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Psychology 3200


Submitted By cferrell0825
Words 1570
Pages 7
Chelsea Ferrell
Ms. Dolzycki
PSY 3200
November 28, 2012
Naturalistic Observation Upon observing the toddlers as well as the preschool room, I was able to observe the aspect of psychosocial development between the stages autonomy versus shame and initiative versus guilt. As defined and described in our text, Development Through Life, Erikson defines psychosocial development into eight different stages for each period of life. Within each stage presents a conflict between one’s individual ability and societal expectations or requirements. The first stage I observed was toddler aged children or autonomy versus shame and doubt. Autonomy being the positive pole within this stage of development; it is defined in the text as, the ability to behave independently, the ability to do actions on one’s own. Establishment for autonomy requires immense effort by the child as well as by the parent although the task may be rather exasperating. As a result of the establishment of autonomy, a child should have a strong sense of self-confidence as well as delight in the prospects of independence. Shame and doubt on the other hand is quite the opposite. It is the failure of mastering toddlerhood. Continuous discouragement and harsh and repetitive criticism can cause a staggering sense of shame and self-doubt thus creating the negative aspect of psychosocial development in toddlerhood. In order to avoid shame, children may choose to not participate in new activities because they automatically assume they will fail. The second observed stage was initiative versus guilt. Initiative is the active, conceptual investigation of the world. A child’s motivation towards the investigation of the world depends on the success of developing one’s autonomy in the toddler stage. Guilt, on the other hand, is the emotion that one has been responsible for an unacceptable thought, fantast, as well as action. An important point with Erickson’s psychosocial development is the proposal that failure to succeed in a stage prevents the moving onto the next stage (Newman). The first stage I partook in observing was the toddler room or autonomy versus shame stage. Nearly every child, kept to themselves while playing. Although other classmates might be near, they seemed blissfully unaware as they entertained themselves with a toy. All children seemed confident in their play, and didn’t want a caregiver to assist them, showing their autonomic behavior. The interaction I noticed between the children was indirect such as grasping at or hitting at a toy held by a fellow classmate without even looking at or acknowledging the other child. In addition, most children were mostly sedentary during play time, only moving around in small area of the room. I also noticed that the children could get upset easily when something did not go their way or if they could not relinquish a toy from a fellow classmate. Despite their inconsolable state of upset, they calmed down quickly with the reassurance and comfort from one of the caregivers located in the room. The positive reassurance from the caregivers seemed to build onto the children’s confidence. Something I thought was interesting and slightly strange was when caregiver had to leave to go to class and one child got extremely upset. The girl seemed surprised herself, but she provided comforting words reassuring the child she would return tomorrow. The child still possessed a confused look upon his face, but seemed to accept her reassurances. Some children seemed to be gentle while others tended to be rough. I observed one girl taking a hat and gently placing it on a boy’s head; while she may have put it on wrong, she was very gentle with him. He responded by aggressively tossing it off his head expressing his ability to refuse another’s actions. The girl didn’t seem the least bit perturbed by his action; she almost seemed to not even notice. In the toddler room there is a particular wall containing ladder like rungs in which a child can exert their independence and climb the wall. I noticed at least two to three children scale up the ladder as though they were part primate with no fear of falling or being unable to climb all the way up then down. One girl however attempted to climb this wall and after about two steps up, the child froze with fear. She began to cry and looked toward the nearest caregiver who went and continued to cry after he rescued her from her predicament. Although she did fail at climbing the wall, the caregiver was very supportive of her and did not criticize her failure. He provided encouraging words to her and reassured her that she would be able to conquer the wall eventually. Eventually the child was consoled and resumed playing. The child did fail at a task, but since the caregiver reacted with the child in a positive way without causing the child shame, she didn’t seem discouraged about herself and was able to resume playing confidently with a baby doll. The second observed stage was the preschool age children or the initiative versus guilt stage. Observing the older children was definitely more exciting; they are constantly on the go. The children seemed quite adventurous by roaming all around the room to play expressing the initiative portion. They seemed to enjoy the company of their fellow classmates by participating in games or pretend play; not many children participated in solitary play. When it came to crafts, the children had more patience to sit down and complete a craft without getting bored. I noticed two little girls tying aprons on themselves and engaging in “cooking” and setting the table for a meal. Two little boys aided each other in constructing a tower of blocks. A funny observation, yet probably not to the child that was vexed, was a little boy taking two objects and banging them together loudly. A little girl standing near him immediately clutched her ears and gave him a sour look while complaining his noises were too loud. Upon seeing his classmate’s irritation and complete abhorrence to the sound, the boy stopped after irritating the girl and receiving correcting from the teacher. The little boy apologized, but seemed troubled by his wrong doing and stood there thinking. The girl broke his thinking and began playing with him once again. A little girl and boy were playing together when the little girl’s mother arrived. The girl looked to her friend and embraced him and told him her goodbyes before running and hugging her mother. Nearly right after the girl left, the little boy quickly turned to a fellow classmate and asked him to play with him showing his confidence in finding a new playmate. A comparison of the two developmental stages reveals several differences with the stages even though the stages are so close in age. One difference I noticed between the two groups was how the children and teachers interacted as well as child-parent interactions. For the toddlers, the parents would arrive and the child would of course run to their parent and maybe babble slightly. The teacher would then proceed to tell the parent of the child’s progress or problems for the day while not letting the child explain themselves. They even spoke as though the child weren’t even present. The preschoolers, on the other hand, would run to their parents are go into detail about the events of their day. The teachers would encourage the child to explain what all they had done that day. Another difference was the expectancy of the child. The preschoolers were instructed by their teachers to clean up their toys which they complied with and placed all the toys in the prospective places. The toddlers were not instructed to pick their toys up. The teachers simply said clean up time and would pick up the toys themselves without involving the children’s help.
Also, the toddlers did not seem to have a grasp of how to correctly play with their toys. For example using a stethoscope and placing it on one’s head when a stethoscope is placed on one’s chest. The preschoolers knew to place the stethoscope on someone’s chest or thermometer in one’s ear. Despite playing with a toy correctly or not each age group seemed content in their play. In conclusion, while some toddlers began showing signs of independence or autonomy in the autonomy versus guilt stage, it was not quite developed to its fullest potential. Upon reaching the initiative versus guilt stage, the children had reached a sense of autonomy as apparent with their ability to effectively do things for themselves. The most important observation I noticed was the support and positive environment in which the toddlers were in which I believe is aiding them in becoming autonomic. I found an article that supports my idea. “Developmental Task: Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt,” states that if motivation is not present or lacking from caregivers or their surrounding environment, it is quite possible the child will develop an overwhelming sense of shame and doubt (Antipuesto). Even though the stages differ, I can conclude that support from the caregiver is important with both stages. Another article I found concerning initiative versus guilt states that, children’s initiative is reinforced by given the freedom to play and explore their own imagination. When these initiatives are stifled by caregivers then guilt can set in by making the child believe everything they do will be wrong and cause them embarrassment (Cherry).

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