The purpose of the interview I carried out was to help me relate the life experiences of my interviewee to the Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory of Development. The answers I received tallied to this theory to a great extent.
In Erickson’s theory, one of the stages of development is that represented in Industry vs. Inferiority. This is the stage that takes place in the early years in the school. The age bracket of this period lies between five and eleven years. According to my client, life by then is always full of fun and good moments. This is because this was the time that the children start making valuable new friends that they meet in the schools and other social places such as the churches. Through these interactions, a sense of pride in one’s abilities is developed (Erikson et al., 17). School is considered a place to socialize and meet new friends from diversified families. Studies were not taken seriously. All that matters during this time, according to my interviewee, was play and the good times that the children share. During this time, the role of the parents in nurturing the talents of the child is of great importance. Through encouragement and commendations from the parents and the teachers, the children could develop a special feeling of believing in themselves. However, during this stage, if one is ignored and not encouraged, then there will be a big doubt in the abilities of the child which may lead to them becoming unsuccessful. The relationship with the peers and friends is strictly formal as they have not developed the sense of attraction towards the members of the opposite sex. The family members, on the other hand, are regarded by the members of this stage as a source of security to them. During this stage, one thinks that their parents are the strongest people on earth.
After the stage characterized by industry vs. inferiority in the Erickson’s Psychosocial Stages, then comes that characterized by identity vs. Confusion. This refers to the period when an individual is between twelve years of age and eighteen. It is during this period that the children start exploring their independence. A sense of self is also developed and one suddenly feels superior and capable of achieving anything they want. If one is accorded proper reinforcement and encouragement, they are likely to emerge with some strong sense of self and a feeling of becoming independent. One does not feel the necessity to be controlled by the other family members or teachers. However, anyone in this group who is not sure of their beliefs and the desires will have the result of feeling confused and insecure about themselves and their future. It is during this time that relationships are taken seriously (Erikson et al., 19). Unlike the previous stage, people start developing some kind of attraction to the members of the opposite sex. The feelings that one develops during this period are so strong as one feels mature and may not want any directions on them on how to go through a given issue. Studies then start making sense as the children realize the importance of education. The relationships with peers and friends are always characterized by a lot of arguments as each member feels they are more superior as compared to their counterparts. Meanwhile, romantic partners are greatly valued and become very important to a person’s life. Family members become of less importance to the individuals of this group as they feel they have matured to take care of themselves.
Meanwhile, the period characterized by intimacy vs. isolation comes in. This is the period of early adulthood in which people start exploring their personal relationships. Relationships, according to my client, are the most important things during this time. During this time, one is tasked to looking for a partner and get married. This can be said to be the most difficult period in a person’s lifetime as one tries to secure a job and provide for their families. People engage in less-paying jobs hoping to secure the well paying ones. During this period, people become aware of how important studies are since they determine the kind of job one can secure. They get to love their partners more than they previously did. However, those that had a poor sense of self end up having less committed affairs which in most cases may lead to emotional isolation, depression and loneliness. The stage is also characterized by the urge by the members to make meaningful and lasting decisions on major issues such as love and studies.
Another important stage is that of Generativity vs. Stagnation. In this stage, people continue building their lives and focus more on their careers and their families. The successful ones in this stage may feel satisfied as they develop the feeling that they are contributing to the world. However, if one fails to attain this skill, they may feel uninvolved and unproductive in the world. People start becoming proud of whatever they have achieved and accomplished, taking much interest in watching their children grow. They also develop some sense of unity with their life partners. The value of education, at this stage, is inculcated in one’s children through explaining to them how useful education is (Erikson et al., 28). The relationships with the extended family members stops being close as people concentrate with their own families.
Erikson, Erik H, and Joan M. Erikson. The Life Cycle Completed. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997. Print.