In this essay, I will be exploring how childhood development across cultures is proven to be invariant, through the stages of development produced by Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Although there are small differences between each region due to cultural upbringing the main stages of development are expressed in similar ways. Through Freud’s conscious theory the developmental stages are accompanied by the Id, Ego and Superego to further each stage and create growth within children. The completion of each stage is seen as crucial to a child’s development as they combine and contribute to a well-round person who is easily able to fully integrate into society.
Childhood development is invariant across cultures as through Erik Erikson’s psycho-social stages of development and Freud’s psychosexual development. These stages explore trust, autonomy, identity and competency, as well as the oral, anal, phakic and latency stages. (Burton, Westen & Kowalski, 2015) The importance of these stages in childhood development help to explain why children grow up the way they do and how the indulgence or disallowance of these stages implements open-mindedness or dogmatic approaches to their adulthood.
In childhood, the psychosexual stages are often reprimanded, which causes fixations later in life and prejudiced views due to this unwilling allowance of exploration during these stages, the overlapping of the psychosocial development creates a child who will exhibit certain personality traits and leads to a well-rounded development or a problematic child with different difficulties from communication issues to being sexually ambiguous. Within Vygotsky’s sociocultural development the elemental functions are explored to understand the basic roles of intuition in infants and children. Through the stages of development within different cultures the use of the Id, Ego and Superego are invariant due to the basic human instincts but can be dissimilar due to cultural values. (Burton, Westen & Kowalski, 2015)
Across cultures, psychologists can agree that a child’s development is based in stages of growth and the failure in these stages can cause a disruption in future development. Within the first stages instinctual exploration is essential to coping in the world around them. With the fixation of the oral stage which can lead to eating disorders and smoking in adulthood, while it will also help a child with the trust of their primary caregiver for future tasks and guidance with a hypothetical security blanket. In the first stages of childhood the Id is developed as it acts as a primitive and instinctive component within a person personality, this plays a major role in Freuds theory of personality and the conscious mind, the Id is the unconscious function of basic urges and impulsive activity, which is why the egocentric childlike state is playing a role as the child is unaware that their actions have consequences.
In the second stage of development children become egocentric and if not taught can become reckless, defiant and coprophiliac in their actions in later stages of their life. Berzoff, Flanagan & Hertz, 2016) In childhood development the Ego is formed and is used as a moral compass to mediate between our basic instincts and societal morals, and is our way of behaving, when it is malformed in the second stage of development it can lead to a high risk of juvenile incarceration. The malformation can lead to infantile neurosis when independence is formed from the parental figure and sexualization and sublimation is formed as acceptable actions in society. (Freud, 1952) In Russia and the United States, the risk of juvenile incarceration is very high as in any given year 130,000 juveniles are detained in America (Aizer & Doyle, 2015) while 1081 (Coyle, 2002) juveniles are imprisoned in Russia both of which are a 0.2% of the total prison population, (Howard, 2018) and while Russia may seem like a much smaller statistic compared with America, it is to be noted that the Russian juveniles are charged with more severe crimes. Due to the conservative beliefs of both countries, many children are brought up feeling inadequate as their societies do not condone acts of lust or homosexuality which can contribute to the issue of criminal activity in adulthood and has led to a 63% recidivism rate in Russia and a 43.4% recidivism rate in America. (Caldwell, 2009)
In the third stage a child’s sense of self is formed through social interactions and through the development of moral reasoning and a deeper knowledge of relationships. The relationship between a child and their parents play a large role in creating prosocial behavior is invariant across cultures when practiced correctly. The sociable behavior between Russian and American children with peer development was seen that higher sociometric variables would determine the behavior of a child regardless of their cultural background. (Kirchhoff, Desmarais, Putnam & Gartstein, 2019)
The similarities between cross-cultural childhood development are telling in that the stages in which a child develops is unwavering across the world but there are small differences in infants in their ability to react to stimulus. (Hart et al., 2000)
In the fourth stage of development, a child’s need for authoritative approval is essential to their growth. Belief in themselves to gain self-esteem to carry on into adulthood as it shows their competency to integrate and be valued in society. The Superego is important in the last two stages of development as it incorporates the morals and values of society, the Superego applies the way society. Expects us to behave and the way we wish to be and through this creates a well-rounded member of society, our Superego stems from how a person is brought up and is a guide for conscious and unconscious decisions and desires.
