel guilty of their own needs, and their own independence
of how they view the world. (Capps)

My Life

As I got older and had a new sibling now, my parents realized that it was a good thing for
me to explore, and to try and figure out how the world worked. They also just didnt have as
much time, with them caring for another child now. So my parents began to let me explore and to
try and figure out how the world works in my own way. I talked to my mother and she said that I
would spend a lot of my time during the third stage, climbing, and exploring things on my own. I
apparently wanted to figure out how things worked and what were the limits of how the world
worked. As I explored more on my own, I started to understand that there were a lot of things in
life that I wanted to understand more and more. I would go into cupboards and take everything
out, and then try to put everything back in again. I feel as though I left this stage feeling like I
knew what my limits were, and what I could and could not do. I am a person who likes to do
things on my own, and take initiative with a lot of things.

Stage #4: Industry versus Inferiority

Age six Through puberty
In the fourth stage of Eriksons eight theories, is the idea of industry versus inferiority.
This is the idea that children are going to start giving up on just having fun, but they are going to
start pursuing knowledge and understanding things in a much more complex way. This is when
school know is a good time to start trying to really teach the important things, as in this stage, the
children typically are going to want to learn, and even stretch themselves. They will be trying to
be responsible in an effort to find out who they are, and to live up to the responsibilities that
people have set in front of them. Elementary level is when the students really start to begin to
develop into who they are going to be when it comes to what they will be doing and their selfconfidence. The students are starting to become who they are, and if they were to have someone
shoot them down and doubt their abilities or put them down for being them, they will come out

of this stage feeling like they are failures, and they will not be able to trust themselves at all,
leaving this stage in insecurity. (Berk)

My Life
I grew up homeschooled, and as a result, I never had much contact with any people other
than my family it seemed, I didnt even want anything to do with people if they were not a part
of my family. So all of the acceptance of who I was going to be and what I did, came solely from
my parents, both academically, and then even in just recreational activities. My parents were
very encouraging in a lot of things, but there were also a few things where I felt as though they
just did not approve of who I was in several things. I didnt like sports at all, and they would
always try and get me into sports, but thats just not who I was. My other interests never seemed
like they were good enough, when they questioned my interests, or made me stop doing what I
enjoyed, I began to doubt if I was, who I was supposed to be. I do believe that I left the fourth
stage with a lot of insecurities, there are just many times where I do not think that I am the
person who I am supposed to be, and I really do not seem as competent in comparison to others.

Stage #5 Identity versus Role Confusion

Adolescence 19 Years

This stage is when a child is finding out who they really are in this world, it is very
important that they are able to develop into this person in their own time. Pressuring the child
into being someone they are not, will just not work at all. There has been a lot of pressure now to
know what you are going to do with the rest of your life by the end of this stage. It is a stressful
thing to look at to decide who you are going to be for the rest of your life. Throughout these
experiences and how you have emerged from some of the identity crisis will affect what you do,

but it will all come down to who you are and what you feel like doing in the very end. People
could decide what you will become for you, but that wont be you. If the child doesnt become
who they are supposed to be, and they go off doing things that dont come naturally to them, they
will experience role confusion. Role confusion is essentially just not knowing where someone
belongs and who they really are down deep, and if they arent who they are supposed to be, they
wont feel like they are ever doing anything right in life. (Erikson)

My Life
In my own life, I have felt pressured before on people asking me who I am, and what I
hope to do. As I was growing up, I really had no idea as to what made the most sense for me to
do, and I did not have one thing that I felt like I really had to do in life. I didnt know who I was.
As I started getting older, I realized that I have a passion and love for kids, and if I could use that
passion for a job, and even as an identity, I felt like thats where I was supposed to go. To finally
have a decided career, and something that I cared about was really refreshing, I felt like I was
finally me, I wasnt trying to impress anyone with what I was doing, or pressured into it, it was a
decision that I made all on my own. Its a big decision and if it was someone elses decision for
me, there is no way that it would have been my own identity, it would have been all someone
else, and I would have been left in role confusion. Luckily, I have found my own identity and
have left this stage knowing who I am.

