Personality Development From Infancy to Adulthood in the Eyes of Freud

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Sigmund Freud is a famous neurologist who lived from 1856-1939.He is most renown for presenting the Psychodynamic Theory of Personality Development in this theory he discussed the five stages through which a human being passes from infancy to adulthood. These five stages are called psychosexual stages and according to Freud each one of these stages is concerned with efforts of obtaining pleasure centered on one of different parts of body which are called erogenous zones. The five stages are:

1. Oral

2. Anal

3. Phallic

4. Latency

5. Genital

I will present a brief introduction of each of these stages.

Oral Stage

As the name suggests the erogenous zone in this stage is baby’s mouth. Young children are often seen sucking, biting and tend to put things in their mouth. Freud said that any delaying in the satisfaction of oral needs like the need of food will result in fixation of the child’s personality at that point and it will produce strong impact on child’s adulthood thoughts and behavior, such as that fixates of oral stage show personality characteristics of optimism, excessive dependency and gullibility.

Anal Stage

This stage lasts from 18 to 3 years of age. The child starts taking muscular control and his erogenous zone moves to anus. Child attains pleasure by expelling or retaining faeces. The key here is toilet training, if the parents are strict it may lead the child to rebel with the result that he will be fixated at this stage.

Such a person will be overly rigid, orderly and perfectionist as an adult and is referred as an anal retentive.

Phallic Stage

It starts at the age of about 4 to 5 and is characterized by another shift of erogenous zone of child, also its the time when Oedipal and Electra complex occurs in boys and girls respectively. During this stage children have been observed fondling their genitals. A disturbed phallic stage of a child will result in disturbance of his relations either with a single or both genders in adulthood.

Latency Stage

At the age of 6 a period starts when sexual interests of children are suppressed this stage is called Latency stage and it lasts till the start of adolescence.

Genital Stage

At puberty sexual interests are reawakened and become stronger during genital stage resulting in heterosexual relations. At this stage many individuals feel difficulty in developing care and affection for others they may still feel narcissistic qualities of previous stages of development but as maturity comes their ability to establish relations also improves and thus the foundation of adult relations is laid.