Understanding Myself Understanding My Environment

Understanding MyselfUnderstanding My
A program written and created for
Alternative Education Students.
The purpose of this program is for students and families to
collaborate with educators for securing a more enhanced
understanding of emotional intelligence and its effect upon
personality, behavior and career assessment.
The resolve of this purpose is to enable students to
transition to home schools with greater self-understanding
for a more meaningful and empowering education.
Jose Perez, Principal
Donald E. Woods Opportunity Center,
Dundee, Florida
Donald E. Woods Opportunity Center
“Understanding Myself/Understanding My
A program developed for Alternative Education Students to
understand stages of human development, behavior,
familial environment and their influences upon education,
emotional intelligence, personality development and career
Developed by
Gwendolyn B. Porter, Guidance Counselor,
M.S. Ed., Indiana University
Accompanied by
Lana McCullough, Social Worker, B.S. Ed, Warner Southern University
Understanding Myself/Understanding My Environment
Did you know???
 There are 8 (Eight) Stages of Human Behavior and Development, based upon a theory by a
psychologist named, Erik Erikson…
 That each stage of human development encompasses levels of mental achievement depending
upon stimuli and response…
 That trust is enmeshed in the human psyche while the human is in the womb…
 That humans learn how to behave/respond according to stimuli received within the family
 If we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our pasts, feel that we cannot accomplish
our life goals, we develop disparity, often leading to depression and hopelessness…
This is how it all begins…
Understanding Myself/Understanding My Environment
Stage 1 of Human Development and Behavior
Trust Versus Mistrust (birth - 1 year)
Is the world a safe place or is it full of unpredictable events and accidents waiting to happen?
Erikson claimed this stage the child develops a sense of basic trust. The development of this depends
on the consistency of the child’s major caregiver/parent. If the care the child receives is
consistent, predictable and reliable then the child will develop a sense of trust which he will carry
with him to other relationships, and is able to feel secure even when threatened. Success in this
stage will lead to the virtue of hope.
However, if the care has been harsh/inconsistent, unpredictable and unreliable the child develops a
sense of mistrust. This leads to low confidence in the world around them and/or their abilities
to influence events. The child will carry a basic sense of mistrust in relationships. It can result in
anxiety/anger, misbehavior, low self esteem and hopelessness.
Parents/Caregivers are the first conduits to trust.
• A loving mother and infant…
Understanding Myself/Understanding Myself
Stage 2 of Human Development and Behavior
Independence vs. Shame and Doubt (2 - 3 years)
The child is developing physically and becoming more mobile/independent. Between the ages of one and three, children begin to assert their independence, by walking away from their
mother, picking which toy to play with, and making choices about what they like to wear, to eat, etc.
Erikson says that this is the point at which the child can develop a certain amount of independence/autonomy. It is at this stage that the child needs support from parents so that repeated
failures and ridicule are not the only experiences encountered. So, the parents need to encourage the child to becoming more independent and at the same time, protecting the
child so that constant failure is avoided. A delicate balance is required from the parent .... they must try not to do everything for the child. However, if the child fails at a
particular task, caregivers must not criticize the child for failures and accidents. The goal has to be “self control without a loss of self-esteem” (McLeod, 2008). Success in this
stage will lead to the attitude of will.
If children in this stage are encouraged and supported in their increased independence, they become more confident and secure in their own ability to live in this world. If children are
criticized, overly controlled, or not trained to assert themselves, they begin to feel inadequate in their ability to survive, and may then become overly dependent upon others, and
feel a sense of shame or doubt in their own abilities and skills.
Showing togetherness and acceptance.
Understanding Myself/Understanding My Environment
Stages 3 and 4 of Human Development and Behavior
Stage 3: Initiative vs. Guilt (Ages 3 to 6)
At this stage, the child begins to ask many questions as the thirst for knowledge grows. If the parents treat the child’s questions as a nuisance or embarrassing, then the child may have
feelings of guilt for “being a nuisance”. Too much guilt can make the child slow to interact with others and may inhibit their creativity (Erikson, 1950 : McLeod, 2008). Some guilt
is, of course, necessary. A healthy balance between initiative and guilt is important. Success in this stage will lead to the attitude of purpose.
Stage 4: Industry (competence) vs. Inferiority (Ages 6 – 12)
Children at the stage learn to read/write, to do sums, and to make things on their own. Teachers begin to take an important role in the child’s life as they teach the child specific skills.
The child now feels the need to win approval by demonstrating specific competences that are valued by society, and begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments.
If children are encouraged and reinforced for their initiative, they begin to feel industrious and feel confident in their ability to achieve goals (Erikson, 1950).
If the child cannot develop the specific skills they feel society is demanding then they may develop a sense of inferiority.
Yet, a balance between competence and modesty is necessary. Success in this stage will lead to the attitude of competence.
Learning and Identity…
Understanding Myself/Understanding My Environment
Stages 5 and 6 of Human Development and Behavior
• Stage 5: Identity vs. Role Confusion (13 - 18 years)
This is a major stage in development where the child has to learn the roles he will occupy as an adult. It is during
this stage that the adolescent will re-examine his identity and try to find out exactly who he is. Erikson suggests
that two identities are involved: the sexual and the occupational.
• Stage 6: Intimacy vs. Isolation (young adulthood)
Occurring in Young adulthood, we begin to share ourselves more intimately with others. We explore relationships
leading toward longer term commitments with someone other than a family member. Successful completion can
lead to comfortable relationships and a sense of commitment, safety, and care within a relationship. Avoiding
intimacy, fearing commitment and relationships can lead to isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression.
Role Development
Understanding Myself/Understanding My Environment
Stages 7 and 8 of Human Development and Behavior
• Stage 7. Generativity vs. Stagnation (middle adulthood)
During middle adulthood, we establish our careers, settle down within a relationship, begin our own
families and develop a sense of being a part of the bigger picture. We give back to society
through raising our children, being productive at work, and becoming involved in community
activities and organizations. By failing to achieve these objectives, we become stagnant and feel
unproductive (McLeod, 2008).
• Stage 8. Ego Integrity vs. Despair (old age)
As we grow older and become senior citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity, and explore life
as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments and are able
to develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life (Erikson, 1964).
Growing older and content…
Donald E. Woods Opportunity Center
Feeling accepted, encouraged, and loved
unconditionally in our familial
environment are essential to a high selfesteem and a healthy outlook on life…
Porter, 2012
Comparisons of Environments
Having a life of encouragement and acceptance.
A life without encouragement and acceptance.
• Feeling of
• Feeling of
• Feeling of
• Self-Esteem
• Solid
• Confident
• Parental
• Risk-taker
• Faith
• Hopeful
• Goal setting
• Future of
•Not caring
•Low self-esteem
•Holding grudges
•Breaking items
•Hurting self
•Self- Doubt
•Peers unknown
•Drug use
•Judicial system
Understanding Myself/Understanding My Environment
Gwendolyn Porter, Counselor & Developer
Lana McCullough, Social Worker
Don Woods Opportunity Center
When we live happiness, acceptance
and encouragement, life is hopeful. Yet,
if we did not receive all that was needed
in our developmental stages, there is still
an empowering way to achieve success in
Porter, 2012

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