A Walk Through Life


23 Jul 2020

If you are expecting me to take you through the journey of my life, then that is what I am not going to do.

Now you may be wondering, what else is this person going to write about!

Well!, I am going to take you through the journey of all our lives.

It is so surprising that there is so much in common in all our lives.

These similarities make it easy for us to understand and make the necessary changes.

This is based on Eric Erickson's Stage of psychosocial Development.

Ericson believed that personality develops in a predetermined order through 8 stages from infancy to adulthood. 

At each stage, a person experiences a psychological crisis that could have a positive or negative outcome for personality development.

 These crises are psychosocial because they involve the psychological needs of the individual (i.e., psycho) conflicting with the needs of society (i.e., social).

According to the theory, if a person completes each stage successfully he develops a healthy personality and the acquisition of basic virtues.

If he is not successful in completing a stage, he may not be able to complete the forthcoming stages as well. He may indeed develop a defective personality,

1) Trust VS Mistrust : From birth to 18 months.

During this stage, the child needs to be given utmost care and his/her basic needs of food, love, affection, presence, closeness should be attended to immediately. This stage depends on how the parents/caretakers respond to the child. The child develops a trust towards others if the parents/caretakers are present and immediately attend to the basic needs. If the parents/caretakers are unresponsive towards the child, the child may develop anxiety, fear and mistrust towards people.


2) utonomy VS Shame/Doubt : 18 months to 3 years.

In this stage the child begins to explore the environment and tries to do things on his/her own. The child begins to show preferences to certain toys, dress, certain activities etc. Most common is preference to a particular dress. They want to wear a particular dress all the time. what the child is trying to do is express his/her autonomy in doing certain things. Some may want to wear a particular dress even if it does not suit him/her. This stage is the "I do it " Stage.If parents/caretakers always interfere and curb their independence, they may develop low self-esteem and doubt their abilities.


3) Initiative VS Guilt : 3 to 6 years

This is the stage when children start to mingle with friends and strt taking initiates in games, with whom they play etc. They are exploring with their interpersonal skills. 

Encouragement during this stage will help them grow with alot of confidence.

Constant criticism at this stage will make them feel guilty at anything they try to do


4) Industry VS Inferior: 6-12 years

This is the stage where the child tries to be competent in the eyes of his peers. He wants to be good in academics, extra curricular activities. He tries to show his abilities to his friends.

Encouragemnt at this stage will make him competent. However care should be take to make him understand that failing is not bad and how to learn from mistakes.

If children are not allowed to make mistakes by taking initiatives, they will not develop into competent individuals and may develp inferiority complex. They begin to withdraw from action.


5) Identity VS Role confusion :12 -18 years

This is the adolescence stage where the person searches for an identity. He is csught between the child and the adult and is trying to create an identity of his own. He feels uncomfortable about the changes in his body. He starts to follow role models has more peer influence. 

He is trying to explore what he could become in life.

Parents cannot treat the children of this stage as they treat children. They need to be given their space and alowed to express their views. They showd be given a good and patient listening.

Failure to do so will result in the child having a big confusion about him and his future and it may continue for alonger period in life.

6) Intimcy Vs Isolation :18-40 years

This is the stage where a person starts to look for long lasting and intimate relationships from people other than family members.

People who have good relationships during this stage will live happier and safe and committed lives.

People who avoid intimacy and do not commit to lasting relationships will fee; loney and may lead to depression

7) Generativity VS Stagnation: 40-65 years

 At this stage a person wants to do something that will outlast himself.HE wnats to make mark for himself. He wanst to work with a lot of people and groups. Here the intention is in giving back to the society and wants to part of a larger picture.

If a person is successful here he feels a sence of accomplishment and usefulness to the society.

Failure in this stage will make a person feel stagnant and unproductive. They feel like they have wasted their lives and will try and islate themselves.

8) Ego Integrity VS Despair: 65 years to death

If a person at this stage can look back at his life and feel satisfied with all his accomplishments and live integrity with himself, he will live a contented life .

If people will look back and have a sense of despair and a sense of not achieving their goals will live with a feeling of bitterness .


Eric Erickson stated that we need to be able to complete one stage successfully to be able to complete the next stage also successfully. They move sequentially.


Every individual need to be aware of all the stages as it will help them deal with their children till they cross the adolescent stage.

Adults also need to know when to letgo off children and also work on their stages.


Written By

Girish Panicker

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