Assessment and Development Evaluation for [Pseudonym]

Erik Ericksons Theory of Development


Sean Mayhem is 3 years old, who has been undergoing some struggles in moral reasoning and developmental maturation. I have been observing the child for some time because I am a close friend of his mother. In one event that I observed Sean, he was playing with his classmates in kindergarten. He was playing with his toys and the puzzle box together with his three female and two male classmates. They were far apart from the rest of the class. The six of them were playing with the different colourful cubes in the puzzle box. The teacher was looking after the children in front of the class.

In the game, I observed that Sean was rigid and inflexible. He wanted everything to be in the right place for him. He was irritated whenever someone would take his toys away from him. Though he was friendly with his classmates, he never took his eyes off his toys. In addition, Sean was very domineering and demanding. He often took what he wanted including the toys of others. He cries whenever he did get what he wanted. Clearly, Sean was self-centered just like the other children. His emotional reactions to some conditions are somewhat violent or aggressive. His reactions suggest that Seans emotional development is still unstable and needs certain guidance. The reason for such conclusion can be traced to his inability to choose between alternatives because of his insufficient cognitive skills. Sean was indecisive when choosing between two equally good toys for him. However, when he chose one toy, he was still unwilling to give up his other toys even though he did not play with them. The situation proves his indecisiveness and self-centered nature of a child.

Based on the above observations, it was concluded that the behavior of Sean is a typical for a child of 2 3 years old. There was nothing extraordinary and abnormal about Seans conduct as a child. His behavior was within the bounds of the age category, emotionally and cognitively. Psychologists claim that the child should proceed with the next stage of his normal development. His routines should be streamlined and his choices should be limited according to the skills to be learned. Activities should be structured to decrease the number of situations where he would take over totally. Indeed, a child in this stage requires careful guidance.

Erik Ericksons theory of development is useful in understanding what Sean has been going through in his age. Ericksons theory proposed that there are eight psychosocial stages or developmental periods that a child usually undergoes. The primary goal of the child in every stage is the satisfaction of his/her desires associated with the social needs. Childs psychosocial needs must be successfully satisfied at every stage; because if not, the child may experience anxiety, worries, and develop social and personality problems. Thus, careful planning for the learning and care activities should be conducted to suit the specific psychosocial needs of a child. In this sense, every activity of the child ought to be structured to fulfill his/her needs in every stage of the development (Whitbourne, 2002).

The theory of Erickson applied to Sean shows that he is already in the conflict of the second stage of psychological development, which is autonomy versus doubt. Sean is struggling between believing in his abilities or being ashamed of them as he tries to mingle with his classmates. In this stage, the attachment of the child to his parents is essential. The parent-child relationship is crucial for the development of his ability to become independent. If the parent blocks or hinders any attempt of the child to express his freedom, the child may develop self-doubt instead of autonomy.

Furthermore, the childs will is gradually developed in this stage according to Ericksons theory. The development of independence would be acquired by the child if freedom is encouraged. On the other hand, shame is developed if they are not supported by parents. It is observable in Seans behavior that he has the strong urge to try new things such as crawling or walking. He is dominating and easily irritated when someone interferes with his activities. He is mainly interested in his own welfare. He also likes to manipulate his toys by reorganizing their parts. When a child tries to learn how to crawl or walk, it is important to guide by holding him. It is advised that the child should be allowed to exercise his/her will or else a feeling of shame in the relationship with others and a sense of self-doubt would be developed (Shaffer, 2008).

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From the perspective of Ericksons theory, in order for Sean to properly develop his own moral reasoning and eventually resolve his conflicts, certain activities are recommended. Games such as puzzle, play dough, drawing and the like would nurture his ability to be independent and develop critical thinking. The main objective is to improve Seans thinking, creativity and memorization skills, which are essential in this stage of development. The main resources required for fulfilling the development are puzzles or any colorful boxes that can be manipulated freely by the child. The parent has to guide the child whenever there is a security and safety risk involved. There should be less intervention from the teacher so that the child is encouraged to make their own decisions. On the other hand, playing with puzzles is safe because the materials to be used by the child are just boxes which consist of cartons or papers that are harmless (Corey, 2012).

In conclusion, it is very essential that the childs development should be in accordance with specific social and environmental contexts. The environmental context of a child in one society is distinct from a child in different community. Thus, Ericksons theory would be adjusted according to the cultural and environmental contexts of the community and society where the child is being raised.

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