Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Foster Care & Erickson

Erickson's 8 stages of development are:

1.) Trust vs. Mistrust: (Birth-18 mos.) If the child is nurtured, and loved, he/she develops trust and security and a basic optimism. If not, the child's response is distrust and insecurity. "Is the world a safe place?"

2.) Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt: (18 mos- 2 yrs) Building on stage #1, a child learns to be sure/unsure of his/her personal abilities. "Can I succeed in this strange, new world?"

3.) Initiative vs. Guilt: (3-6 yrs) A child learns to imagine, cooperate and lead - or to be fearful, dependent and withdraw. "Watch me!" or "Don't look at me."

4.) Industry vs. Inferiority: (6-12 yrs) Confidence based on prior success vs. feelings of defeat and inferiority based on prior failures. "I can/can't make a difference!"

5.) Identity vs. Role Confusion: (12-18 yrs) During this stage of life, it is normal for teenagers to experiment and to try on various roles. "Who am I? " and "What does it mean to be a man/woman?"

6.) Intimacy vs. Isolation* (19-40 yrs) Arguably the most important stage for a foster care alumni. "Will I be alone for the rest of my life - or will I find someone to love me?"

7.) Generativity vs. Stagnation (40-65 yrs) Like anything in nature, a person either contributes to the world around them, or withers up in despair. "Will I make a difference in this world before I die?"

8.) Integrity vs. Despair: (65-death) Looking back at life, an individual either does or doesn't see something to be proud of: "Did I make a difference in the world?"

*As I mentioned, Stage #6, Intimacy vs. Isolation" is arguably the most important stage for someone who has grown up in foster care.

I say, "arguably," because stage #1 sets the stage for future development.

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