Eriksons Theory Asserts that Personality Is Developed Within Eight Stages Discussion



Assessment Description

You are a clinical mental health counselor specializing in the treatment of children. You have decided to implement an 8-week parenting program for divorcees. How would you teach parenting skills from the perspective of either (choose) Erickson’s theory or Piaget’s theory with the participants regarding each age level of needs: preschool, school-age, and adolescent. Some of the participants hope to begin family sessions with you once the program has ended. How will you evaluate the impact of the divorce on children in each age level: preschool, school-age, and adolescent?

This discussion question is informed by the following CACREP Standard: 2.F.3.f. Systemic and environmental factors that affect human development, functioning, and behavior.


Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2016). Human development: A life-span view (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN-13: 9781305116641

Daphne WashingtonPosted DateCounseling using Erickson’s theory will require the counselor to know the developmental stages that the child will be in at the various growth steps. For instance, preschools, according to Erickson’s theory, are usually at the child’s Autonomy vs. Shame stage. The phase is where the child seeks to develop skills for making their personal decisions. The stage may include helping the child develop power over their bodies on potty usage and foods to eat. Professionals should counsel the parents about the needs of helping the child decide on simple matters like foot and picking clothes (Orenstein & Lewis, 2020). Usually, when parents need some control, they must allow the children to participate in their decisions to develop some freedom. At school-age, the theory posits that children undergo Industry vs. Inferiority. Industry happens when the child develops competence and is able to accomplish things like homework. At the time, the child has a bigger social world, and they meet peers in school with who they need to relate. Meeting peers and new people causes the development of pride and self, and therefore, they have to be helped to be comfortable with themselves and develop self-esteem (Dunkel & Harbke, 2017). Parents need to help individuals at this stage to feel competent. Hence, as a parent, one needs to help the children feel competent to develop a good self-concept. In adolescence, parents the counselor should consider the Identity vs. Confusion of Erickson’s model (Dunkel & Harbke, 2017). At the time, children are struggling to determine their identity concerning sexuality and other issues. Children may need parental reinforcement to maneuver the stage well.It may be important to measure how much the divorce has impacted the various stages. The child’s success in the stages determines if they have gotten their needs or the divorce has adversely impacted them. For instance, the child should be rated based on their independence for preschoolers. At school age, self-esteem is important (Dunkel & Harbke, 2017). children who develop well at the level will be confident and have high self-worth. At adolescence, children should be accessed based on their perception of their identity. The impacts at the stages should base on how successfully they maneuver the challenges they encounter at the stages.

Nikolina WoodruffErickson’s psychosocial theory suggests that the development of personalities is determined based on the interaction of both external societal influences and those psychological influences internally. From this perspective, teaching divorcees about the stages of development at preschool, school-age, and adolescent age levels, can help them to understand and develop an awareness of their child’s behaviors. Counselors can also reassure parents that the challenges or crises associated with each stage are not hopeless or a catastrophe and can be considered a turning point and if managed in a healthy way, can allow for immediate positive outcomes and movement to personal growth for the child (Wilson, 2011). At the preschool level, counselors can introduce parents to the theory of autonomy vs. shame that children experience. Children learn from ages one to three that they can control their actions, seek to be independent, and are consequently met with doubt/shame as the child may not be able to accomplish everything themselves. Teaching parents to allow their children to develop the willpower to move intentionally in their world and learn the positive and negative consequences of their actions is a healthy process for their development.At the school-age level, counselors can teach about initiative vs. guilt, where children develop an understanding of trying new things and failing at them. Learning this, parents develop an understanding that their children seek to find a balance between individual initiative and the willingness to cooperate with others (Kail and Cavanaugh, 2016). Lastly, at the adolescent level, parents can learn about identity vs. identity confusion where children experiment with different roles and behaviors to establish a sense of self and develop their identity. Parents should be patient and understanding of their adolescent children as their behaviors are not only being influenced by the divorce but their environments, friends, and family. At each age level, counselors can evaluate the impact of the divorce on children by monitoring how the new or already established crises developed from the divorce dictate how the child reacts. For example, the child can behave more independently when with the mother for their weekend versus with the father, who overly controls the child’s freedoms. Emily YostImplementing a parenting program for divorcees, that is centered around Erikson’s developmental theory could allow parents to gain the necessary skills they need to help their child develop successfully. In addition to teaching parents about Erikson’s developmental stages, I would also teach them Erikson’s philosophy that even though a child may go through a life crisis, they are still able to establish healthy development, when supported properly by parents and others. While discussing the preschool age, parents would learn about the initiative vs guilt stage and how during this stage children strive to develop a sense of purpose. It would be important to note how children achieve this by learning how to take initiative through playing with other kids, taking responsibility for themselves, and trying out new things on their own (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2016). After teaching on this, I would explain to parents the importance of them encouraging and supporting their child to take initiative and try out new things, such as selecting what shoes to wear or brushing their teeth by themselves. Furthermore, when discussing the school age, I would inform parents about the industry vs inferior stage, and how during this stage children aim to develop a sense of competence. In this stage, children want to show they can achieve and accomplish complex tasks (Sprout, 2017). I would teach parents about the importance of them recognizing and praising their child for being able to complete complex tasks (Sprout, 2017). Additionally, when addressing adolescent age, I would discuss the identity vs role confusion stage. When a child is in this stage they look to gain the virtue of fidelity. Children at this stage may struggle with discovering who they are and what their identity is. Therefore, when discussing this stage in the parenting program, parents would learn how to help their child discover their true identity, by giving them a healthy amount of space to explore different types of identities (Sprout, 2017). The way I would evaluate how divorce may have impacted the child’s development is if the child was able to achieve the basic virtues and positive attributes of each of the stages ranging from preschool age to adolescence.   

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