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Erickson Stage Theory and the Impact of Divorce on Children

Divorce has grown conventional in today's society. First marriages stand a 50% chance of breaking up and second marriages stand a 67% chance of doing the same thing (issue 8 pg 146). It seems as if instead of working out problems and believing in love, people are giving up and throwing away all they worked on together for so long, thinking that their next marriage will be much different. By doing this they are hurting not only themselves but also their children and could cause them to have negative side effects later on into their adult lives according to clinical psychologist Judith S. Wallerstein. Erikson's theory of personality development can help calculate which and how stages are affected when parents get divorce. Stages 3, 4, 5 and 6 seem to be the most affected by the divorce because the main conflicts the child is confronting at the time are necessary to go through them calmly for a healthy development.
Stage 3 of Erickson's theory of personality development lasts from 3 to 6 years of age and it is the stage in which the child becomes aware of their independence and that they do not always have to do what their parents say. It is called Initiative versus guilt because they take the initiative to do as they please and at the same time feel guilty that they do not obey the rules given to them. The conflicting question during this age is "am I good or am I bad?". If a divorce occurs at this stage, the child might believe that something they have done caused them to do so, filling the child with guilt.
Stage 4 of Erickson's theory of personality development lasts from age 6 to the beginning of adolescence. The main theme of this stage is industry versus inferiority. Here is where the child learns to function ...

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...d by their parent's divorce but also have negative side effects later on in adulthood (issue 8 pg 146). Developmental psychologist Hetherington agrees that divorce can be harmful to a child's development but that they ultimately overcome it. Eventually they will overcome it, but this is most likely to happen past stage 6, in middle adult hood after one has decided whether or not they want to spend their life with someone. Erickson's theory of personality development can help one realize the stages which are mostly affected by a parent's divorce. The stages affected are stages 3, initiative versus guilt, stage 4 industry versus inferiority, stage 5, identity versus confusion, and finally intimacy versus isolation. The symptoms of having a broken home might not always be very noticeable until a person is peeled little by little and ready to fix their heavy past.

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