Stage #6 Intimacy versus Isolation

Early ages Adulthood

This stage is when people are just finishing up the confusion of figuring out who they are
in life, and they may still have some doubts as to who they are. Once people feel that they can be

satisfied with who they are as an individual. They will then most likely begin to look for people
to share their identity with them. This is when people begin to more earnestly look for marriage
or really close individuals. People typically are going to look for love, it is human nature to want
to go through life with someone else, and to have some of our basic needs of companionship
met. There are going to be times that people just do not mesh, and they have problems. As a
result of having issues with some people, we may find that we then have a hard time trusting any
relationship based off of a few bad ones. Because of our mistrust, we may then lead a life with
someone, if it all works out, or we may lead a life of isolation. Not being able to develop deep
relationships with people, and that could be the result of several different factors, lack of trust,
incompatible, and several others. (Gurney)

My Life
I have never been on a date in my life. I come from a church that does not encourage
dating and other things that might be considered a little worldlier. It seems to work quite well for
everyone there, and for me as well. Never being in a romantic relationship before, there are
things about it that I do not entirely understand and get, but it looks like a thing that I would
really like to be able to be a part of someday. I am a person that needs to have companionship, so
to have someone to share life with is something that I would really desire in life. So I would
think that I could love, its just a matter of finding someone who would want to go on the journey
of life with me, but hopefully once that part is figured out, things will all work out, and I can
enjoy a life of intimacy with her. There is also the fact that really good friends are a part of this
stage, and I do enjoy having friends that can help you to have a good time, and can enjoy each
others uniqueness; but I really would desire to be in a relationship with a woman someday, thats
something that I value very highly in life.

Section #7 Generativity versus Self-absorption

Middle adulthood

As people start to get older, it should become less and less about oneself, and more
focused on others. As people mature and start to be able to see more of the bigger picture, they
start to care less about themselves and begin to wonder how they can make a difference in the
world. They start to ask themselves if what they are doing really counts in the world, or if they
are just letting time slip by, and wasting something that is as valuable as a life is a big deal.
People in this stage have figured out who they are, and what they need in life, so they are not as
preoccupied with all of their needs typically. There are people who do live through middle age
thinking only about themselves, this is the stage of self-absorption. It usually comes from those
who have felt as though they never achieved most of their own personal goals, or feel empty, so
they focus on themselves. When people only focus on themselves, and not how they can help
others and society, they are usually left even emptier than if they had been able to move forward
and were able to find some way to help others, and feel as though they had some real worth, and
were helping others. (Erikson)

My Life
I for one am not in the stage of middle life, but I hope that once I am there, I will have a
loving wife, happy relationships with my children, and a career where I feel as though Im
causing some good in the world. It would be a life that I hope would be self-fulfilling, and that I
will feel like a success in my own life. Once I feel as though I am fully who I am supposed to be,
it will be even easier for me to be able to move forward and to help the next generation to be
who they are supposed to be. The fact that I want to be a teacher means that I will have access to

being able to help children in all walks of life every day. I hope that since I will feel as though I
cant achieve a lot more for me personally, that it will inspire me to want everyone around me to
be successful and to be as happy as is possible for them. I will be old enough where I have
realized that life is fleeting, so I would hope that I can help others to try and achieve all of the
things that matter. Id want to leave that stage making a difference and fully in generativity.

Stage #8 Integrity versus Despair

Late Adulthood

This is the last stage, people are going to be old, life has slowed down, and they will be
looking back at their lives. This is where people will get the chance to look back in life in
retrospection, and wonder if the life theyve lived is one worth living. As people start to see
death arriving, they will be able to think of all the times that they could have made a difference,
and either did or didnt. If people have made a difference, and feel as though their lives were
worth the time and effort that they put into it, they will feel a sense of integrity and be content
with all of the things that had led them to that point. Consequently, if the life they look back on,
is filled with failures and feels like it wasnt worth it. Then people will go into a sense of despair,
as there is nothing that they can do about their wasted life, no amount of wishing will change
what they did or did not do. A life of integrity is what people are going to want to achieve,
sometimes it does not happen, and we should know that what we do in life will come back to us,
even if it feels like its just something that we are doing in the present time. Everything that
happens matters, and will affect us in some way, whether it be physically, or psychologically.

My Life

When I am on my deathbed, I hope that I can look back at my life and see all of the times
that what I have done has helped someone in life. I would hate to go through the adventure of
life, and get to the end and realize that I had achieved nothing. An entire life, one of the most
valuable things, completely wasted. I want to lead a life that will affect people, and help to guide
others in a way that they could feel successful and happy. A life that will help others to see how it
does not matter where you come from, and even if you have issues with some of the stages in
life, you can still overcome and become a person who can make a difference for many people.
That would be what I want to remember when I look back at my life, a life completely used up to
make this world a better place for all of my fellow human beings here with me. I want to die
someday, after some careful and deep retrospection, and feel a sense of integrity, that what I did,
made a difference, and was a life not wasted away, but a life that mattered for me, and for many
other people around me as well.

Works Cited:

Berk, L. (2011). Infants, children, and adolescents. S.l.: Prentice Hall.

Erikson, E. (1968). Identity, youth, and crisis. New York: W.W. Norton.

Capps, D. (2004). The Decades of Life: Relocating Erikson's Stages.

A., Gurney, R., & Moore, SM,(1981)." From trust to intimacy: A new inventory for
examining erikson's stages of psychosocial development."