Integrity vs. Despair

The last stage of a person’s life can also be referred to as late adulthood. Erikson’s theory Integriry versus Despair is categorized into the late adulthood stage. People transition from middle adulthood to late adulthood, which is when they reflect the most about their past life. A person can either be happy and accepting with the life he/she has lived, or they can regret and look down on it.

Integrity refers to a person looking back on his life in a positive manner. By reaching goals and gaining a feeling of generativity in middle adulthood, a person would be more likely to have positive feelings of integrity in the late adulthood stage. They can look back and say that their life has been fulfilled to the fullest capacity. A person’s ego-integrity is also reflected on. They look back on the type of person they were in their past, and decide whether they are proud of that or not. A positive integrity can allow a person in late adulthood to be able to accept death when it comes.

Despair is the opposite meaning of Integrity. When a person in late adulthood develops feelings of despair, they look back on their life in a negative manner. They regret the person they were, as well as a number of events that happened in their past life. When people express feelings of despair, they are often unable to accept that death is getting closer. Despair could also be described as a type of depression, which leaves a person to sulk and feel bitter about their life.

One person I know that has developed ego-integrity was my grandpap, also known as Pappy. When I was younger, I stayed at my grandparents’ house each day when my mother went to work. Over the years, we had developed a close relationship together. We would sit on the swing together, eat watermelon on the back porch, build puzzles, and play checkers together. In his younger years, he was in the military. A gunshot to the leg eventually sent him home. He had recieved a purple heart because he was a caring, motivated, and dedicated soldier. He used to always tell me stories about when he was younger. He would pause and smile as he reflected on these old memories. What I admired most about him was his laugh. He always knew how to make someone feel better, and I could have listened to his stories all day. After learning about this theory, I would definitely say that he looked back on his life in a positive way. When he passed away when I was twelve years old, I knew in my heart that he lived a long, happy, and healthy life.


Generativity vs. Stagnation

Erik Erikson developed a theory that corresponds with the middle adulthood stage in a person’s life.  This theory is known as Generativity versus Stagnation. In the early stages of life, an individual focuses on learning, developing, and finding out his/ her true identity. When someone goes through generativity or stagnation, it is a huge transition in a person’s life, which can be rewarding or successfull. It is involved with the midlife stage because it is the first stage where a person begins to look back on their previous life, and then either accept or regret it.

Generativity refers to a person’s personal feeling of importance. When people express generativity, they are looking back on life and saying, “I made a difference in this world.”  The amount of appreciation expressed to a person can give them a sense of generativity.  In my final lifespan development paper, I interviewed my father so I could better understand a middle aged person’s cognitive, physical, and socioemotional development.  It seems that my father showed a great deal of generativity because he helps others by doing side jobs for them.  He believes that after the job is done, he goes home feeling important and as if he made a difference in someone’s life.

Stagnation is the opposite feeling of generativity. When someone is going through stagnation, they feel as though they made little or no impact in their life. Stagnation can also be expressed through a type of self-absorption. If a middle aged man or woman seems uninterested in other people’s lives, it is possible that they are feeling stagnation because they most likely already gotten married and had kids. It is likely that stagnation can cause depression because the person is constantly looking down on his self or other people. I feel that when I am older, I will not have any feelings of stagnation because I plan to help others in my life.

If I could fast forward my life to be 60 years old, I would be looking back on the life I had already lived. Considering that I hope to help as many induviduals as I can when I get a job, I would probably be feeling the same amount of generativity that my father does now.  By the time I am 60, I hope to make a difference in many people’s lives. By working in the medical field, I want to make a patient’s day better by talking to them or bringing them the things that make them the most comfortable. I would like to have contributed my hard work to the world someday. It would give me a sense of fulfilment if people were to thank me for all of the efforts I made in my life. Even to be appreciated would give me a sense of fulfilment.  By putting a smile on another person’s face, I would know at that moment that I made an impact on his/her life. Nursing not only requires work, but it also requires patience and understanding. Feeling a sense of generativity would always put a smile on my face.

Ego Identity

Erikson came up with an idea to describe the transition to early adulthood, which is referred to as a person’s ego identity. Ego identity refers to a sense of connection or belonging in a number of different groups. What actually happens is that our mind creates an identity, which is known as an ego. Our ego is who we “think” we really are. Included in one’s ego can be a person’s opinions, desires, memory, and attention.  Adolescents may constantly change their ego in order to be socially acceptable to others.

