Erickson’s stage of Basic Trust vs. Mistrust and autonomy vs. Shame and doubt

Erickson’s stage of Basic Trust vs. Mistrust and autonomy vs. Shame and doubt

Infants are uncertain of their world in Erickson’s first psychosocial stage in the first year. During this period of uncertainty, infants greatly depend on the caregivers for consistent and stable care. When this care is offered predictably, infants develop a sense of trust, which enables them relate well with others and thus feel secure even in threatening situations. Reliable trust leads to the development of the virtue of hope in infants. Hope is necessary for personality development since it enables infants to embrace crises as they arise. Failure to develop hope renders the infants to instances of insecurity and development of fear (Berk & Meyers 5). The basic sense of mistrust results to anxiety increased insecurities and heightened mistrusts of the surrounding world.

Autonomy versus shame and doubt takes place in Erikson’s Toddlerhood stage (Berk & Meyers 5). In this stage, children develop physically and become more mobile. This stage manifests between 18 months and three years. Children become more independent and assert openly this state. They walk away from their mothers, pick the desirable toys to play with, the kind of clothing to wear, and the kind of food to eat. In this stage, children identify their skills such as playing with toys, which is another sign of the child’s development into autonomy. This is only possible when parents and caregivers allow children to discover their limits within an encouraging setting, which can be tolerant of failure. By enabling this ability, children tend to develop and exercise self-control without losing their self-esteem. In turn, the children tend to develop the virtue of will (Berk & Meyers 8). Through parental support and encouragement, children grow up to become confident and secure in their individual abilities to survive in any environment. Over criticism and control without sufficient opportunity for self-assertion results in personal inadequacy for survival and over dependence on others.


Work Cited

Berk, E. Laura & Meyers, B. Adena. “Emotional and Social Development in Infancy and

Toddlerhood.” In Infants, Children, and Adolescents. (8th Ed). Birkland: Pearson Publishers. 2016. Print.