Name and briefly describe the eight main developmental periods

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume that you are asking about the eight stages of development or “psychosocial stages” described by Erik Erikson.  I will answer this question using Erikson’s basic model. Please note that different sources give slightly different names and age ranges to these stages of development.

Stage 1: Infancy.  Birth to 18 months.

During this stage, the child needs to be cared for, particularly by being touched and by seeing its parents.  If the child is cared for properly, he or she will become secure and optimistic.  Children who do not receive such care can develop emotional problems.

Stage 2: Toddler/Early Childhood Years.  18 months to 3 years.

Here, the child has to learn new skills and to tell right from wrong.  Children at this age will often feel shame if they have trouble developing new skills.  If cared for properly, they will develop pride and self-confidence.

Stage 3: Preschooler.  3 to 5 years.

In this stage, children typically try to copy the adults they see around them.  They try to figure out how they are supposed to behave and they want to understand why things are the way they are.

Stage 4: School Age Child.  6 to 12 years.

In this stage, parents become less important to the child relative to his or her school and peers.  Children can develop problems if they are not able to feel comfortable among their peers.

Stage 5: Adolescent.  12 to 18 years.

The child is the most important actor in this stage.  They guide their own development whereas in previous stages they were being acted upon by more important actors.  During this stage, adolescents tend to develop strong affinities with certain people and ideas.

Stage 6: Young Adult.  18 to 35 years.

At this stage, people are mainly looking to be loved.  The most important people in their lives are their friends and their significant others.

Stage 7: Middle-Aged Adult.  35 to 55 or 65

At this age, adults are taking on more responsibilities in their lives.  They often think and worry about the impact they are making on the world.  They may fear that their lives are meaningless, particularly as their children leave the home.

Stage 8: Late Adult.  Until death.

Here, adults are generally looking back on their lives.  They will either feel contentment and accomplishment or they will feel that they have not accomplished anything in their lives.