Human Development: Basic Trust vs. Basic Mistrust (Birth to 18 Months)

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Stage 1: Basic Trust vs. Basic Mistrust (Birth to 18 Months) In stage one of Erickson’s theory, the first eighteen months of life is centered on the development of trust (Zaslow & Kirst-Ashman, 2007); that is, the infant must learn to trust and depend on others for food and care. According to Erikson (1985), the most important event of this stage is feeding. The infant will either develop trust if her caregiver’s presence and feedings are stable and predictable, or develop a sense of mistrust if they are not. As such, Erikson (1985) concluded that hope becomes the overarching theme of this stage with “trust born of care” (pg. 250) and highlighted the adverse effects of improper ratio of trust vs. mistrust throughout one’s life cycle.…show more content…
Moreover, Queenie’s stable presence and predictable nourishment [feeding] allowed Benjamin to confidently progress to the next developmental stage of life – autonomy vs. shame and doubt. Stage 2: Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (18 Months to 3 Years) During the second stage of life, the overarching psychosocial crisis is autonomy vs. shame and doubt (Erikson, 1985). This is the period when toddlers learn the essential strengths of self-will and self-control through accomplishing basic tasks independently. As such, toddlers begin to develop finer motor skills and assert their autonomy to walk, talk, and feed themselves including the chief task of this stage – toilet training. Toddlers are given many opportunities to build self-esteem and autonomy as they gain greater control over their bodies and successfully accomplish tasks on their own. However, if they are “constantly downtrodden, restricted, or punished” (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2007, pg. 258) while learning important skills and notably during toilet training, toddlers will end up feeling ashamed and doubtful of their capabilities, resulting in low self-esteem. Erikson (1985) emphasized that the most significant relationship at this stage is with the parents; therefore, they play a crucial role in the formation of their child’s sense of self-esteem and autonomy or low self-esteem accompanied by feelings of deep shame and self-doubt. Although the film does not delve into this stage of Benjamin’s
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