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Erikson believed that childhood was very important to personality development. Five of his eight stages of Psychosocial Development occur during childhood. There are many reasons why his theory is applicable to the study of child development. Here are three that are important:
1) Erikson's organization of developmental stages provides us with a guide or an outline for studying the distinct changes (body, mind, and cultural) that a child goes through throughout his or her childhood.
2) Erikson's theory points out specific events that are important within each stage of a child's development. For instance, in the Infancy Stage, Feeding is the important event. In the Early Childhood Stage, toilet training is the important event. Being aware of these important events is very crucial in the study of child development.
3) Erikson's theory states that if a child does not successfully move through a given stage of development, he or she will experience problems later in life as a result. For instance, if a child does not successfully complete the Infancy Stage by learning to trust his or her caregiver(s), he or she may end up having issues with trusting others later in life. This theory may help us in some cases to understand how a child may have developed a certain psychological or social problem.
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