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Freud developmental Theories

Sigmund Freud’s developmental theory is grounded on his belief that humans are born pleasure seeker. His theory state that the stages of human development is (from infancy to puberty onwards) directly influenced by our certain needs and demands, which are deeply embedded on our certain body parts. According to Freud, the experiences we had when we were still a child deeply influence the person we became today. Freud introduced 5 stages of development, each of which is deeply influenced by a person’s libido or sexual energy.

According to Freud, each stage is met by some dissatisfaction which should be dealt with accordingly. If these dissatisfactions were not resolved, the child’s libido would be tied up to that particular stage of development. Freud believes that we only have a limited supply of libido hence a person should not use a lot of libido while s/he is on a particular stage of development otherwise a person would not have enough libido to use later in life. Over usage of sexual energy in a particular stage could result to fixation or reaction formation.

Below is the list of Freud’s 5 stages of development: ORAL STAGE (from birth – 1 yr. old) As the name suggests, mouth is the main source of pleasure in this stage. Fixation at this stage could result to use of oral stimulation later in life (i. e. smoking, eating, etc. ) ANAL STAGE (2-3 years old) This is the time when parents introduce their child to the idea of rules and regulations. Usually, this is the time when parents decide to potty train their child. Fixation at this stage could result to tightfistedness, obstinacy, tidiness or its exact opposite, messiness.

PHALLIC STAGE (4-5 yrs old) Freud introduced the idea of “Oedipus complex” on this stage. He believes that boys experience sexual desires for their mother during this time and that boys sees their father as a rival for their mother’s attention. Boys in this stage fears that their father would learn of their desire and punish them for that. Fear of punishment at this stage results to castration anxiety. Ultimately, the boy’s fear of exposure, which could gain him the hatred of his father, would become too much to bear.

In response, he would try to abandon his sexual desires for his mother and would instead focus on trying to identify with his father. Girls on this stage also centers their affection to their mother, however, the change in attention would shift from mother to father for a different reason, “penis envy”. This is the stage where girls realize that their mother, like them, also do not have a penis which would lead them to think that their mother is unworthy in contrast to their father who have a penis.

As is with the boys, the girls also fear that their mother would learn of their attraction to their father which would eventually lead them to renounce their feelings to their father and try to identify with their mother instead. LATENCY STAGE (7 years old – puberty) This phase takes place once the child is completely over with his/her “Oedipus complex” or “penis envy”. This period is considered by Freud as less complicated in contrast to the other stages of childhood development.

This is the time when a child is more intent on developing bonds with other children and is considered as a period of rest. GENITAL STAGE (begins in puberty) This is the stage when the libido or sexual energy is used in a sexual function. Freud believes that the child’s feeling of attraction towards the opposite sex is a source of angst as this reminds them of their old feelings for their parents. Reference List: Thornton, S. (2006). Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved July 25, 2009, from http://www. iep. utm. edu/f/freud. htm.

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