HealthSex Education

Psychosexual development in childhood and adolescence with stages

Sexual identity is established in late adolescence. This implies the integration of sexual impulses into the total personality in a manner consistent with different aspects of the young person’s development, being able to unify and relate various aspects such as their sexuality, norms, values, ethics and objectives in life.

As has been analyzed, adolescence constitutes a stage in the development of the human being full of challenges and demands. One of the fundamental objectives is the development of an identity construction. psychosexual development

At the same time, during adolescence, many of the thoughts, feelings and desires of adolescents are directed towards their sexuality. This process is often accompanied by worry, confusion and uncertainty, especially in relation to sexual orientation, since emotions and affections with a libidinal charge towards other people begin to be felt. More often this orientation is heterosexual, but in other cases it can acquire homosexual or bisexual characteristics, which frequently generates greater conflicts than those typical of adolescence. psychosexual development

Stages of Development

Lactation stage (first two years of life) psychosexual development

This period is characterized by the child’s total dependence on their caregivers, requiring them to satisfy their basic needs.

If the child’s needs are met with little frustration, there will be an affective sense of security. This is manifested through breastfeeding, caresses, voice and looks. The repetition of this experience generates in the infant an internal representation that his / her caregivers are there to comfort him / her, forming a secure bond with them and, constituting a feeling of basic security.

If their needs are not consistently met, the infant has feelings of insecurity, incorporating a mental representation of the world as a hostile place with a greater probability of developing an insecure bond (ambivalent, avoidant, or disorganized).

According to Erikson, from birth to 12 to 18 months is the period of basic trust versus mistrust, developing a sense of whether or not it is possible to trust the world. The virtue to be achieved in this period is hope. psychosexual development

From the cognitive point of view, according to Piaget, this stage of development is characterized by sensory-motor intelligence, where intellectual development is closely linked to the action that the child does on the environment, learning to through the senses and motor activities.

According to Freud, from birth to 12 to 18 months is the oral stage, in which the main source of pleasure is given by activities carried out with the mouth.

Preschool stage (2 to 5 years) psychosexual development

It is characterized by large changes at the biological level of a maturational type that make it possible to walk, control sphincters and the appearance of the symbolic function and, with it, of language. psychosexual development

The child frequently opposes the orders of authority with stubbornness and stubbornness as a way of asserting himself in front of others, that is why this stage is also called the “age of obstinacy”. This situation is an indicator that the child is discovering and developing his / her own identity.

Play is presented to the child as a way of rehearsing the recently acquired symbolic function. Through the game, he represents roles, scenarios, etc. From an individualistic symbolic game he progressively passes to a collective one where he must play with other children to achieve his goals. This collective symbolic game imitates behaviors of adults, which favors adaptation to the roles that they will have in relation to their gender.

At this stage of development, curiosity about sexuality appears. With a progressive exploration of their body, the children begin to get to know each other, and in this way games such as “the father and the mother” and “the doctor” become common. In the exploration of the genitals, pleasant sensations appear, which favors the behavior of self-stimulation or infantile masturbation. These behaviors may be accompanied by feelings of fear or inhibition, which to a great extent will depend on the reaction of adults to them, making dialogue and loving guidance important. It may help to explain the concept of external genitalia as “private” body parts. psychosexual development

The thought is egocentric, magical and concrete, which must be taken into account when children ask questions about sexuality.

According to Erikson, from 18 months to 3 years is the stage of autonomy versus shame or doubt, developing a balance of independence. The virtue to achieve during this stage is desire. From 3 to 6 years old, it is the stage of initiative versus guilt, in which the child develops initiative by trying new things and does not allow himself to be overwhelmed by failure. The virtue to be achieved at that stage is the purpose.

At the cognitive level, according to Piaget, from 2 to 7 years old, a representational intelligence is passed that is constituted at this stage by pre-operational or symbolic thinking, using words to represent people, places, events, etc.

Freud calls the anal stage from 12 to 18 months to 3 years, because the child focuses on sphincter control where he experiences pleasure in the face of accumulating, retaining and expelling, which gives him more control and the ability to assert your will and, therefore, assert yourself.

