Erikson’s Timeline Erik Erikson’s approach to personality development is different from Jane Loevinger’s theory. Although their approaches are different their perspectives corresponds in how human individuality develop across the lifespan. Loevingers theory brings attention to how people perceive their experiences and make sense of them; whereas, Erikson’s psychosocial development is focused more on the “what” instead of the “how. ” He questions what types of psychosocial dilemmas a person confronts in his or her lifetime.
Erikson proposes that important facets of human individuality are best understood in developmental time. Adolescence and young adulthood is the fifth stage in Erikson’s developmental design. This stage of identity versus role confusion is a period of immense questioning. Generativity versus stagnation is the seventh stage in Erikson’s developmental design. It is the period that comes after young adulthood but before the “senior” years (McAdams, 2006). One important characteristics of Generativity versus stagnation is the need to care for and be needed by others. I am experiencing this stage.
Other characteristics of generative expression are bringing up children with good character and integrity, and the need to pass on family values to the next generation (McAdams, 2006). How I can leave a legacy for succeeding generations is the central question posed during this period in my life. “How can I fashion a gift”? (McAdams, 2006, p. 348). I have sought to answer that question in several ways. I have been keeping a journal for the past 10 years because I want to share significant peak experiences with my children, grandchildren, and succeeding generations.
I want them to know my challenges, my successes, and my insights into major life events. Further, I can continue the legacy my parents and grandparents passed down to me by teaching my offspring how to make quilts, my grandmother’s favorite pie, and quote my father’s favorite poems. My son, David is in the adolescence and young adult stage. He is a young father of a 16 month old boy. The psychosocial issue of this stage is identity versus role confusion.
This stage is characterized by questioning “who am I” and “how do I fit in this adult world” Additionally, David is questioning “what type of parent am I” and, “how will I raise my son. ” He is questioning the values and beliefs taught to him during childhood. David’s desire to express his unique “self” seems to be in conflict with his desire to conform to what his family, and society in general expects of him (McAdams, 2006). David recently informed his father and me that he will not “force” his son to go to church or be a part of organized religion.
He expressed his displeasure with hypocritical leadership in churches and the old-fashioned principles they teach. Although his young family does not attend church, I have observed David reading his son bible stories and singing biblical songs to his son that we taught him. He seems to be resolving his conflict by deciding which values and traditions he will relinquish and which ones he will pass on to his son. In Erik Erikson’s Generativity versus stagnation stage adults feel the need to be needed and the need to care for others.