I feel that over the last few years, my ego identity has changed a few different times. Today, I would describe myself as outgoing, ambitious, and a logical thinker. I like to interact a lot with others, and have played on different sports teams. When I was younger, I was never interested in sports or group activities. I would have described myself as shy and quiet. Also, I used to change my dress style in order to fit in with the groups I was hanging out with. At that time, I had many more weaknesses than I did strengths. My strengths would include my athletic abilities, positive insight, and abilities to help others. I would say my only weakness is that sometimes I can be pessimistic and question the amount of self-efficacy I may have. I would consider myself as a young adult who is still trying to find their true identity. Sometimes, I like to change my fashion or music style. Could this be expected throughout life? Or is this me still developing my ego?

Also, the sign of success is a defined personality that people recognize as being fairly constant across contexts. I feel that this is entirely true, at least for me.After reaching certain goals, I always feel the same sense of accomplishment. For example, after taking tests or completing homework, I always feel relieved and as if I have knocked yet another task off of my to-do list. Although the feeling of success can be different for others, it is always the same for me.


Erikson’s Industry Versus Inferiority

As this blog continues, it seems that I introduce each theory as “Erik Erikson’s theory….”  However, each of Erikson’s theories play an important role in a children’s development.  The Industry Versus Inferiority theory was yet another theory introduced by Erikson to describe the stages throughout a child’s development.  Industry refers to a sense of competence, a drive to do something, or wanting to be useful.  The opposite of industry is known as inferiority.  Inferiority is described as a lack of confidence or success.

The term “industry” comes from the word “industrialized” which refers to working.  When children are in school, they develop their own talents and hobbies that can prepare them to one day have a career.  Children eventually learn the value of different divisions of labor.  They then develop a sense of responsibility that can lead them through the rest of their lives.  Examples of children learning this can be if they play a sport, instrument, or are a part of a club in school.

Inferiority is introduced when children lack confidence in their ability to reach their goals.  Children can feel this way if the parents/caregivers have not prepared their child for school or to be in other groups with peers.  When the parents fail to prepare the child, they may easily have their feelings hurt, which could cause the child to lack all sense of confidence.

Relating industry to my life is relating something that drives me to achieve my goals.  What drives me? One of the main factors that drives me is my family.  My family believes in my ability to reach my goals.  They always congratulate me after I receive a good grade.  They also show appreciation to me whenever I complete common chores or tasks.  In the world, I hope to give back to others and show them the same amount of appreciation I have been given in life.  I think at this moment in time, I  am making the proper decisions that will one day help me reach my goals in life.  I decide to complete my homework.  I decide to go to school everyday.  I decide to do what’s necessary in order for me to stay on track with my life.  When I graduate college, I hope to become a nurse.  After doing this, I will be able to help others and show them the support that I have always been shown.

It is certain that everybody has a list of strenghs as well as weaknesses.  I feel that my strengths include teaching others, participating in groups, and working to help others.  When I am doing these things, I feel that I am really helping someone achieve their own goals.  In return, this gives me a sense of accomplishment.  With strengths come weaknesses.  I feel that my main weakness is lacking self-confidence.  As stated in another one of my topics, I am never able to give myself enough credit for my own work.  I usually think to myself that I am not smart enough to do something, when in reality, I can always complete it.  The best way to admit my weaknesses would be to sit down and talk with a close friend or family member.  I can admit how I feel about my weaknesses, and try to put them behind me.  As a little fish had once said, “Just keep swimming!” and that is what I plan to do!

Erikson’s Initiative Versus Guilt

Another one of Erik Erikson’s theories is the concept of Initiative Versus Guilt.  I think this theory is very important because it explains the new and exciting change in a child’s development.  When a toddler grows into the preschool age, he will develop an initiative, or curiosity to socialize and achieve common or new goals.  Guilt is introduced when a parent scolds a child for his actions, resulting in the child feeling guilty or at fault.  Later, I will explain these concepts in detail.

When a child develops an initiative to be more social or complete new tasks, many of these ideas come from watching the parents or older siblings.  We can apply this theory to everyday situations.  Children can pretend to be a cook, doctor, or hair stylist by using props.  Children in other countries also pretend to perform the jobs or actions of their culture.  This imitation of everyday events can open up a new door for a child’s development.  Aside from just imitating the parents’ roles, children can learn from siblings as well.  They may join in during games with fellow preschoolers after playing those games with older siblings.  These behaviors can teach children about themselves as well as their social surroundings.  After learning how to socialize and interact in different activities, children can pick up an interest to play sports on a team.

