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My mother often said when I was a young girl “You will understand yourself when you will become a mother.” She was absolutely correct. I am able to understand all the joy and the pain , aspiration and inspiration , needs and wants now as a mother of a beautiful daughter.

However, all of you need not necessarily wait till you experience parenthood themselves. There is a lot to learn from our growing up years and a lot to heal too. It’s interesting to see that how we imitate our parents, talk like them, think like them simultaneously asking our children to create their own mark.

My understanding grew when I studied Erik Erikson’s work on “Stages of Development”. Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development focus on the resolution of different crisis to become a successful, complete person. According to Erik Erikson’s theory, we all encounter a certain crisis that contributes to our psychosocial growth at each of Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. Whenever we experience such crisis, we are left with no choice but to face it and think of ways to resolve it. Failure to overcome such crisis may lead to significant impact on our psychosocial development.

Stage One – Trust vs Mistrust

The first stage of the Erikson stages starts from infant to about 18 months. At this stage, infants must learn how to trust others, particularly those who care for their basic needs. They should feel that they are being cared for and that all their needs are met.

Small babies are new to this world and may view the outside world as threatening. Depending on how they are treated by people around them, the sense of threat can be replaced by trust. When this happens, they gain a sense of security and begin to learn to trust people around them.

The first and most important person to teach an infant about trust is usually the parents. Parents are expected to take good care of their children and attend to their needs. For example, the parents of a baby provide him with food, shelter, sustenance and make him feel very comfortable and secure.

I am sure we all do that however think again how many times you have snatched that toy from the hands of your baby? I know you are thinking of germs but the child associates it as a shock. The child learns by identification and association. Therefore, one needs to just replace it with a lot of care and support.

Stage Two – Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt

At stage two of the Erikson stages, children should be taught the basic ways of taking care of themselves, including changing their clothes and feeding themselves. If a child can’t take care of his own basic needs and continue to rely on others to take care of him, he may feel shameful when he sees that other kids of his own age are able to perform tasks such as feeding themselves.

Stage Three – Initiative vs Guilt

As children continue to grow up, they like to explore and do things on their own. At stage three of the Erikson stages, children can learn new concepts introduced in school and are expected to practice these lessons in real life. They know that they can accomplish these tasks on their own, but if they fail to do so and end up asking for assistance from others, they may feel a sense of guilt.

Stage Four – Industry vs Inferiority

https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=justanothed0d-20&l=am2&o=1&a=039331068XAt Erikson’s psychosocial stage four, children mature and their level of self-awareness increases. They understand logical reasoning, scientific facts, and other matters that are typically taught in school.

Children also become more competitive during this Erikson stage of development. They want to do things that other children of the same age can do. When they make the effort to perform a task and succeed, they develop self-confidence. However, if they fail, they tend to feel that they are inferior to others.

Stage Six – Intimacy vs Isolation

Stage six of the Erikson stages is very apparent for young adults who are in their 30s. People at this stage become worried about finding the right partner and fear that if they fail to do so, they may have to spend the rest of their lives alone.

Young adults are most vulnerable to feel intimacy and loneliness because they interact with a lot of people in this phase of their lives. It’s not always a success story for every young adult to find someone with whom they can share a lifelong commitment. Some may choose to spend the rest of their lives as singles.

I am sure you all are keen to more about all the stages; however this article talks about reflecting in your childhood. So I want you to stop here and do the below mentioned exercise in your own space.

Relax and close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths. Then gently opening your eyes read the following slowly and with feeling and pause between each section.

 

1. Think back – to what you can remember – of the time when you were a young teenager, somewhere around age 12 or 13.  Try to picture the way you looked then and where you were living at the time.  Picture your parents, guardians, or whoever raised you.  PAUSE 5 seconds.

2. How did you and your parents get along?  How did they talk to you?  How did you talk to them?  PAUSE 5 seconds

 3. What kinds of activities did you do with your parents?  Did you do a lot of things together or just a few?  Did you have much one-on-one time together?  PAUSE 5 seconds

4. How much affection did your parents show you?  How much did you show them?  Would you say you and your parents were close?  Why or why not?  PAUSE 5 seconds

 5. Did your closeness with your parents change over time?  If so, how did it change?  PAUSE 5 seconds

6. How much did you agree with, or buy into, the values and beliefs that your parents tried to teach you?  How much conflict, arguing or fighting took place between you and your parents?  PAUSE 5 seconds

 Make notes on each of them and reflect on your childhood.  Breathe out all the disappointments, give gratitude to your parents and grandparents and make a list of all the things you always wanted to do and GO NOW!!!     

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