Erikson’s Industry versus Inferiority

On to our next stage of development.  In this stage, the big event going on is school.  Starting around age five, kids shift from a primarily fun oriented and caregiver oriented world into a world where peers start to matter and their work takes on meaning.  In this stage, kids ages five to eleven are learning that their choices and their motivation to make those choices have meaning.  The results of what they do are important.

If they succeed in learning industry, or the idea that hard work has value, then they have taken a significant step in developing self-confidence.  If they don’t figure this out, kids realize they are not measuring up to their peers, which results in a sense of inferiority.  The domino effect of this is a lack of self-confidence.

Now, how can we apply this to our characters?  Imagine a person who struggled to figure this out as a kid for whatever reason.  What would their life look like as that child?  Or as an adult still struggling with this?  What kind of conflicts would they have?  Now, what if something happened that forced your character to confront that lack of confidence and that missing sense that their work has value?  What would happen then?  How would that character make it through a challenge like that and who would the character become because of the challenge?

Also, notice how we are starting to get in to concepts less explored in writing.  This could work to your advantage in catching a reader’s attention.

As always, let me know how it goes!

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