The concept of psychosocial development as expressed by Erikson is among the most renowned theories concerning personal dispositions in psychology. His believe was that personality advances in stages and goes ahead to explain the influence of social know-how through the entire lifespan. Among the major components of his theory is the ego identity development. As described by Erikson, “ego identity is the conscious sense of an individual that develops through social interaction” (Chapman, 2013). According to him, a person’s ego identity constantly changes because of the new familiarities and information acquired in daily life interactions with other people.
As we encounter each fresh stage of development, we encounter fresh challenges that can either help develop further or hinder our identity from developing (Heffner, 2015). In this sense, identity refers to all values, beliefs and ideals responsible for shaping an individual’s behaviors (McLeod, 2008). Erikson suggested eight stages of development, but the main focus of this paper will be the first four stages. These stages are trust versus mistrust stage, autonomy versus shame stage, initiative versus guilt stage and industry versus inferiority. In this paper, I will explore my own identity formation during adolescence using the four stages.
There are several characteristics that I possess as an adolescent some positive and others negative. The positive characteristics are as described below. The first positive characteristic is that I am hardworking. I work hard to finish up my school assignments as well as undertake my home chores in time without failure. I also study hard to improve my grades every day. The second positive characteristic is that am very social. I make friends easily and like to hang around with them to share opinions. This characteristic helps me in solving problems whenever they arise. This is so because the possibility is that one of the many friends I have will provide a solution. The third positive characteristic is that I am enterprising. I remember nostalgically when I was ten years of age, I used sell candies to take candies from home and sell them to other children in the neighborhood. The fourth positive characteristic is that I am trustworthy. This is evident from how secretive I am with my friends’ secrets. The fifth positive characteristic is that I am visionary. This is evident from how hard I work towards realizing my goals. It is very hard for anyone, including my peers to sway me away the goals that I set to achieve.
Some of the negative characteristics that I possess are as described below. The first negative characteristic is that I am hasty in making decisions. If I set to do something, I have a weakness of not sharing it with my friends for the fear of discouragement. Therefore, I tend to make a hasty decision and carry it out. The second negative characteristic is that I am always firm with my decisions. Whatever the decision I make, I stand with it even if am being talked out of it. The third negative characteristic is that I am aggressive. The fact that I am visionary, it is common that I must be aggressive to some extent, so as to realize my set goals. The fourth characteristic is that I am fearful of losing. The fact that there must be ups and downs in life is a guarantee that my losing phobia is a bad characteristic of myself because of lack of acceptance of the reality of losing. The fifth negative characteristic is that I am very inquisitive. When I see something peculiar or some unclear information, I tend to enquire more of it. This is a negative characteristic because it nay betray my friends’ trust me with their secret because of the inquisition.
I came to know most of my positive characteristics from my parents’ and my friends’ comments. For example the case of trustworthiness, most of my friends tell me their secrets and after doing so, they close with the remarks that they do so because am secretive. That they trust me with their secrets. In the case of hard work, I remember nostalgically when I was nine years of age, my mother used to say that I am a hard worker just like my dad. In the case of being enterprising, I remember the moments I used to sell candy nostalgically, the spirit I possess up to today. I came to know about my negative characters from my parents, teachers and friends. As for the inquisitive nature, almost all of my friends who confide in me open their statements of their secrets with a declaration of a promise that I won’t be inquisitive. As for the firmness of decisions, I was nine when I overheard three of my classmates say that I make firm decisions and there is no need for talking me out of them. This happened after they tried so many times to me sneak out of home during weekends to for rides without the supervision of a grown up. I always turned down their request whenever they asked.
During early adolescence, my concern was to get attention from my parents, teachers and friends for my excellent ability at school. Through a successful accomplishment of my concerns, I developed competence and belief in my ability to handle the tasks set for me. During my middle adolescence stage, my concern was to obtain my independence in handling various tasks and the development of as feeling of self. Because of successful accomplishment of this stage, I emerged with a strong feeling of self-worth, freedom and control. During the late stage of adolescence, my concern was the exploration of personal relationships to ensure an establishment of a committed and safe relationship.
One of the most remarkable events that took place during my middle adolescence stage and marked a positive turning point in my life was when we went to a party and all my friends go drunk. They tried to lure me into taking alcohol, but I stood firm with my decision that I won’t take alcohol. As such, I had to choose between taking the alcohol and losing my friendship, but I chose not to take alcohol. I crossed the boundary of standing firm with my decision despite that all my friends got drunk. This was a depiction that I was growing into a different and mature person. Looking back, I feel that I made the right decision since I did not abuse drugs when under age like my friends did.
My relationships with the peers were good right from my childhood. Although we disagreed at some point because of my aggressiveness and firm decision characteristics, we usually solved our disputes and moved on. My relationships with teachers were always good and free. These relationships made me a better person on a daily basis. Through relating to my peers, I learnt many social things that my parents could not tell me. Through relating well with the teachers, I got admirable grades. Throughout my adolescence, my relationships with peers always changed for better. As I came to understand that there are peers who do not deposit into my emotional account, I learnt that it is good to shake them off my life and move on.
My relationship with my parents was good. I was free to tell them my problems and were free to provide me with the appropriate solutions. On the other hand, they were very observant of my behaviors and never failed to correct me. They would even use reinforcement such as grounding and prohibition of watching the TV until I change my bad behavior. However, I hated correction at the time and more so almost became aversive to my parents for the use of reinforcement. I preferred canning, things that my parents would never do than reinforcements. As I grew up, I fully understood my place in the family and was to distinguish between the acts that would attract punishment and that would attract reward. As such, the relationship with my parents became better and I developed a sense of concern for the wellbeing of their love and care for me.
In conclusion, the four stages as evidenced in the Erikson’s philosophy could be resourceful in explaining my life from childhood to adolescence. Some of the things that can be explained are my characteristics, both positive and negative, my concerns, how I navigated out of a tricky situation, and my relationships with the peers, teachers and parents. All these aspects are discussed in details in the essay above.
Chapman, A. (2013). Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory of Human Development, eight crisis stages human life-cycle, for teaching and learning, child development.
Heffner, C. (2015). Erikson’s Psychosocial Development in Psychology 101 at All Psych Online | AllPsych. Allpsych.com. Retrieved 2 March 2015, from http://allpsych.com/psychology101/social_development/#.VPPx6-aUehs
Hlavaty, K. (2011). Adolescent Positive and Negative Behavior and the impact on the Transition to Adulthood.
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