However, development of feelings in children of preschool age of a stage is not required to advance to the next stage. The outcome of one stage is not permanent and can be modified by later experiences.
Erikson’s stage theory characterizes an individual advancing through the eight life stages as a function of negotiating his or her biological forces and sociocultural forces. Is it okay to be me? Is it okay for me to do, move, and act? Can I make it in the world of people and things?
Can I make my life count? Is it okay to have been me? Existential Question: Can I Trust the World? The first stage of Erik Erikson’s theory centers around the infant’s basic needs being met by the parents and this interaction leading to trust or mistrust.
Trust as defined by Erikson is “an essential trustfulness of others as well as a fundamental sense of one’s own trustworthiness. The infant depends on the parents, especially the mother, for sustenance and comfort. According to Erik Erikson, the major developmental task in infancy is to learn whether or not other people, especially primary caregivers, regularly satisfy basic needs. If caregivers are consistent sources of food, comfort, and affection, an infant learns trust — that others are dependable and reliable. If they are neglectful, or perhaps even abusive, the infant instead learns mistrust — that the world is an undependable, unpredictable, and possibly a dangerous place. Existential Question: Is It Okay to Be Me?
As the child gains control over eliminative functions and motor abilities, they begin to explore their surroundings. Parents still provide a strong base of security from which the child can venture out to assert their will. The parents’ patience and encouragement helps foster autonomy in the child. Children at this age like to explore the world around them and they are constantly learning about their environment.