Roth Clinic


3 years of age in child development

At 3 years of age children have not yet grasped the full meaning of space and time. They are coming out of a first stage centered in the here and now of their action. They might be too young to have a sense of borders and countries, or to have a full understanding of future and past events. At this stage, they start developing intuitive intelligence (Piaget, 1971).

According to Erikson (1950), self-control and self-confidence begin to increase at this stage. Children start doing more on their own. As they gain control over eliminative functions and motor abilities, they go exploring their world. The caregiver is the most important figure, which provides a sense of security and continuity to the child as he adventures into world exploration. Provided a sense of safety, the child endeavors out to assert his will. The toddler strives for autonomy in this way, the starting point of self-sufficiency.

A healthy child will internalize secure parental figures and believe that he is capable enough to solve any problem by themselves. Any failure at this stage can result in feelings of shame or doubt. Any failure could lead to a lack of confidence later in life with neurotic attempts to regain the sense of control, power, and competency.

As a grown up, a person can present obsessive or avoidance style. The person that shows obsessive behavior has the tendency to follow strict rules that help avoid ever feeling ashamed again. The avoidance behavior also helps reduce the risk of feeling embarrassed by never allowing themselves to be close to others.