When a child is imitating the actions of the parents, he/she tends to form a superego with the same-sex parent.  This means that the child follows the gender-role standards of their society.  For example, little Suzy would probably be more likely to help her mother cook dinner in the kitchen than she would be likely to help her father change a flat tire.  It is said that children tend to form this superego in order to avoid punishment, or what I’m referring to as “guilt.”

When a child disobeys the standards or performs the simple task in the wrong way, parents can cause them to feel a sense of guilt.  There is a fine line between correcting a child and making them feel guilty about their actions.  Parents must correct wrong behaviors of simple tasks in order to teach children for the future.  When a simple task is learned or observed, a preschool-aged child is likely to remember it.  This is a reason why people avoid using profanity in front of children.  They can easily pick up the words, or even repeat it, thinking it is appropriate.  If a child is feeling guilt from being corrected in the wrong way, he/she may not interact or socialize so much in the future.  In my opinion, parents should talk in a calming manner, and they should suggest for the child to perform the task in a different way.

Self-efficacy ties into this concept because it can be described as an ambition or confidence to reach a number of different goals.  When a child has a high amount of self-efficacy, he/she will be more outgoing and confident about individuality.  A low amount of self-efficacy can result in shyness, avoidance, or even mistrusted relationships, which we talked about earlier.  I believe I have a medium level of self-efficacy.  I do work my hardest and strive to reach my goals, yet I never give myself enough credit for my work.  I wouldn’t blame my parents for this, but I would blame myself.  As a shy child, I was not interested in sports or groups until around the age of 10.  As I have grown older, I feel that I have developed more self-efficacy because I am involved in different sports and groups.

Although everyone has different levels of self-efficacy, I believe it is very important to believe in yourself, no matter who you are.  People need confidence and guidance to succeed.  Whenever I feel upset or too overwhelmed with school, my mother is always there to remind me about “footprints.”  Footprints in the Sand is a poem written by Mary Stevenson.  To summarize the poem, my mother tells me to remember footprints because when the footprints left in the sand aren’t there anymore, God is there to carry you to the next set of footprints to follow.  In the future, I will give others advice to be confident.  In order to make your dreams come to life, all you have to do is look beyond the outer.  Look away from the obstacles you may face, or the road blocks that may try to stop you from reaching your destination.  I will help others develop the confidence, or initiative, to reach their dreams in life, as others have helped me.

As captain of the swim team, I led my team to victory in winning the section title for the 6th year in a row.

The Importance of Autonomy Compared to Shame and Doubt

As I read my Lifespan Development book, I came across many different psychological theories psychologists had created to explain the different stages throughout infancy and toddlerhood.  Autonomy fits into Sigmund Freud’s “anal stage” ideas, from his psychosexual development theory, that states that the parents have a hard time finding a balance when the child becomes interested in their genital region.  They must allow the child to learn some independence, however, too much independence can affect their future thoughts relating to the anal stage.

Shame and doubt ties into autonomy when the parents must step in to correct or guide the child.  For example, if a toddler is constantly taking her clothes off or touching her genital region, the caregivers must find a way to step in and wrong the child, without scolding or raising their voice.  Maybe the child had just learned to use the toilet or dress on their own? It could be possible that they are stuck in a point where they do not understand why it is inappropriate to rip off their clothes in the middle of the grocery store.

Shame and doubt is introduced when the parent/parents fail to keep calm about the situation.  By yelling or scolding the child, the child feels a sense of “shame and doubt” which can cause them to avoid the parent, which could even possibly cause the child to become distant or mistrust the parent.  If a child is feeling shame and doubt, this could cause the child to rebel in the future.  Confusion for the child may set in if they were never guided between right and wrong.  Leaving the child with too little choice can cause compulsivity.  A child’s temperament can be greatly affected as well.  Too much shame and doubt can cause the child to respond inappropriately.

Another way to express this balance is to refer to it as self-control.  It is important for a child to develop self-control earlier in life because they can prepare for social interactions with other children.  Too much control can cause a loss of self-esteem.  If a child is too sheltered or not taught enough self-control, he/she may feel shame and/or doubt towards his/herself.  These feelings can cause a person to lack confidence, as well as act awkwardly in public.  If a child is taught self-control, they will have a better self-esteem.

At this new and exciting stage in my life, I have looked back and thought about all of those who have taught me to be the person I am today.  I’m thankful that my parents had guided me and talked to me about situations, without scolding or causing me to feel shame.  I feel that i have the proper amount of autonomy because I can always “say no” in situations that make me uneasy or uncomfortable.  Although I am happy with the person I’ve grown to be, I feel that it is wrong to say I do not need any more guidance.  We are all human, we are all learning, and we all make mistakes.

