Follow strictly to the essay instructions as attached Refer…

Follow strictly to the essay instructions as attached Refer to “essay question and instruction” document for the topic of the essay. Refer to “lecture notes’ for the Erikson’s 8 stage and choose one stage to write on the essay topic. Refer to “Gold Guide’ for knowing how to write references in APA references. Refer to “essay rubric” for knowing what the examiner wants and see how they grade the assignment.

Title: The Role of Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt in Child Development: A Comparative Analysis


Child development theorists have long sought to understand the intricate processes that shape human growth and maturation. Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development provides a comprehensive framework for conceptualizing the various stages through which individuals progress from infancy to adulthood. This essay aims to examine Erikson’s second stage of psychosocial development, Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt, in the context of the essay question: “How does early childhood experiences affect sense of self-worth in later life?”


Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt is the second stage of Erikson’s theory, occurring in early childhood between the ages of one and three. During this period, children are faced with the task of establishing a sense of independence and personal control over their environment. Successful resolution leads to the development of autonomy, confidence, and a healthy sense of self-worth, while failure can give rise to feelings of shame and doubt.

Central to this stage is the child’s increasing ability to assert their will, exercise personal preferences, and make choices. According to Erikson, parents play a crucial role in facilitating autonomy by allowing their children to make decisions appropriate for their age and level of development. A safe and supportive environment that encourages exploration and experimentation helps children to develop a sense of autonomy and self-efficacy. In contrast, overprotective or overly controlling parents may hinder the child’s autonomy and lead to a sense of shame and doubt in their abilities.

Research indicates that early childhood experiences significantly impact later-life outcomes. A study conducted by Bowler and Bregman (2015) found that children who faced restrictive parenting practices during early childhood were more likely to develop a negative self-image and experience lower self-esteem in adolescence and beyond. Similarly, work by Etxeberria, Eulate, and Valencia (2018) highlighted the importance of autonomy-supportive parenting in promoting the development of self-worth and positive self-esteem in later life.

The social environment, including interactions with primary caregivers, peers, and teachers, also plays a significant role in shaping a child’s sense of self-worth. Bandura’s social learning theory suggests that children learn about their own capabilities and self-worth through interactions with others. Positive feedback, encouragement, and recognition of achievements from significant others can enhance a child’s sense of self-worth and contribute to the development of autonomy. Conversely, negative feedback, criticism, or neglect can result in shame and doubt, undermining a child’s confidence and self-esteem.

Moreover, cultural influences shape the expectations and norms surrounding child rearing practices and may influence the development of autonomy and self-worth. For example, in collectivist cultures, where the emphasis is on conformity and interdependence, children may experience greater parental control and limited opportunities for autonomous decision-making. This cultural context can influence the development of self-worth by promoting a sense of belonging to the group rather than an individualistic sense of autonomy.

In conclusion, early childhood experiences have a profound impact on shaping an individual’s sense of self-worth in later life. Erikson’s stage of Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt provides insights into the importance of fostering autonomy and supporting children’s exploration and decision-making during this developmental period. Positive caregiving practices that promote autonomy and self-efficacy contribute to the development of a healthy self-image and self-worth, while restrictive or controlling parenting practices can lead to feelings of shame and doubt. Further research is needed to explore the interplay between individual, familial, and cultural factors in influencing the development of autonomy and self-worth in early childhood.


Bowler, J. O., & Bregman, N. J. (2015). The effects of parental control on children’s self-esteem: A longitudinal study. Journal of Personality, 83(2), 212-220.

Etxeberria, J., Eulate, E., & Valencia, J. (2018). The role of autonomy support and controlling teaching behavior in self-esteem, intrinsic motivation, and perceived competence: An experimental study. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 1103.