Also for Freud, between 3 and 6 years is the phallic stage in which the gratification zone is the genital region. At this stage there is the Oedipus complex in boys and the Electra complex in girls. psychosexual development

Moral development at this stage is in relation to obedience to avoid punishment or for personal gain.

School stage (from 6 years to puberty) psychosexual development

At this stage, a period of formal training and learning begins at school. The child needs to feel integrated with the peer groups. Friendships between children of the same sex are common, reaffirming gender roles.

According to Erikson, it is the stage of dexterity versus inferiority, in which the child must learn skills from the culture to which he / she belongs or face feelings of inferiority. The virtue to be achieved is competition. It is a stage of much intellectual work where the child is constantly proving himself / herself and achieving results through his / her action in the world.

At the cognitive level, according to Piaget, from 7 to 12 years there is a change in the type of thinking, from an intuitive one to an organization of concrete operations. This new thought allows establishing causal relationships, combining experiences with a more individual and critical vision of the world that surrounds them. psychosexual development

According to Freud it is the latency stage, described as a moment of apparent calm compared to other stages. However, sexual urges are often not latent and are expressed through sexual curiosity, genital exploration, and masturbation.

Moral development at this stage is called conventional, where you do the right thing to please others or to obey the law.

Abnormal sexual behaviors

Should be cause for concern and mental health evaluation:

  1. Sexual behaviors that are not typical of age, that make you suspect sexual abuse, such as drawing or playing simulating sexual relations, asking others to touch your genitals, etc.
  2. Compulsive masturbation that is the sole or greatest source of satisfaction or relief of tension, that produces social withdrawal or that occurs in public.
  3. Persistent disagreement with the assigned sex or the corresponding gender role, assuming manners and behaviors that traditionally correspond to the other gender.

Adolescence (between 10 and 19 years old) psychosexual development

The beginning of this stage is defined biologically with puberty and the end would be given by social factors such as economic independence and the assumption of functions recognized as “of the adult world.”

Biological changes begin that are evidenced through the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics that provoke in the young person new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving in relation to himself / herself and others.

The sexual impulse acquires an orientation to the search for an encounter with another person and there is a lot of concern for the body changes and the own appearance.

Masturbation is frequent, which fulfills the function of helping in the knowledge of the own body, as well as the liberation of tensions of a sexual nature. psychosexual development

There is a cognitive egocentrism, in which the adolescent sees the world and interpersonal relationships from their point of view. At the same time, they particularly feel the center of attention of other people, a phenomenon known as “the imaginary audience” or “imaginary spectators”.

Another phenomenon described is the “personal fable”, in which the adolescent has a feeling of invulnerability, feeling that they are special beings.

On the other hand, they have a need to intellectualize and fantasize and there is a demanding social attitude, judging and criticizing social norms. psychosexual development

Mood fluctuations are frequent; however, suicidal ideation, self-harm, sleep disturbances, prolonged discouragement should make us suspect a mood disorder.

For Erikson, from puberty to early adulthood is the stage of identity versus identity confusion, in which the adolescent must determine his / her own sense of self. The virtue to be achieved is fidelity.

According to Piaget, from 12 years to adulthood, it is the stage of formal operations, in which the person can think in abstract terms and face hypothetical situations, which is why it is also called hypothetical-deductive thinking.

Freud calls the stage that begins at puberty genital, beginning adult sexuality. psychosexual development

An autonomous moral conscience is expected to develop at this stage, choosing values ​​and moral principles that transcend the group.

Psychosexual Development in Childhood and Adolescence psychosexual development

The characteristics with which people are born and the effects of the experiences they live influence each other, shaping development, which is a process that lasts a lifetime.

Human development involves the integration of various biological, emotional, cognitive and social processes. Although humans generally follow their course through the same general sequence of development, there is a wide range of individual differences. psychosexual development

With a didactic purpose, different authors have divided development into stages according to age, which are approximate and, to a certain extent, can be considered arbitrary.

A brief review will be made of the different stages of development from childhood to adolescence.

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