Initiative vs Guilt Stage (3-5 Years of Age) - Paper Example

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Wesleyan University
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Erik Erikson proposed a theory of psychosocial development that incorporated eight stages ranging from infancy to adulthood. At every stage, an individual will experience some psychosocial crisis that will have either a positive or a negative outcome in the development of their personality. Freud, whose ideas incorporated personality structure and topography, significantly influenced the theory. However, there were some differences the most notable being that while Erickson was an ego psychologist, unlike Freud who was an id psychologist. Erikson focused on the role of society and culture and included the conflicts that occur within the ego itself. On the other hand, Freud insisted on the conflict that takes place between the superego and the id. Erikson asserts that ego develops as it resolves conflicts uniquely social in nature. This paper will look at the third stage, which is referred to as initiative vs guilt that is experienced by children aged between 3 and 5 years old.

Around 3 years old, children begin asserting themselves more often and this trend continues until around the age of five. At this stage, children experience a rapid and lively development stage. There is a lot of vigor and action and parents often see their behaviors as being aggressive. At this stage, the children have the primary feature is interaction with other children at the playground or at school. The children at this stage are exposed to a lot of playing time, which offers them the opportunity of exploring their interpersonal skills by starting playing activities. They also start initiating activities, making up games, and planning activities that involve other children. At this stage, the children are capable of developing a sense of initiative of they are offered the opportunity (Dunkel & Harbke, 2017). They may also have a sense of security in their capability of leading others and making independent decisions.

However, when the childs initiative and leadership abilities are inhibited through control or criticism, the child might develop a sense of guilt. The sense of guilt is inhibited through the feeling that they are a nuisance to other people in their lives. This sense of guilt may result in the child taking the following position. The child may also express a lack of initiative, which has a negative effect for the rest of their lives. The primary rationale behind the parent controlling or criticizing the childs initiative is protection (Evan et al, 2016 ). The parents want to protect the child from such aspects as developing into a social nuisance or become overbearing to other children.

It is imperative to note that the child usually oversteps their mark and this may force the parents to intervene and control their behaviors. However, this is very destructive to the psychosocial development of the child since the child will lose the ability to initiate activities on his own and may become dependent on others to initiate (Turns & Kimmes, 2014). The parents at this stage should not be restrictive to the initiatives of the child in an effort to boost their morale and confidence.

At this stage, children will begin to question many things. This behavior is a mark of the children developing a thirst for knowledge. The inquisitive nature of children at this age is important because if treated in the right way, the children start gaining confidence with their knowledge about their surroundings. These surroundings include the nature, the social aspect of their lives, and improve their socializing skills. The thirst for knowledge of children at this age should be quenched through meaningful answers given by the children. The answers children receive for the questions will also play a critical role in ensuring that they boost their morale. Subsequently, this will boost the childrens ability to be initiative (Sacco, 2013). However, there are instances when parents treat childrens queries as a nuisance, trivial, or embracing, then the child may develop a sense of guilt that they are a nuisance and this has a negative effect on the childs psyche.

If the child is present with too many opportunities of feeling guilty, they become slow to interact and has a negative effect on their creativity. However, not all guilt is negative and it is sometimes necessary. Although too much guilty is destructive to the childrens morality and positivity towards life, the necessary guilt is good for ensuring that the child has the ability to exercise control over his behavior (Gail, 2014). Necessary guilt is also manifested in the fact that children grow up with a sense of conscience that their actions have a consequence, which may be positive or negative.

The parent or guardian needs to maintain a healthy balance by guilt and initiative. This stage is crucial for the development of the virtue of purpose. In this respect, it is imperative to ensure that the child is encouraged to take on the positive behavior and discouraged about negative behaviors. This is the stage where many people either become sociopaths or people who positively contribute to the society. A good balance between the aspects of initiative and guilt will enable the child to make decisions that are not destructive and at the same enhance the socializing skills.

Communication Problems of Children of Ages 3 5

Goal # 1 Objectives (Steps to Achieve Goals) Means and People to Help You Achieve Them Timeframe for each Objective

Improving Communication Skills The first objective is to ensure the child is capable of expressing him/herself 1. Enroll the child in a school to ensure that he interacts with other people of his or her age. This is important because lack of social interaction inhibits the child communication skills. Some of the people might have significant input in the achievement of the objective include the teacher or guardian who spends most of the time with the child during the daytime when the child is most active. Acquiring communication skills is a gradual process and may take a minimum of three months.

Ensure that the child is capable of using language in an effective manner 2. Language is an integral element of communication and expression of ideas. The child will need to be exposed to situations that promote learning a language in order to foster his communication skills. In this respect, it is imperative for the child to be introduced to such environments as the classroom to enhance the development of identifying and naming objects and expressions. It is expected that the child will take time to make the connection between objects and their names. The best people to be involved in this objective are the teachers and the parents who should take the activities of showing different day-to-day objects and helping the child to name them. 2. This is a gradual process that may take time. However, depending on the childs cognitive abilities, the objective can be achieved within three months.

Improve the childs expression means including hearing, seeing, and talking 3. Improving the childs expression modes is an imperative objective since it enhances the communication skills of the child. Some children may have trouble in using their senses and expression abilities when exposed to different situations. The person most appropriate for problems associated with hearing and seeing is a pediatric physician who is best situated to identify if it is cognitive development impairment or a biological factor. Early diagnosis is crucial for ensuring that the child is given the necessary treatment and therapy to enhance their hearing and seeing abilities. If a child is having problems with speaking, the best person to approach is a speech therapist who specializes in children. This will help in the identification of the problem and make the appropriate counseling and recommendation to the child. Teachers and parents also play a crucial role in enhancing the expression abilities that will play a critical role in the childs communication and interaction abilities. 3. The timeframe for achieving this objective is determined by the nature of the problem. If the problem is biological, then this may take more than a year and sometimes it may be a lifelong situation. However, if the problem is associated with cognitive development, the development of the appropriate intervention may take less than a year and the adaptation period is expected to take a few months.


Dunkel, C. S., & Harbke, C. (2017). A review of measures of Eriksons stages of psychosocial development: Evidence for a general factor. Journal of Adult Development, 24(1), 58-76.

Erickson, M. E. (2013). Modeling and role-modeling. Nursing Theorists and Their Work-E-Book, 398.Evans, M. B., Allan, V., Erickson, K., Martin, L. J., Budziszewski, R., & Cote, J. (2016). Are all sport activities equal? A systematic review of how youth psychosocial experiences vary across differing sport activities. Br J Sports Med, bjsports-2016.Gail, L. L. (2014). Mentors, tormentors, and no mentors: mentoring scientists. International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 3(1), 4-17.Sacco, R. G. (2013). Re-envisaging the eight developmental stages of Erik Erikson: The Fibonacci life-chart method (FLCM). Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, 3(1), 140.Turns, B. A., & Kimmes, J. (2014). Im NOT the Problem! Externalizing Childrens Problems Using Play Therapy and Developmental Considerations. Contemporary Family Therapy, 36(1), 135-147.

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