Childhood Development and Beyond


Erikson’s Stages of Childhood Development
(Psycho-Social Development through the Human Life Span)

Childhood Development | Parenting 101 Success


  • Infants, 0 to 1 year
  • Toddlers, 2 to 3 years
  • Preschool, 4 to 6 years
  • Childhood, 7 to 11 years
  • Adolescents, 12 to 19 years
  • Young Adults, 20 to 34 years
  • Middle Adulthood, 35 to 65 years
  • Central tasks of Middle Adulthood
  • Seniors 65 years onwards
  • Conclusion
  • Erik Erikson: A Brief History
    (To read this brief history of Erik Erikson, the man,
    Go to “Developmental Stages of Childhood”“Developmental Stages of Childhood”).

Childhood Development and Beyond


Understanding Childhood Development will ease parenting stress by allowing Parents awareness the child behaviors they can expect. The following is a very brief overview of Erik Erikson’s stages of growth and development through the human life span. As you read these brief descriptions of the stages of growth and development through our human life span, you will gain immeasurable wisdom for your daunting job of parenting.

Nancy Sander

Hope: Trust versus Mistrust
(Infants, 0 to 1 year)

  • Psycho-Social Crisis:
  • Trust versus Mistrust
  • Virtue: Hope

This stage focuses on Childhood Development and the infant’s basic needs. The infant depends on the parents …”

Read about the caution and precautions associated with this Childhood Development Stage. Go to the Link in the Content section above.

Will:  Autonomy versus Shame & Doubt
(Toddlers, 2 to 3 years)

  • Psycho-Social Crisis:
  • Autonomy versus Shame & Doubt
  • Main Question:
  • “Can I do things myself, or must I always rely on others?”
  • Virtue: Will

Childhood Development of toddlers – As children gain control over elimination functions (potty training, etc.) and motor abilities (crawling, sitting, walking, holding toys, throwing, etc.), they begin to …”

Purpose: Initiative versus Guilt
(Preschool, 4 to 6 years)

  • Psycho-Social Crisis: Initiative versus Guilt
  • Main Question: “Am I good, or am I bad?”
  • Virtue: Purpose
  • Related Elements in Society: Ideal prototypes / Roles

As the child moves into and through this Childhood Development stage, initiative is added to autonomy. Initiative is the feature of undertaking, planning, and …”

 Competence: Industry versus Inferiority
(Childhood, 7 to 11 years)

  • Psycho-Social Crisis:
  • Industry versus Inferiority
  • Main Question: “Am I successful, or worthless?”
  • Virtue: Competence
  • Related Elements in Society: Division of labor

The objective of the Childhood Development stage between 7 and 11 years old is to bring an ‘industrious condition’ (conscientious, diligent, productive result) to conclusion steadily replaces …”

Erikson viewed the grammar school years as crucial to the development of self-confidence.

 Fidelity: Identity versus Role Confusion
(Adolescents, 12 to 19 years)

  • Psycho-Social Crisis: Identity versus Role Confusion
  • Main Question: “Who am I, and where am I going?”
  • Ego quality: Fidelity
  • Related Elements in Society: Ideology

Adolescence is the Childhood Development stage in which teens are ever increasingly concerned with the perception of others

(Twelve year-olds are often included into this stage of Childhood Development, even though they often lack some on the necessary maturity. Since the age breaks for each stage are fluid, too high, or too low of expectations may be placed on 12-year olds.).

As they make the transition from childhood to adulthood, adolescents ponder the …

Love: Intimacy versus Isolation
(Young Adults, 20 to 34 years)

  • Psycho-Social Crisis: Intimacy versus Isolation
  • Main Question: “Am I loved and wanted?” or “Shall I share my life with someone, or live alone?”
  • Virtue: Love
  • Related Elements in Society: Patterns of cooperation (often marriage)

The conflict between Intimacy and Isolation strongly expands Childhood Development to include young adults and emerges approximately between ages 20 to 34. Identity versus Role Confusion is …”

 Care: Generativity versus Stagnation
(Middle Adulthood, 35 to 65 years)

  • Psycho-Social Crisis: Generativity versus Stagnation
  • Main Question: “Will I produce something of real value?”
  • Virtue: Care
  • Related Elements in Society: Parenting, Educating or other Productive social involvement

The experiences during Childhood Development emerge as character traits in adulthood. Within this stage …”

 Central tasks of Middle Adulthood

  • Express love through more than sexual contacts
  • Maintain healthy life patterns
  • Develop a sense of unity with mate
  • Help growing and grown children to be responsible adults
  • Relinquish central role in lives of grown children
  • Accept children’s mates and friends
  • Create a comfortable home
  • Be proud of accomplishments of self and mate/spouse
  • Reverse roles with aging parents
  • Achieve mature, civic, and social responsibility
  • Adjust to physical changes of middle age
  • Use leisure time creatively
  • Love for others

 Wisdom: Ego Integrity versus Despair
(Seniors 65 years onwards)

  • Psycho-Social Crisis: Ego Integrity versus Despair
  • Main Question: “Have I lived a full life?”
  • Virtue: Wisdom

Have you ever realized that how we parent our children through the stages of Childhood Development continues to have lasting effects in the senior years? This stage of human life span development sees individuals …”


The goal of this paper was to present an overview of Erik Erikson’s stages of growth and development through the human life span, so that you have a more clear understanding of how your child’s behaviors fit into healthy development. Development over the full human life span includes Childhood Development that occurs while we parent our children.

With understanding the Developmental Stages of Childhood, you can adjust your parenting expectations, plans, and action steps.

Parenting wisdom comes with time, patience, practice, and being an active part of your child’s growth and development.

For a more expansive version of Childhood Development
Click this Link… “Developmental Stages of Childhood.”

To Your Parenting Success!

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UPDATED: Text updated May 14, 2012
Text updated September, 10, 2012

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