The latency period is a stage in the child’s psychosexual development, when the libido or sexual energy stops and remains inactive. S and begins at about 6 years, along with the completion of processing of the oedipus complex.
This period corresponds to a stage of development in which, in the evolution of sexuality, it seems to pause and culminates with the onset of puberty, at approximately 12 years of age.
At this stage, the libido or sexual energy seems to be inactive or latent, diminishing the subject’s interest in the sexual and depositing him in asexual activities.
It is in the latency period in which the child’s psychosexual development is directed and focused on mental and affective development. This phase coincides with the child’s beginning and first school years.
During this period, it seems that the child acquires self-esteem, a feeling of belonging to the peer group and not to that of the parents, and adaptation to regulated play and school learning.
It is during and at the end of the latency period that the child begins to forge the characteristics inherent to his personality, which he externalizes through his behaviors and behavior towards others, in this case his peers.
Characteristics of the latency period
This period is a moment in the subject’s life in which important transformations occur at the psychic level. It is a coverage of development in which the individual will be more influenced by the surrounding context, becoming more relevant than in previous stages or stages.
During this period, the subject develops his intellect, acquires an interest in learning and social relations. The sexual energy, present throughout the child’s psychosexual development, does not disappear, but falls under repression. Interest now turns to asexual activities.
The libido was not concentrated in any erogenous zone of the child, having no specific objective. This must be understood as the latent state of sexual energy, the main characteristic of the latency period.
The main features of this period are:
Language becomes the primary means of communication and expression.
-There is an increase in the production of fantasies and reflective thinking, in order to limit the immediate satisfaction of impulses.
-The Superego is constituted, which operates as an authority that imposes ethical barriers. With its consolidation, feelings of self-criticism, shame or embarrassment appear, among others.
Infantile sexuality is repressed.
-Culture and social order become relevant in this period, resulting in a possible channel through which the subject can symbolize or channel everything that happens.
Substages of the latency period
In this period, which covers approximately six years in the child’s development, two distinct moments can be found, which correspond to the transformations and progress of the human psyche throughout its development.
At this substage of the latency period, the psyche is not yet developed to one hundred percent. Its operation is weak, as impulse control is still unstable. Slowly, repression of sexual desires is being installed and the psyche begins to reorganize itself.
At the same time, the ego (psychic instance related to consciousness) develops and little by little the need for immediate satisfaction of impulses is postponed.
This can be evidenced by the behavior of children, who in their actions will show postponement and control of behaviors, mainly focusing on the interest in controlling their motor skills.
The motor activity begins to develop and to be always implemented, through regulated games and sports, which act as regulators of the same, avoiding spillovers.
It is during this period that children access learning to read and write by entering the school system. The possibility that the child is distressed and requires the presence of an adult is frequent.
It is also expected, in this substation, that children choose to join those of the same sex, excluding those of the opposite sex.
In relation to obedience, ambivalent behaviors of complacency and rebellion appear, which may show in the latter a sense of guilt generated from the genesis of the Superego.
The transition from early latency to late latency occurs around 8 years of age.
In this substage, the characteristics of the latency period appear. Among them, there is greater balance and more stability between the different psychic instances of the psychic apparatus. This was conceived by Sigmund Freud in his psychoanalytic theory of personality development and childhood psychosexual development.
It is in this moment of latency that the development of the ego and superego (psychic instances that compose the psychic apparatus) is consolidated. As a result, more effective thrust control is displayed.
Self-control and self-evaluation acquired through experiences of conquest, recognition and evaluation by the family and school environment are developed.
Self-criticism appears more severely, so that self-esteem is generally affected and more vulnerable. The child begins to look more realistic, recognizing his own weaknesses and strengths.
By recognizing and differentiating the different roles they play in the different social spaces they are part of, children acquire a more integrated and complex perspective of themselves, strengthening their sense of identity.
In addition, he acquires the ability to develop different skills and feelings, being aware of them. He manages to separate his rational thinking from his fantasies. And as a result of all of that, he’s generating a brand of what his personality traits will be.
Thus, the latency period can be described as a stage of the child’s psychosexual development, characterized by the repression of childhood sexuality, where the libido remains in a state of latency, while at the psychic level new structures develop. of the psyche.