Sigmund Freud described the latency stage as the fourth major phase of psychical and sexual development through which each individual must pass. You can order a custom research paper form Paper Masters on this topic. The latency stage typically lasts from around the age of five or six until the time of puberty. Whereas the other four major developmental stages in Freud’s psychosexual development are each focused on a specific area of the body, no such focus is apparent in the latency stage. Instead, the developing ego—that is, the conscious mind which regulates cognition and behavior—becomes more effective at and repressing the instincts and impulses of the unconscious mind or id. Thus, although sexual and other instinctual urges are still present, they are suppressed and the energies associated with them are sublimated into external, socially acceptable activities—including hobbies, platonic friendships, school work, and athletics.
Latency Stage in Developing Children
Because the unconscious urges repressed and latent, the child finds these asexual endeavors to be gratifying and pleasurable. Furthermore, while no significant psychosexual development occurs during the latency stage, it is nonetheless an important period of exploration and for the development of social skills, intellectual abilities, and personality traits. Well developing children will acquire the following:
- improved communication and social skills
- growing self-awareness
- increased self-confidence
All of these characteristics are critically important for the developmental challenges that lie ahead. For the fifth and final stage that begins with the onset of puberty will see a great resurgence of sexual impulses and the emergence of complex new challenges that demand resolution.