What To Develop During The First 4 Life Stages To Avoid Life Crisis

Last week I summarized Erikson’s 8 stages of development over the lifespan. Each stage poses new challenges that have to be resolved to progress to the next phase or risking identity crisis and related problems.

Here is a more elaborated and modernized description of the challenges that have to be met, the virtues to be developed or the potential maladaptations contributing to developing a life crisis in the first 4 stages:

 

1 Infancy (0-1): Trust versus Mistrust

Significant relations: Attention and comfort from primary caretaker(s)

Significant developments: To get, to read the need of the self and others, to give in return

Virtues to develop: Hope, faith, security, curiosity

Maladaptations: Sensory distortion, withdrawal, insecurity

 

2 Early Childhood (2-3): Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt

Significant relations: Parents and other caretakers

Significant developments: To hold on, to let go

Virtues to develop: Will, independence, determination, exploration

Maladaptations: Impulsivity, defiance, compulsion, fear

 

3 Preschool Years (3-6): Initiative versus Guilt

Significant relations: Family

Significant developments: To go after, play

Virtues to develop: Purpose, courage, adjustment

Maladaptations: Ruthlessness, inhibition

 

4 School Age (7-12): Industry versus Inferiority

Significant relations: Neighborhood, activities and school

Significant developments: To maintain & complete, to perform, win & lose, to make things together

Virtues to develop: Competence, consideration

Maladaptations: Narrow virtuosity, inertia

Next week I will continue with the 4 last life stages.

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