thread: Freudian Stages of Development

  1. #1
    Registered User

    Feb 2004

    Freudian Stages of Development

    Further to a conversation on hand sucking I thought I'd post this for you guys (after some gentle prodding ). I'm not quite a psychologist yet & I'm not claiming to be one by posting this, just passing on soming info from my textbooks. Also I'm not saying I agree with everything, just passing on the info.

    Freud says that we have a libido which at different ages focuses on different parts of the body. If normal development is blocked or frustrated at any stage a fixation occurs.

    ORAL STAGE Birth to about one year old.
    The infant derives intense pleasure from the stimulation of the mouth, particularly when sucking. In the later part of the stage the infant begins to bite as well as suck. They like putting things in their mouth and gnawing on them. A person fixated at this stage continues to receive great pleasure from eating, drinking, kissing or smoking. Fixation is said to occur if the infant is weaned too quickly or nursed too long.

    ANAL STAGE One to three years old.
    The child gets pleasure from their bowel movements in this stage. They may enjoy the sensation of passing a bowel movement or holding it back. A person fixated at this stage goes through life in either of two ways - holding things back (being orderly, stingy, stubborn ie "anal") or less commonly being wasteful, messy & destructive. This fixation can be caused if toilet training is either to harsh or too lenient.

    PHALLIC STAGE Three to five years old.
    This is when the child becomes aware of what it means to be male or female, ie begins to play with their genitals. It's said that if parents teach children that touching themselves is shameful they can become fixated at this stage. Freud says that if a boy becomes fixated at this stage he will have a fear of castration & if a girl does, she will have "penis envy" - but it's hotly debated & generally disregarded.

    LATENT PERIOD Five years old to adolescence.
    Freud says that during this period most children lose their psychosexual interest & will play with peers of their own sex.

    GENITAL STAGE Beginning at puberty.
    Young people start to take an interest in the opposite sex during puberty. Freud says that nayone fixated at the earlier stages has little libido left for the genital stage. He says that those who have passed through the other stages without a fixation can now derive their primary satisfaction from sexual intercourse.

  2. #2
    Tigergirl1980 Guest

    Thanks for that Sarah, very interesting (or scary) to see what we've got to look forward to 8-[

  3. #3
    froofy Guest

    It's always interesting reading his theories. We studied that in my child care course, certainly something to think about

  4. #4
    Colleen Guest

    interesting :-k

    lol @ the anal stage, i cant remember liking to do #2's but yeah lol (moving right along..)

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Mar 2005
    Bunbury, WA

    lol I come here to get away from what i learn in class!! I did all that in Human Development last year.. A fact I find very important.. Freud was addicted to cocaine... lol But they do give quite a bit of insight.

    Although maybe without special emphasis for hand sucking etc.. Another major theory that we learn is Eriksons's theory of psychosocial development (where as freud is psychosexual, with an emphasis on bodily functions). Unlike Freud, Piaget or some of the other stage theorists, Erikson's theory covers adult development from birth through old age. It makes some interesting reading though..

    Erikson believed there were eight stages, and, at each one, the individual resolved a crisis between a positive and negative alternative. Resolution of a crisis does NOT mean that a person rejects one alternative completely, but rather, that he or she finds a balance between the two alternatives.

    (note: the stages do have ages, but right now I cant remember exactly, and theyre pretty much only a general guide anyway, as people are expected to develop differently)


    TRUST VS MISTRUST (infancy) where the infant learns that either the world is basically good and can be trusted or is basically bad and can't be relied upon to meet one's needs. Erikson said that what is important is not whether you bottle-feed or breastfeed your baby, but that the baby can count on you not to let him go hungry or cold, to take care of him. Babies who have inconsistent parents, who sometimes feed them when they cry and other times yell at them, learn that people can't be trusted. This is pretty sad, because trust is essential to all close human relationships. How could you ever have a friend or spouse or lover if you couldn't trust that person.

    AUTONOMY VS SHAME & DOUBT (Toddlerhood) is the stage when children begin to recognize themselves as separate people with separate ideas from their parents. As every parent or preschool teacher knows, the favorite word of children in this stage is "NO!" They are learning to assert their own desires.

