Erikson's Psychosocial Stages and Adopted Children Essay

Erikson's Psychosocial Stages and Adopted Children Essay

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Difficulties and Stages of Adopted Children


Erikson believed that people develop in psychosocial stages. He emphasized developmental change throughout the human life span. In Erikson's theory, eight stages of development result as we go through the life span. Each stage consists of a crisis that must be faced. According to Erikson, this crisis is not a catastrophe but a turning point. The more an individual resolves the crises successfully, the healthier development will be.

The first stage of Erikson's psychosocial stage is trust vs. mistrust, which is experienced, in the first year of life. Infants learn to trust in order to satisfy their needs thus developing a feeling of self-worth. When infants receive inconsistent care they may mistrust the people in their life. This is a very important stage to look at when looking at adoption and the foster care system. Children who are adopted in the first few weeks of life will probably not face may difficulties during this stage because their care will be consistent from the second or third week on. This is very different from children who are adopted later in this stage or who are in the foster care system during this stage. Some of these children will have inconsistent care thus mistrusting people in their lives. This mistrust will follow this child for a long time or possibly for the rest of their life. For example I was adopted at three years old and I remember my social worker coming by a year after I have been placed with my family to do the last home visit. As soon as I saw her I ran and hid in my closet because she had taken me away from so many places and my care was so inconsistent that I have formed a sense of mistrust of people. With the help of my family I have learned to trust and have successfully completed this stage.

     Autonomy vs. shame and doubt is Erikson's second stage of development occurs between the first and third years in life. During this stage children learn to be independent by mastering tasks such as feeding a dressing themselves. If children do not develop autonomy during this stage they will doubt their ability and develop a sense of shame. I lived in one foster home from the time I was one and a half to the time my parents adopted me at age three. I believe that I developed during this stage just as well if not better than children who are biological or who are adopte...


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...olation and loneliness. This is the stage that I am going through now and I believe that I am on track. I have friends and a boyfriend. My relationships are healthy, I know what I want to be and get out of life.

     Generativity vs. stagnation is Erikson's seventh stage of development, which occurs in adulthood. Generativity includes responsibilities such as raising children and being productive in a job. Adults who do not perform these tasks become stagnant.

     Integrity vs. despair is Erikson's eighth and final stage in development, which occurs in Old Age. Older adults look back on their lives and evaluate the outcomes. Those who view their life as productive and satisfying feel a sense of integrity. Those who do not see their life as productive will feel disappointed causing despair.

     I believe that an adopted child has more hurdles in developing than a biological child. I also believe that a child who is adopted later in life will have more issues than those are adopted earlier in life will have. I also believe that if the foster parents and adopted parents are have good intentions and work together the child will be able to complete each stage successfully.

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