Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

Assignment 1
Academic integrity reading response; Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

Throughout much of our history, children were seen as small versions of adults.   As such, the progress of their cognitive, physical and language development as well as development of their personality was largely ignored (Peterson, 2010, p.15). It was not till the early 20th century when psychologists developed an interest in child development. Since then, many child development theories were formed changing our ways of viewing children. Eric Erikson, the creator of one of the best known theories of psychosocial development, suggests that personality develops in a series of stages, and is largely influenced by social interactions. During stage two, Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt, toddlers learn new skills for themselves including self-toileting. Interaction with the environment may either help the child to build a sense of autonomy or bring on a feeling of shame and self-doubt consequently, loss of self-esteem (Kinservik & Friedhoff, 2000). Toilet training of a 30 month old toddler, the topic of this assignment, can be for parents an anxiety-producing experience due to the normal behavior of a child of this age; the terrible two’s. Parents often seek help. Nurses having knowledge on Erikson’s theory can support parents with strategies that can help them with this task.

Erik Erikson developed Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development. According to him, at every stage of life, the individual has to encounter new challenges. Each stage builds on successful resolutions of the earlier stages’ challenges, and for each challenge the individual needs to be ready (Kinservik & Friedhoff, 2000). Toddlers that are encouraged by their rapid motor and language skills, work towards gaining control over themselves and the environment in order to become a fully autonomous individual. Each time they successfully resolve new challenges, learn to master new skills, they develop not only...