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Monday, July 18, 2011

Freudian Stages of Development Part 3

The third stage is the phallic stage which takes place from about 3 - 6 years of age. This stage has some interesting ideas in it and so I want to emphasize that I do not necessarily agree with them but that they are Freud's. This being said there is some merit to them and so they need to be looked at.

The primary area of focus is the child's genitalia. It is in this stage that we start to see children exploring their own and other's bodies a little closer. The doctor game comes into play during this stage. There needs to be some exploration so that a child understands the differences and I have read that it is important to teach our children about proper touching during this stage as well. How much exploration should be allowed, that is the question?? I think that self exploration is natural and okay but like I said above it is important to teach proper touch and that it is not looked down on so that the child becomes embarrassed about it. Children can develop some negative thoughts about their body if they become embarrassed about their exploration.

Now some of the things that are a little more interesting about this stage the Oedipus complex. This is where the son begins to challenge the father for the affection of the mother. The name comes from Greek mythology. On the other hand is the girl's complex called the Electra complex. This is when the girl competes with the mother for the father's affection. In this Jung, one of Freud's students, coined the term Electra complex but Freud rejected the term. In this stage Id rears his head in wanting to kill the father because it is father who is sleeping with mother. Whereas is is ego who realizes that father is the dominate and stronger of the two and so does nothing. On the other hand girls develop penis envy in which because she is anatomically different is unable to be with mother and so naturally turns to father. Freud believed that emotionally women went through much more stress during this stage. Remember I warned you that this was a... colourful stage.

This is also when the defense mechanisms begin to form in the child that we have talked about previously. It is also important that during this stage the child learns to relate to the parent of the same sex. It is during this stage that the super-ego is formed and the child learns to follow societal rules. Without this the girl tries to dominate the male by either being overly sexual and or submissive. The boy will become aggressive if this stage is not resolved.

So how do we apply this to our characters? What are the different things that could happen to a child who does not go through this stage well? What if there was no father in the boy characters life and the mother is overly possessive? This is where we begin to think about the what if's in our characters past.


  1. While it is sometimes awkward to discuss, I can very well see the merits in this. I agree that what happens at this stage can affect so many things in the future, so our characters do need this background.

  2. It is an awkward subject I can full well understand what you were saying, my daughter was a proper "Daddies Girl" right until he took his last breath. Written most tastefully.


  3. ok this is a fascinating stage as so much can happen to determine the direction of the character!

  4. There are definitely some points I can take from this especially when it comes to the relationship between children and their parents. I can use this for some of my child-characters.


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