The Importance of Trust Compared to Mistrust

Trust is used in every type of relationship today. To trust someone is to be able to rely on them for protection or comfort. In some situations, trust could represent having faith in someone, showing loyalty, or honesty. However, these psychological theories are not comparing the trust bond between romantic relationships. Erik Erikson applies the Trust Versus Mistrust Theory to the relationship between a parent and child.

I believe it is up to the parents to gain trust from the infant or toddler.  At birth, the mother swaddles and cradles her infant.  Psychologists say this method creates a strong bond between the mother and the infant.  As the child develops in the upcoming months, he develops an attachment to the main caregivers, usually mom or dad. This attachment is how I’m referring to the word “trust.”

To develop a sense of trust from the caregiver, the child must be supported and protected, among other means of attention.  When the caregiver is loving or expressing affection to the child, the child feels confident and brave.  When the child is able to develop this sense of trust, he will be able to explore and interact more, of course, with the caregiver nearby.  This type of trust relationship occurs everyday.  For example, an infant relies on his mother or caregiver to pick up, feed, or change him.  As the mother continues to do this, the child is more confident that the mother will continue to respond to her childs needs in a patient and loving manner.  The father is also very responsible for nurturing a child to grow and explore.  Fathers are more likely to play physical games with their children, which can teach toddlers how to interact in social situations such as school, sports, or other games.

When the caregiver fails to show sympathy to the child, this is where mistrust can play a role in the relationship.  The child can signal for attention by mainly by crying.  When the child does this, he is expecting the mother/caregiver to show affection and tend to the infant’s needs.  However, when the mother is impatient or stressed out, the child has a harder time being able to trust her.  This is why it’s extremely important for the caregiver to be sympathetic and supportive.  If mistrust between the two continue, the road ahead could be very rocky.  Mistrust can often cause developmental or relationship problems during the future years .Maladaptive outcomes are possible when a child is unable to rely on a caregiver.  Mistrust can especially be shown in the teenage years, when the child fails to communicate or show sympathy to the caregiver due to the great amount of distance in the earlier years.  These issues can not only occur with caregivers.  It can happen in school or in public.  While talking to others, the teenager could withdrawal from conversations.  Worse effects could occur such as mental issues or addictions to drugs and/or alcohol.  I can understand how one might feel alone because of the lack of support given as a child.  If I felt as if I was not able to rely on friends of family, I would shelter myself or be unable to keep relationships with people due to miscommunication.

To what extent is developing a sense of trust a cornerstone of healthy development?  I believe this is debatable.  Some say that a parent should nurture their child as well as let them explore on their own.  Others say too much protection and care can cause the child to be too attached to the mother, in which they would constantly cling, avoiding any opportunity to explore or interact with others.  Scientists have done studies here, psychologists have done experiences there, but what is the true answer?  I believe to combine the trusting relationship with the child being able to explore to a certain extent is the key to healthy development.  Children need guidance in order to learn, but too much guidance could cause this attachment, which is hard to break.

When the toddler/infant can trust the caregiver, we can also say they have confidence in them.  When the child is able to explore to a certain extent on their own, we can say they have their own personal sense of confidence.  When the mother and her child can interact by tying trust with confidence, the child can benefit by exploring more and more.  The mother should give her child the proper amount of space so that the child can grow to be an individual.

Throughout my childhood, there were many things I wasn’t able to understand.  Why would my Mother leave me for work?  Why do I have to sleep in my own room tonight?  As a child, it seems like such a big issue.  Had I spent every moment with my mother as a child, I would never be able to act as an individual.  Had I slept in my parents’ bedroom every night, I would never gain the confidence in myself to sleep alone.  Now I understand why my caregivers had done these things.  Without a doubt, they had given me the support and love I needed, but they had also given me my space to help me learn how to grow and “explore” on my own.  If I had not been given this, I believe that I would not have grown up to be my own person.  I would like to thank my Mother, Father, Aunt, and Uncle for teaching me to have to confidence in myself to grow into my own person.  All children should be able to have the love and support they deserve.

Although this theory is focused more on the relationship between an infant and his caregiver, issues with trust can affect a person later in life, dealing with romantic relationships or friendships.  If a child grows up feeling a lot of mistrust from caregivers, he may never know what it is like to be able to fully trust a significant other during adulthood.  Since I was able to trust my parents as a child, I feel like it has benefitted my futured as a whole.