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Psychosexual Stages Of Development

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Psychosexual Stages Of Development

The psychosexual stages are a period that a child goes through in its development, from birth to six years of age. During these stages, the personality develops, such as the id, the ego, and the superego.

A new conflict will be part of the child's dynamics, looking for positive solutions during the different stages. The conflicts that are not resolved well affect further development.

What is Freud's psychosexual theory?

Freud claimed that children go through five stages in their personality development, commonly referred to as the psychosexual stage model. The stages are oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital. These different stages are associated with the driving force in child development or libido, expressed in different ways and in different parts of the body.

Various fixations of sexual urges or instinctual drives represent the psychosexual development stages. During the growth process, other body parts become more prominent, which will be the source of possible frustrations or pleasures.

In describing personality development and the psychosexual stages, Freud wanted to say that development is associated with the process of releasing the culminating energy of the id as children grow biologically.

Freud used the term sexual to describe pleasurable actions and thoughts.

He also emphasised how important the first five years of a child's life are in forming their personality. How the child deals with conflict and its resolution during these stages determines some childhood events that will shape his behaviour and experiences in adulthood. The id, for example, needs to be controlled so that it can satisfy its social needs.

The conflicts associated with this stage are between the frustrated desires of the id and the demands of social norms.

The ego and superego also develop and balance the need for satisfaction and socially acceptable behaviours to exercise this control.

What is the role of conflict?

Each stage of psychosexual development is associated with a different conflict that must be resolved before the child can successfully move on to the next stage. Failure to resolve these conflicts results in fixation. The child is stuck and remains attached to certain behaviours and conflicts associated with that specific stage throughout their adult life.

Psychosexual Stages of Development [+] Sigmund Freud Caricature [+] StudySmarterSigmund Freud caricature, Pixabay

Psychosexual stages of development chart

Let us look at the psychosexual stages of development chart (AQA Psychology) for a quick overview of Freud's stages of psychosexual development.

Stage
Description
Consequences of unresolved conflict
Oral: 0 – 1 years
The focus of pleasure is on the mouth the mother's breast is the object of desire.
Oral fixation – smoking, biting nails, sarcastic, critical.
Anal: 1 – 3 years
The focus of pleasure is on the anus. The child finds pleasure in holding back and expelling faeces.
Anal retentive – perfectionist, obsessive.
Anal expulsive – thoughtless, messy.
Phallic: 3 – 5 years
The focus of pleasure is on the genital area. The child experiences an Oedipus or Electra complex.
Phallic personality – narcissistic, reckless, possibly homosexual.
Latency: 6 – Puberty
Earlier conflicts are repressed.
Genital: After puberty
Sexual desires become conscious with the onset of puberty.
Difficulty forming heterosexual relationships.

The Oedipus complex comes from the Greek myth in which Oedipus marries his mother after killing his father. When Oedipus found this out, he mutilated himself by gouging out his eyes.Freud suggested that boys have a sexual desire for their mothers and want to possess them exclusively, and to do this, they would have to get rid of the father. If the father figures this out, he can get rid of what the son loves most: his penis. The boy then imitates the father and takes on a male role to get over this.

The Electra complex refers to girls who desire their father. They are aware they do not have a penis, which leads to penis envy. Girls repress the penis envy and instead focus their desire for the father and a penis on a baby, blaming the mother for their lack of a penis.Later, the girl associates more with the mother and takes on her feminine role, according to Freud.

What are Freud's stages of psychosexual development?

Freud described various stages of psychosexual development. Let us have a look.

Oral stage

This stage occurs between birth and the second year of life. This stage is about the experience of pleasure perceived through the mouth. This stage is related to eating and the pleasure from nursing on the nipples and sucking on the thumb. These play an essential role in the baby's first year of life. When babies are about a year old, they begin to be weaned. If caregivers do not handle this well, it can lead to conflict.

Oral fixation

What happens if the conflicts are not resolved at this stage? According to Freud, the consequences of unresolved conflicts at this stage relate to the month.

Smoking, overeating, excessive drinking, nail-biting, excessive sarcasm, or too much criticism can be examples of oral fixation.

The baby may also have been weaned either too soon or too late, resulting in fixation to relieve anxiety.

Anal stage

The anal stage occurs between the second and third years of life after the child has passed through the oral stage. During this phase, the focus is on the anus. In this stage, children experience pleasure in defecation and bladder emptying. Anal stage is a crucial stage for the development of the ego. Through potty training, the child becomes aware of the social reality of going to the toilet.

Therefore, it is a phase in which children learn the rules of society.

Anal fixation

This stage occurs between birth and the second year of life. This stage is about the experience of pleasure perceived through the mouth. This stage is related to eating and the pleasure from nursing on the nipples and sucking on the thumb. These play an essential role in the baby's first year of life. When babies are about a year old, they begin to be weaned. If caregivers do not handle this well, it can lead to conflict.

Oral fixation

What happens if the conflicts are not resolved at this stage? According to Freud, the consequences of unresolved conflicts at this stage relate to the month.

Smoking, overeating, excessive drinking, nail-biting, excessive sarcasm, or too much criticism can be examples of oral fixation.

The baby may also have been weaned either too soon or too late, resulting in fixation to relieve anxiety.

Anal stage

The anal stage occurs between the second and third years of life after the child has passed through the oral stage. During this phase, the focus is on the anus. In this stage, children experience pleasure in defecation and bladder emptying. Anal stage is a crucial stage for the development of the ego. Through potty training, the child becomes aware of the social reality of going to the toilet.

Therefore, it is a phase in which children learn the rules of society.