    INITIATIVE VS GUILT (Childhood) is a refinement of the previous stage. Children learn not only that they have separate desires, but also to plan out means of reaching those. Erikson said that Americans don't make as much of a distinction between shame and guilt as he thought they should. Shame is the sense of having been publicly exposed doing something bad. Guilt, on the other hand, occurs whether we are caught or not. So, children begin to internalize certain values of their parents, teachers, etc. and feel bad for doing wrong. This is actually very important, because much of what enables us to get along with one another is that we behave in a manner that is socially acceptable, not because we are afraid of being caught and punished as much as because we see ourselves as a certain kind of person, honest, fair, etc. and just would not feel right behaving in the opposite way. Why do you not lie when you can get away with it? Because you just don't think it is right and would feel guility about it. Don't get me wrong, you need to have initiative, too, you can't just sit around and do nothing because you are afraid you will do something wrong. As with Erikson's other stages, you want to strike a balance.

    IDENTITY VS ROLE CONFUSION (adolescense) occurs during adolescence, when we explore different possibilities for career, interests, friends, etc. At this age, adolescents are trying different behaviors and values from what they have learned at home. They may experiment with alcohol, drugs, sex, minor crimes, new religions, new hobbies. They are trying to define themselves separate from their parents, although, in the end, most adolescents adopt many of their parents' same values and behaviors as well as unique views of their own. Erikson is probably most well-known for his writings on adolescence, particularly the identity crisis. We will return to Erikson's theory in the chapter on adolescence particularly.

    INTIMACY VS ISOLATION (adulthood) is the crisis of young adulthood. According to Erikson, intimacy must come after identity because you cannot be sure a person is the right one for you unless you are sure who YOU are. That is, first, you need to define your interests, goals, desires and then you can know if this person fits with those values. Erikson also said that development may occur differently for women, that they define their identity as someone's wife, someone else's mother and that is who they are. Their identity is determined by the people (men) they have relationships with. If you think this is sexist (and I do) you haven't even begun to learn Erikson's theory and some of it is MUCH worse than that. However, I think you need to keep in mind that when Erikson was first developing this theory in the 1950's, some of what he said probably was true. As a woman, your identity, where you lived, what kind of lifestyle you had, who you associated with, was probably determined much more by what your husband's job was than is now the case.

    GENERATIVITY VS STAGNATION (middle adulthood) occurs during middle adulthood. Having established one's values and a close relationship with another person, the adult now wants to pass on what he or she has learned through productive work and through raising or nurturing the next generation.

    INTEGRITY VS DESPAIR (Later life) is the last stage. A person looks back on his or her life, is satisfied with what has been achieved, and ready to face death, having achieved integrity or is in despair, realizing that, at the end of life, he/she has NOT had loving relationships, has not met personal goals and has no other choice but to face death as a failure.
    Ofc, it can get a whole lot more complicated than this (I spent like.. 3 months learning the ins and outs of this..) lol But its important to remember that people can go back and forth through the stages.

    I hope this is useful too (and that Sarah doesnt mind for half-stealing her thread.. lol)

  6. #6
    Registered User

    May 2004

    Sarah... an interesting thing my sister (who is a nurse) told me was that years ago (not that many mind you) when they may have needed to op on newborns (open hear surgery, or whatever) they never gave the baby anesthetic but used a pasifier of some sort, which they thought acted as pain relief for them... EEEEEKKKKKKKKK


  7. #7
    BellyBelly Life Member - Love all your MCN friends
    Add Gigi on Facebook

    Jun 2004
    The Festival State

    i remember those stages according to Freud in my first year Psych course at uni. The next year, in Gender Studies, i actually got to read Freud's actual case studies of individual patients he treated. One young teenage girl Dora, he diagnosed as hysterical (cos she resisted her father's friend trying to rape her in a forest). Freud explained this as her repressing her psychosexual stage, and that she was abnormal for acting this way!!!!! supressing the stage he thought she should go through (by force at 14!!!!!).

    (This was something i studied 15 years ago so my memory may be a little fuzzy about some details).

    I would love to read some non-sexist psycho-sexual development stuff!

  8. #8
    Registered User

    Feb 2004

    Le me see what I can find Gigi

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Life Member - Love all your MCN friends
    Add Gigi on Facebook

    Jun 2004
    The Festival State

    wow thanks Sarah, i didn't expect a response, i was just having a whinge at sexist old Freud! But i really would love to read the alternative. Ta!