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Freud’s Theory of Child Development


Freud’s theory of child development focuses on personality, and it defines how an individual behaves, feels, and thinks. Therefore, a child grows up unique depending on the issues they went through when they were young. As a child grows, they develop long-term characteristics that they hold throughout their life, and according to Freud, it all starts developing unconsciously. Freud’s study became the first in-depth personality review; some people perceived it as right and others wrong.

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Freud’s theory of child development is right in different ways. The theory’s main proposal is the five psychosexual stages, which include genital, latency, phallic, anal, and oral. They all hinge on a child developing their unconscious mind, and it reveals more as they grow. The child’s personality is determined by the superego, ego, and id (Hossain 41). Freud determines that there needs to be a balance in his five defined stages so that a child can develop desired traits. It shows that a child’s environment is key, as it is about what they see and how they interact or the teachings they receive. Freud’s theory was also contentious as his theory was subjective with little evidence of the subsequent events of his development framework. He stated that if a child missed some of those stages, they would most likely turn homosexual. The claim makes child development deterministic, which is not always the case.


Freud’s theory sparked much controversy because it does not predict what should happen to a child but only explains their development using fixed phenomena. Therefore, it is hard to know if it is true, but his explanation of the child’s environment influencing their life is a good place to start when explaining development. Freud is specific about the claims in the theory’s stages but does not include supporting theories that concur or object to his sayings. Therefore, Freud’s theory forms a small part of a hypothesis about a child’s development, as there are many other influences.

Work Cited

Hossain, Mahroof “Psychoanalytic Theory Used in English Literature: A Descriptive Study.” Global Journal of Human Social Science, vol. 17, no. 1, 2017, pp. 41-48.

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