Child Development Stages In Erik Erikson's Theory Of Psychosocial Development
Erikson has developed a system of psychological analysis in which he considers being throughout his life, his approach to the person is global:
He is concerned about the health of the patient before considering the disease itself, starting from the premise that good health always precedes the disease. He is convinced that we can catch up later a development that could not be realized sooner, and that everything can be healed. It focuses on psychosocial development and considers that the entire community is involved in the healing process. For him, growth is the path of a lifetime. The development of the human being does not stop with childhood, but he considers adolescence, the beginning of maturity, adulthood and old age as stages of growth.
For Erikson, the highs and lows of each stage of development are not the result of positive or negative choices. They are rather the sign of a search for a balance between the abuse and the under-employment of a gift.
This theory of the 8 stages of human development has its limits. Erikson himself acknowledged that we always live a little bit all the steps at once and that they are not strictly delimited in time. For example, we are still deepening the fundamental trust that is the first stage of development.
If you’ve watched the cult science fiction film ‘The Man of the Earth’, chances are you’ve been sensitized to some of the problems of eternal life. Fortunately for us, we do not have to worry about it. We all have a specific expiration date. However, we cannot predict the exact time we will meet our disappearance. What we can predict, however, are the different levels of maturity that we experience in the life process. And this was very briefly illustrated by Erik Erikson. Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development emphasizes external behavior that predicts our development and maturity. He presents them as eight phases of psychosocial conflicts, often referred to as Erikson’s psychosocial development phases.
Step 1 – Confidence vs. Mistrust
In humans, the first stage of Erikson stages begins at about 18 months of age. At this stage, infants must learn to trust others, especially those who provide for their basic needs. They should feel that they are cared for and that all their needs are met. For businesses, the first stages of start-up are a correlated period at this stage of development. It’s a time to take care of business. They need to find good incubators.
In the case of my business, it was their stay at Indiana univeristy, when the project (called ‘MT’) became a real product. But that would not have happened without the encouraging presence of Bachir who encourages me and my team to continue working on the project. (In fact, Bachir is also directly responsible for making me choose User Experience as a career path – more on this later.)
At the very beginning of a business or product, it is important to find a mentor or customer who believes in you. By going for yourself and hacking a possibility that can work in rare cases, but you still have to find the people who really believe in you. That’s what puts a company or a product of a state of mistrust in confidence. I had to learn that is very important.
Step 2 – Autonomy vs Doubt
During the young child, we experience our body and our environment. One wonders: ‘Is it OK to be me, can I go further? ‘If we are allowed to explore and learn, we develop our self-confidence. Otherwise, we doubt and are afraid. Both parents now play an important role, leading by example and responding to needs. As a baby, we wonder if we can trust our environment, if it is safe enough. We learn to trust the first people we see, usually our parents. If we experience fear, our brain is affected and we can doubt and become suspicious. The key to the baby’s development is his mom, who is close to him and meets his physical and emotional needs.
In Step Two of the Erikson Steps, kids learn the basic techniques to take care of themselves, including changing clothes and eating. If a child cannot provide for his basic needs and continues to rely on others to care for him, he may feel ashamed to see that other children his age are able to perform tasks such as to eat.
Most startups today are hesitant at this stage. They are unable to progress beyond the level of autonomy because they become dependent on inorganic growth. Even if they seem to grow up, it’s a false sense of autonomy. Any disruption of the market or the economy would cause them to collapse. There is no need to look as far as Slalom or our competitor for this to happen. Atlassian and Pluralsight are examples of cases where, despite aggressive financing, companies have been unable to support themselves.
My company was frugal and started in my apartment. But my partner and I were still at Indiana University as they prepared for our bachelor. We were like toddlers walking with support, falling and standing up. At this point, Ali and Tim were their first recruits. GC knew that we had a great product in preparation, but fortunately we did not have a lot of money in VC. We raised over $100k before their IPO, but by the end of the fundraising rounds we were already generating revenue. We were autonomous less than 2 years after our installation.
Step 3 – Initiative vs. Guilt
At this age, the child takes initiatives, tries new things and learns basic principles. He asks himself, ‘Is it okay to do what I am doing? What happens if I do that? If the child is encouraged, he can follow his interests. If he is restrained and too reprimanded, he may feel guilty and curb his desires.
As children grow up, they like to explore and do things on their own. In the third stage of the Erikson study, children can learn new concepts introduced at school and are expected to practice these lessons in real life. They know they can do these tasks themselves, but if they fail and end up asking for help from others, they may feel guilty.
