developmental conflict

Erikson “proposed that the life cycle is composed of eight stages and that the order of the stages is biologically fixed.” According to Erikson, people face a developmental conflict/challenge in each stage that must be resolved successfully to develop the stage’s primary virtue, consequently being well prepared to meet the challenge of the next stage.

According to Erikson’s theory, I currently find myself crossing from the fifth stage into the sixth stage of the Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development. Before presenting why I see myself in these stages, I would like to touch base on their composition. When looking at the fifth stage (Adolescence 12-18), we see that the psychological conflict is: Identity versus Confusion, the central question that we are looking at is “Who am I?”, the essential virtue is fidelity, and the important event is social relationships. Whereas in the sixth stage, the psychological conflict is: Intimacy versus Isolation (Young Adult 19-40), the central question that we are looking at is “Will I be loved or will I be alone?”, the essential virtue is love, and the important event is romantic relationships.

Identity versus Confusion, the fifth stage, reveals the current transition that I am in from adolescence to adulthood, continually forming and developing a solid identity using my life experiences, relationships, beliefs, values, and memories, which is developing a sense of direction in my life. Whereas the sixth stage, Intimacy versus Isolation, I have recently moved to Florida and am in the process of forming new deep, honest, meaningful, and positive relationships with family and friends. Because of this, I see myself in both stages.

My parents are currently in the seventh stage of Middle Adulthood (40-65). Psychosocial Conflict is Generativity versus Stagnation; the central question is “How can I contribute to the world?”, the virtue is care and the essential events are parenthood and work. My parents are totally in this stage; they are constantly caring for us, our relatives, friends and making commitments in the church community in helping future generations.

By knowing what each stage represents and where my parents and I are located in the stages, I can now understand why we interact with each other the way we do. As I see myself as an adult and looking for my independence, my parents do not see this because of their stage, which pulls them to want to care more for me constantly now. So we are like in a tug of war, but now after reading and learning of Erikson’s theory, I will be more patient with my parents, who only want what is best for me.

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