Make your own free website on Tripod.com

The Awesome Erik Eirkson Site!

Home
A Brief Summary
a BiOgRaPhY: A dEePeR LoOk
How the theory came about...
The 8 Developmental Stages
Related Links
Trust vs. Mistrust
AUTONOMOY VS. SHAME & DOUBT
Initiative vs. Guilt
INDUSTRY VS. INFERIORITY
Ego Identity vs. Role Confusion
INTIMACY VS. ISOLATION
GENERATIVITY VS. STAGNATION
INTEGRITY VS. DESPAIR

Trust vs. Mistrust

STAGE 1

babynames_150.jpg

The first stage, infancy or the oral-sensory stage, is approximately the first year or year and a half of life. The task is to develop trust without completely eliminating the capacity for mistrust.

If mom and dad can give the newborn a degree of familiarity, consistency, and continuity, then the child will develop the feeling that the world -- especially the social world -- is a safe place to be, that people are reliable and loving. Through the parents' responses, the child also learns to trust his or her own body and the biological urges that go with it.

If the parents are unreliable and inadequate, if they reject the infant or harm it, if other interests cause both parents to turn away from the infants needs to satisfy their own instead, then the infant will develop mistrust. He or she will be apprehensive and suspicious around people.

Please understand that this doesn't mean that the parents have to be perfect. In fact, parents who are overly protective of the child, are there the minute the first cry comes out, will lead that child into the maladaptive tendency Erikson calls sensory maladjustment: Overly trusting, even gullible, this person cannot believe anyone would mean them harm, and will use all the defenses at their command to retain their pollyanna perspective.

Worse, of course, is the child whose balance is tipped way over on the mistrust side: They will develop the malignant tendency of withdrawal, characterized by depression, paranoia, and possibly psychosis.

If the proper balance is achieved, the child will develop the virtue hope, the strong belief that, even when things are not going well, they will work out well in the end. One of the signs that a child is doing well in the first stage is when the child isn't overly upset by the need to wait a moment for the satisfaction of his or her needs: Mom or dad don't have to be perfect; I trust them enough to believe that, if they can't be here immediately, they will be here soon; Things may be tough now, but they will work out. This is the same ability that, in later life, gets us through disappointments in love, our careers, and many other domains of life.

babies.jpg

gganta1@student.gsu.edu

marzipan_babies.jpg

We hope you enjoyed our site! Please come back!