GC has been brilliantly successful at this stage. We were still frugal outside but were hiring superstars like Arinold, Hakim and James (one of the best business people we know). The founders knew they were not coders and so it was crucial to have people like Hakim and others. The actual maturity of the stage was the acquisition of AOP, which brought marketing to GC. help to develop outside. This is a demonstration of self-confidence.
Step 4 – Industry vs. Inferiority
The child now discovers his own interests and understands that he is different from others. He wants to show that he can do things well or rebel. He wonders if he can do things in his environment or not. If he gets recognition from his parents and teacher, it motivates him to learn and work for results. On the contrary, too much criticism and negative remarks lead to anxiety and a feeling of inferiority. We learn by observing others, we are also very concerned about the eyes of others.
The child now discovers his own interests and understands that he is different from others. He wants to show that he can do things well or rebel. He wonders if he can do things in his environment or not. If he gets recognition from his parents and teacher, it motivates him to learn and work for results. On the contrary, too much criticism and negative remarks lead to anxiety and a feeling of inferiority.
Children are also becoming more competitive during this development phase of Erikson. They want to do things that other kids of the same age can do. When they strive to accomplish a task and succeed, they develop self-confidence. However, if they fail, they tend to feel inferior to others.
At GC, I looked around and saw everything others were doing and figured out how we could do it too, if not better. During this time, we published a multitude of products. We hired people to join GC as possible at the end of this phase of the company. While working on GC management, I found that despite the fact that the product is superior in some respects, we have always felt inferior to Slalom, which had the most mature product on the market. This led to many comparisons that were not necessary at this stage. We should have been aware of the stage of our life and know that maturity was only a few steps away.
Interestingly, GC went public at this stage of the company. IPOs do not show the maturity of the company but are simply a reaction to market conditions. Going public is like getting a legacy. There is no age where it is better to arrive, it is enough to have good people able to manage it. Fortunately, unlike others, GC has managed its public status very well.
Step 5 – Confusion between identity and role
During adolescence, we discover our different social roles. We are a friend, a student, a citizen, a teenager… Many experience an identity crisis. Who am I ? Where should I go ? If our parents allow us to explore and take our independence, we can find our identity. If they push us to conform to their vision of things, we become confused and lost. We learn by observing others, we are also very concerned about the eyes of others.
This is a crucial stage of development where teenage children gain their identity by discovering themselves and seeking to make sense of their personality. They may also face an identity crisis related to the transition from childhood to adulthood.
At GC, it was a time when society was starting to lose its aura and people were beginning to think of it as the next Slalom. The slogan ‘do not be mean’ was seen as a naive period of. However, at first glance, GC was sticking. At the same time, the apparent growth within the company has been accompanied by chaos. For example, Udi and I have disbanded a group of assistants serving as the interface between the founders and the rest of society. However, this meant that the founders were even harder to reach. In a sense, these two examples could indicate the Montessori education that Udi and I had obtained early on. That gave us confidence, but at the same time scaling up was not easy.
Step 6 – Intimacy vs. Isolation
As an adult, we better understand who we are and maintain the relationships that are right for us. One wonders: can one love? Should we commit to the long term? If we are not able to create intimate relationships, we can feel lonely and isolated. We think of others and what we can bring them.
Young adults are more likely to feel intimacy and loneliness because they interact with many people during this phase of their lives. It’s not always a success for every young adult to find someone to share a commitment to with their life. Some may choose to spend the rest of their lives as single people.
At this point, GC could see that, even if we had progressed in the field, we did not touch the advanced tech side of the business. There were a number of very big mistakes and this was finally solved when GC partnered another company. For me, that’s what makes GC what it is today. Although not a network in the true sense of the word, it is the partnership of GC allowed us to learn a lot and access a huge number of network.
Step 7 – Generativity vs. Stagnations
When we reach midlife, we accept who we are, our strengths and our limitations. We stand back and want to contribute to society. We want to set an example for the future generation and bequeath something. If we have not settled some inner conflicts, we can be pessimistic and stagnant in our lives. One may ask, ‘How to contribute’, ‘How to lead by example? What will I leave behind? ‘
Adults in their forties and fifties tend to find meaning in their work. They feel like at this stage of their lives they should be able to contribute meaningfully to society and leave a legacy. If they do not succeed, they feel that they are an unproductive member of society.
I think GC was ahead of everyone in terms of generativity. We benefited from the excellent of our team and a number of technical contributions, including those from Data Analysis tools and ML development, which paved the way for today’s cloud platforms.
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