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Child Development

            Eric is a 6-year-old African American male who was raised in an impoverished inner city neighborhood in Chicago. Drug and violence surrounded his daily life. With a single-mother who involved herself in a series of relationship with abusive boyfriends, Eric found himself beat with a belt, and may have been sexually assaulted. His mother was not home that often, and he was forced to sit outside on the stoop so that his grandmother that also lived with them could sell drugs. His mother was uneducated and supported the family with her public assistance grant. He has never met his father, and his uncles are in jail. His father was convicted of robbery and drug charges but Eric was told that he was shot to death in an attempted robbery. He dreams of one day avenging his father's death and acts it out when he plays alone. He has a history of terrorizing animals and killed the family cat. He also did poorly in school, being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. He is constantly involved in fights and has no companions. When home, he mostly involved himself in action movies and cartoons. Eric befriends with a boy who lived next door to him. One day, he steals the boys bicycle and when the family comes to claim it, he threatens the boy by saying that he was going to kill his baby brother. A few weeks later, Eric broke into the apartment and assaulted the baby, beating him nearly to death. According to Eric Erikson, a student of Freud, his psychosocial theory states that you have to move through stages of development to have your needs met. One needs to be psychologically ready to move on to the next stage. This depends on the social environment they are in. Eric, being six years old is in the initiative vs. guilt stages of Erikson's Stage Theories. In this stage, he is supposed to be ready to take initiative in his own activities and make plans and goals for the future. If his mother does not allow him to take initiative then he will feel guilt for his attempts at independence.

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