Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

Freud’s Psychosexual Stages

What did Freud mean by the anal stage?

The anal stage takes place from age eighteen months to approximately three years. At this point the child’s erogenous zone transfers from the mouth to the anus. This is a time of toilet training, when the child is expected to exercise control over his or her feces. The quality of parental discipline during this process can influence the child’s development through this stage. If the parent is too strict, the child might become anal retentive, focused too much on controlling and holding in feces. In personality terms, this translates to an overemphasis on control, self-discipline, neatness, and stinginess with regard to money. If the parents are insufficiently strict around toilet training, the child can become anal-explosive, inadequately focused on controlling feces. The associated personality traits include messiness and a lack of self-discipline.


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