The Development of Self-Efficacy

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According to McLean (2015), there are eight stages of psychosocial development from infancy to old adulthood based on Erikson’s theory. One of the stages is referred to as the middle childhood development and it consists of children found between the ages of 6-12 years. This is Erikson’s fourth stage of development, and he refers to it as industry vs. inferiority. At this stage, children develop competitive skills and their desire to become achievers increase. As a result, the children work towards achieving specific goals that when achieved, boost their self-esteem and when not achieved, their self-esteem is lowered. The rate of success at this stage influences a child’s self-efficacy, which refers to the child’s belief in his ability to achieve in life. In this regard, the key to self-esteem, then, is the amount of discrepancy between what the child desires and what he thinks he has achieved. This paper is going to discuss the contribution of my family and peers in the development of my self-efficacy during my middle childhood.

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My family members, parents and elder siblings, in particular, played a significant role in the development of my self-efficacy during my middle childhood. My parents played a key role as my motivators in both academic and extra-curricular activities that I engaged in at school and home. The first instance that I remember when my parent motivated me is in the 4th grade when I came back home with a piece of art that I had drawn as a class activity. The piece of art was a painting of a house and it was ranked as the 4th best artistic product in class. When I presented the art to my father, he congratulated me and motivated me with a positive message telling me that I will be the best in the next painting activity in class. This positive message was a major boost to my self-confidence by making me believe that I was the best artist in class. This was evident when I progressed to the second position in the next art project. My progress is in line with the arguments of Erikson in his discussion of the 4th stage of psychosocial development in children. Erikson states that at this stages, when a child achieves a goal, he or she becomes self-confident and this boosts his self-efficacy.

My family played a key role in the development of my self-efficacy. When I was in the 6th grade, my eldest brother was already working as Registered Nurse Practitioner in one of the best healthcare facilities. This was a major motivation for me since it made me believe that I could follow in the footsteps of my brother. According to Mahmoudia (201), when children in middle childhood find an appropriate role model, they are able to gain self-confident that they can do the same. At the fourth stage of development, children get inspired by the success of others. In a recent research study by Mulyadia, Rahardjoa, and Basukia (2016), the findings reveal that children can become successful by watching others succeed. The success of my brother as a care provider was a major boost to my self-confidence, and hence, it facilitated the development of my self-efficacy. I developed the mentality that I will also succeed in my academics and build an excellent career.

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Family support played a key role in the building of my self-efficacy. According to Mishra and Shanwal (2014), the creation of a conducive environment within the family setting plays a key role in the development of a child’s self-efficacy. In a family where a child receives sufficient support at home and at school, there is a high likelihood that the child will have a high self-efficacy. Conversely, when the child lacks support from the family, chances are high that the child will develop low self-esteem. My parents provided me with the necessary support at home and at school. While at school, my parents provided me with all the necessary materials for use at school. My parents bought me the important textbooks to read and enhance my knowledge. While at home, my parents helped me with my school work. The support that I received in my academic activities was a major boost to my cognitive development and it enhanced my performance in class. Increased interactivity with academic materials enhanced my cognitive skills (Ah Hong, Peltzer, & Wimonpeerapattana, 2017). This is in line with Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. According to Piaget, children develop cognitive skills through their interaction with the environment. Increased practice in activities such as drawing and painting expanded my abstract thinking capacity. The improved performance enhanced my self-efficacy since I developed confidence that I will score high grades in my final exams.

My peers at school are other significant players in the development of my self-efficacy. According to my experience, my peers had both a negative and a positive impact in my development of self-efficacy. My peers viewed me as a role model and as a leader. Initially, I experienced inferiority syndrome with regard to leadership. I never thought that I could make a good leader, and therefore, I did not like to take leadership roles in class, especially when we were working as a group. However, during group activities, members always selected me as their preferred leader. This made to develop a positive attitude towards my ability as a leader. Being in the position of leadership was a major boost towards my self-confidence since my peers told me that I was a source of inspiration to them. Since the task of a leader is to inspire the subordinates to achieve greater things, my self-efficacy received a major boost since, under my leadership, my teams achieved positive results (Ah Hong, Peltzer, & Wimonpeerapattana, 2017). My achievements as a leader and the positive effect that they have on my self-efficacy are in line with Erikson’s argument that achieving goals enable children to develop confidence that boost their self-esteem.

My peers also had a negative impact on the development of my self-efficacy. Despite achieving positive results in academics and art, I was not good at physical activities, playing football and swimming in particular. My poor performance in sports made me a laughing stock among my schoolmates. This was a major source of discouragement and it had a negative impact on the development of my self-esteem. This is in line with Erikson’s theory that states that the failure to achieve positive results lowers the self-esteem of a child. As a result, the child experiences a low self-efficacy.


In conclusion, family members and peers play a significant role in the development of self-efficacy among children in middle childhood. Support provided by parent and peers is a major motivation that makes children believe that they can achieve. According to Erikson’s theory, the achievement of goals boosts a child’s self-efficacy. On the other hand, failure lowers self-esteem and a child’s self-efficacy.

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  1. Ah Hong, S., Peltzer, K., & Wimonpeerapattana, W. (2017). Impact of self-efficacy and parenting practice on physical activity among school children. Nagoya Journal of Medical Science79(3), 339–349.
  2. Mahmoudia, A. (2012). Effect of self-esteem and self- efficacy in family dynamics. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, 53-56.
  3. McLean, K. C. (2015). The Co-authored Self: Family Stories and the Construction of Personal Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Mishra, S. & Shanwal, V. K. (2014). Role of Family Environment in Developing Self Efficacy of Adolescents. Integrated Journal of Social Sciences, 1(1), 28-30.
  5. Mulyadia, S., Rahardjoa, W., & Basukia, A. M. H. (2016). The Role of Parent-Child Relationship, Self-Esteem, Academic Self-Efficacy to Academic Stress. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 217(2) 603-608.
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