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According to Erikson’s theory, people progress through a series of stages as they develop and grow.Unlike many other developmental theories, Erikson’s addresses changes that occur across the entire lifespan, from birth to death.Psychosocial theory does not focus on the obvious physical changes that occur as children grow up, but rather on the socioemotional factors that influence an individual’s psychological growth. At each point in development, people cope with a psychosocial crisis. In order to resolve this crisis, children and adults are faced with mastering the developmental task primary to that stage.If this skill is successfully achieved, it leads to an ability that contributes to lifelong well-being. For example, achieving trust is the primary task of the very first stage of development. It is an ability that contributes to emotional health throughout life during both childhood and adulthood. Failing to master these critical tasks, however, can result in social and emotional struggles that last a lifetime.So what exactly happens during the industry versus inferiority stage? What factors contribute to overall success at this point in development? What are some of the major events that contribute to psychosocial growth?The Social World ExpandsSchool and social interaction play an important role during this time of a child’s life.A child’s social world expands considerably as they enter school and gain new friendships with peers. Through social interactions, children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments and abilities.During the earlier stages, a child’s interactions centered primarily on caregivers, family members, and others in their immediate household. As the school years begin, the realm of social influence increases dramatically.Friends and classmates play a role in how children progress through the industry versus inferiority stage. Through proficiency at play and schoolwork, children are able to develop a sense of competence and pride in their abilities. By feeling competent and capable, children are able to also form a strong self-concept.During social interactions with peers, some children may discover that their abilities are better than those of their friends or that their talents are highly prized by others. This can lead to feelings of confidence. In other cases, kids may discover that they are not quite as capable as the other kids, which can result in feelings of inadequacy.Schoolwork Helps Build Competency and ConfidenceAt earlier stages of development, children were largely able to engage in activities for fun and to receive praise and attention.Once school begins, actual performance and skill are evaluated. Grades and feedback from educators encourage kids to pay more attention to the actual quality of their work.During the industry versus inferiority stage, children become capable of performing increasingly complex tasks. As a result, they strive to master new skills. Children who are encouraged and commended by parents and teachers develop a feeling of competence and belief in their abilities.Those who receive little or no encouragement from parents, teachers, or peers will doubt their ability to be successful. Children who struggle to develop this sense of competence may emerge from this stage with feelings of failure and inferiority.This can set the stage for later problems in development. People who don’t feel competent in their ability to succeed may be less likely to try new things and more likely to assume that their efforts will not measure up under scrutiny.

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