Through the stages of development as described by Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky the invariance across cultures is produced. Through Erik Erikson’s psycho-social stages of development and Freud’s psychosexual development these stages explore trust, autonomy, identity and competency, as well as the oral, anal, phakic and latency stages. (Burton, Westen & Kowalski, 2015) The malformation within each stage can lead to personality disorders and mental illnesses when incomplete and when adulthood is reached different forms sexualization and sublimation is idolised and integrated into the idea that are not acceptable actions in society. (Freud, 1952)
Within Vygotsky’s sociocultural development the elemental functions are explored to understand the basic roles of intuition in infants and children. Through the stages of development within different cultures the use of the Id, Ego and Superego are invariant due to the basic human instincts but can be dissimilar due to cultural values. (Burton, Westen & Kowalski, 2015)
The importance of these stages in childhood development help to explain why children grow up the way they do and how the indulgence or disallowance of these stages implements open-mindedness or dogmatic approaches to their adulthood. Understanding how even through there are small differences in the way a child is raised dependant on their culture the underlying stages are key to a well-rounded developed child whose integration into society and its accepted norms is ideal. Through the stage’s children experience and gain the use and understanding of their Id, Ego and Superego as conscious and unconscious moral compasses and basic instincts which are internal guides to help them through the stages of childhood into adulthood.
- Aizer, A., & Doyle, J. (2015). Juvenile Incarceration, Human Capital, and Future Crime: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Judges *. The Quarterly Journal Of Economics, 130(2), 759-803. doi: 10.1093/qje/qjv003
- Berzoff, J., Flanagan, L., & Hertz, P. (2016). Inside out and outside in (1st ed., p. 100). United Kingdom: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Burton, L., Westen, D., & Kowalski, R. (2015). Psychology (4th ed., pp. 484, 420-423, 476-482, 531-2,). Milton, Australia: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.
- Caldwell, M. (2009). Study Characteristics and Recidivism Base Rates in Juvenile Sex Offender Recidivism. International Journal Of Offender Therapy And Comparative Criminology, 54(2), 197-212. doi: 10.1177/0306624x08330016
- Coyle, A. (2002). Russian Federation | World Prison Brief. Retrieved 3 October 2019, from https://www.prisonstudies.org/country/russian-federation
- Freud, A. (1952). The Mutual Influences in the Development of Ego and Id. The Psychoanalytic Study Of The Child, 7(1), 42-50. doi: 10.1080/00797308.1952.11823151
- Hart, C., Yang, C., Nelson, L., Robinson, C., Olsen, J., & Nelson, D. et al. (2000). Peer acceptance in early childhood and subtypes of socially withdrawn behaviour in China, Russia, and the United States. International Journal Of Behavioral Development, 24(1), 73-81. doi: 10.1080/016502500383494
- Howard, J. (2018). United States of America | World Prison Brief. Retrieved 3 October 2019, from https://www.prisonstudies.org/country/united-states-america
- Kirchhoff, C., Desmarais, E., Putnam, S., & Gartstein, M. (2019). Similarities and differences between western cultures: Toddler temperament and parent-child interactions in the United States (US) and Germany. Infant Behavior And Development, 57, 101366. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2019.101366
- Putnick, D., Bornstein, M., Lansford, J., Chang, L., Deater-Deckard, K., & Di Giunta, L. et al. (2019). Parental acceptance–rejection and child prosocial behavior: Developmental transactions across the transition to adolescence in nine countries, mothers and fathers, and girls and boys. Retrieved 3 October 2019, from https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-46265-005
- Strzelecki, J. (2019). Russia behind bars: the peculiarities of the Russian prison system. Retrieved 30 September 2019, from https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/osw-commentary/2019-02-07/russia-behind-bars-peculiarities-russian-prison-system?fbclid=IwAR1OMUFUAVd1mx25yPfYxZ0yua-EqymkQIFFum2D8LUnGCEaI9fPNqcuEas