Anal fixation

What happens if the conflicts are not resolved during this stage? Freud suggests anal fixation tendencies can manifest in two different ways:

  • Anal retentive, which manifests in obsessive perfectionism.
  • Anal expulsive, which manifests in disorder and thoughtlessness.

Phallic stage

The phallic stage occurs between the third and sixth years of life, during which the superego develops. The focus is on the genitals. In Freud's view, the child goes through the Oedipus complex during this stage.

It is an essential moment for overcoming unconscious desires directed towards the mother in boys and the father in girls. Identification with the father in boys or the mother in girls occurs.

Phallic fixation

If unresolved conflicts are not resolved at this stage, they manifest themselves in reckless and narcissistic behaviours.

Latency stage

The sexual energy drive from the previous stage becomes latent so that the child can focus on the world around him. The focus of this stage is hidden. It begins around the age of six and lasts until puberty.

Genital stage

The genital stage is the final stage that culminates in the psychosexual energy taking place in the genitals. It is directed toward the formation of adult relationships. The focus of this stage is on the formation of romantic relationships, and it takes place after puberty.

The ego and superego are formed during this process, and the child experiences conflicts between frustrated desires and social norms.

Unresolved problems

In this stage, unresolved conflicts lead to difficulties in forming sexual relationships.An individual may not resolve the conflicts in any psychosexual stage. In this case, they may later develop psychological problems due to fixation on a particular phase.

Evaluation of the psychosexual stages of development

Freud's claim that children go through five stages of psychosexual development has been a subject of debate. Here are some important assessment points to consider:

  • Difficult to prove: Given the nature of the theory, it is difficult to prove scientifically. For example, how can we test a person's libido? There are far too many extraneous variables to measure the concept scientifically and objectively.
  • Male orientated: Many of Freud's claims focus on male psychosexual development, while female psychosexual development is more of a sideshow.
  • Case studies and adult patients: Freud studied adult patients and did not observe children and based his conclusions on adult information. Also, his theories are based on case studies.

Psychosexual stages of development - Key takeaways

  • The psychosexual stages are a period that a child goes through from birth to six years of age during personality development, such as id, ego, and superego.
  • Freud claimed that children go through five stages in their personality development, commonly referred to as the psychosexual stage model.
  • The stages are oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital.
  • The different stages are associated with the driving force in child development or libido, expressed in different ways and several parts of the body.
  • Freud used the term 'sexual' to describe pleasurable actions and thoughts.

Frequently Asked Questions about Psychosexual Stages Of Development

Freud claimed that children go through five stages in their personality development, commonly referred to as the psychosexual stage model. The stages are oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital.

  • Oral stage from birth to two years of age. 
  • Anal stage from two to three years of age.
  • Phallic stage from three to six years of age.
  • Latent stage from six years to puberty.
  • Genital stage begins at puberty and lasts into adulthood.

Freud claimed that children go through five stages in their personality development, commonly referred to as the psychosexual stage model. The stages are oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital. 


These different stages are associated with the driving force in child development or libido, expressed in different ways and in different parts of the body.


Various fixations of sexual urges or instinctual drives represent the psychosexual development stages. During the growth process, other body parts become more prominent, which will be the source of possible frustrations or pleasures.

The psychosexual theory is important because it emphasises how important the first five years of a child's life are in forming their personality. This process is not only fundamental in our childhood but is also reflected in adulthood. Knowing this can help us understand ourselves better.

Oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital.

Final Psychosexual Stages Of Development Quiz

Question

Who has developed the psychosexual development stages?

Show answer

Answer

Freud claimed that children go through five stages in their personality development, commonly referred to as the psychosexual stage model.

Show question

Question

What are the personality developments a child goes through during the psychosexual stages?

Show answer

Answer

The psychosexual stages are a period that a child goes through in its development, from birth to six years of age. During these stages, the personality develops, such as the id, the ego, and the superego.


Show question

Question

Does the child have to deal with the same conflict from birth until six years of age or older?

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Answer

No. A new conflict will be part of the child's dynamics, looking for positive solutions during the different stages.

Show question

Question

What happens if those conflicts are not resolved?

Show answer

Answer

The conflicts that are not well resolved will affect future development.

Show question

Question

What are the different stages associated with?

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Answer

The different stages are associated with the driving force in child development or libido.

Show question

Question

How is the libido expressed?

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Answer

The libido is expressed in different ways and in different parts of the body.

Show question

Question

How are the psychosexual development stages represented?


Show answer

Answer

Various fixations of sexual urges or instinctual drives represent the psychosexual development stages.

Show question

Question

Why did Freud use the term sexual?

Show answer

Answer

Freud used the term sexual to describe pleasurable actions and thoughts.

Show question

Question

What did Freud want to say about the id when describing personality development?

Show answer

Answer

In describing personality development and the psychosexual stages, Freud wanted to say that development is associated with the process of releasing the culminating energy of the id as children grow biologically.


Show question

Question

How can the ego and superego cope with this process?

Show answer

Answer

The ego and superego also develop and balance the need for satisfaction and socially acceptable behaviours to exercise this control.

Show question

Question

What are the psychosexual development stages associated with?

Show answer

Answer

Each stage of psychosexual development is associated with a different conflict that must be resolved before the child can successfully move on to the next stage.

Show question

Question

What is the body part in focus when the child is going through the oral stage?

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Answer

The mouth.

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Question

What happens during the latency stage?

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Answer

The sexual energy drive from the previous stage becomes latent so that the child can focus on the world around him.

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Question

What is the focus of the latency stage?

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Answer

The focus of this stage is hidden. It begins around the age of six and lasts until puberty.

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