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Stages of Social Development Essay

Social development plays a significant role in the success of student achievement. Social development involves learning values for children, along with knowledge and skills children will need to relate to others. It is important children contribute positive attitudes to their peers, family members, school and community. As I learn more about social development, I must understand the various stages and the affects it has on children. Erik Erickson developed eight main stages of social development. The first stage of social development is trust verse mistrust. This usually occurs in infancy and children develop bonding and attachments with parents and family members. Children begin to trust parents, have a sense of security, and feel love and affection. If a child experiences mistrust, they will feel insure and unsure of themselves. The second stage of social development is autonomy verses shame and doubt. This stage occurs during early childhood.

Children begin to understand self-maintenance such as toilet training and discover their own will. If children are restrained, they will develop a sense of shame and doubt within themselves. Stage three occurs during early school years. Initiative verses guilt. This stage is about purpose. Children will begin to create their social groups, form friendships, have academic successes, and challenge themselves. If children begin to feel uncomfortable or experience guilt, they will become anxious. School age children experience industry verses inferiority during stage four. In this stage, children develop social competence and friendship networks. Children learn more formal skills of life. Some of the skills may include, “relating with peers according to rules, progressing from free play to play that may be elaborately structured by rules, and mastering social studies, reading, and arithmetic.” (

As I take a further look at Erikson’s stages of social development, children will experience identity verses identity confusion. This is stage five and occurs during adolescence. Children will discover who they are, what they are about, and where they are going in life. Children will also explore loyalty with their peers. As children become young adults, they will experience intimacy verses isolation. Young adults will experience falling in love, maintaining the friendships they have formed, and discover who they truly are. This is known as stage six. Stage seven examines generativity verses stagnation. Adults will lead useful lives, and may begin to create families of their own. In this stage, individuals are in their middle adult hood. Erikson’s last stage of social development is integrity verses despair. This stage takes place in late adulthood and adults begin to reflect and evaluate what they have done in their lives. Reflecting can have a positive affect or negative affect, depending on an individual’s life experiences.

The roles of social development will play a part in how I teach. I will create a safe, warm and inviting atmosphere for my students. Students will begin to open up and trust me. Bonds will be created and I will challenge students academically. I will praise students for academic success and uplift them socially. My classroom environment will be culturally appropriate for all students and I will encourage students to be independent. I will be attentive to student needs, promote consistent structure during individual time and play, as well as hold children accountable for responsible conduct.


Erik Erikson’s Stages of Social-Emotional Development

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