Erik Erikson accepted the Freudian theory of infantile sexuality, but believed that other non-sexual issues were equally important in childhood development. He theorized that the infant moved from stages of "Basic Trust vs. Mistrust," followed by conflicts of "Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt," "Initiative vs. Guilt," Industry vs. Inferiority, "Identity vs. Role Confusion, "Intimacy vs. Isolation," Generativity vs. Stagnation," and finally into the stage of "Ego Integrity vs. Despair." Personality malformation was likely to occur if the child's conflicts were not resolved, resulting in the child being stuck in one of these stages (Davis & Clifton, 2007, p.1). Jean Piaget, in contrast believed that the child's neurological capacity was the primary influence upon his or her ability to comprehend the world, as the child moved from the sensorimotor, to the preoperational, to the concrete operational stages, followed by the formal operational stage when the child could comprehend such concepts as 'here' and 'away,' and size, shape and mass ("Jean Piaget's Theory of Development,"2007). Lawrence Kohlberg based his ideas of moral development on Piaget's stage theory, stating that children proceeded from the pre-conventional punishment-obedience and personal reward orientation, to the conventional good boy-nice girl orientation/law and order orientation, and finally to the mature social contract orientation/universal ethical principle orientation (Becker, Dorward, & Pasciak, 1996).
Unsurprisingly perhaps, popular media aimed at parents, such as Child magazine, does not emphasize childhood sexual awareness, but rather the control that parents have over their child's intellectual and moral development is. The inability of parents to propel their children beyond the logical progression of stages stressed by Piaget and Kohlberg, or the dangers of arrested development if conflicts are not resolved in Freud and Erickson are subsumed in advice on how the parent can engineer the child's social environment. In the article "Charm School for Tots," the magazine explains what it calls the new Etiquette Revolution for tots at New York's Plaza Hotel, which hosts a class the teaches children how to be respectful of others by offering advice on how to choose the right silverware.
Kohlberg would no doubt see the age group that apparently delights in the class as being in the 'nice/good' child stage or law and order conventional periods of development, and are thus eager to obey parents in exchange for approval while Erickson would see the desire to receive rule-governed behavior as a desire for affirmation of boundaries and trust in adult authorities. Freud would see such an obsession with control over oral and sanitary issues as a hold over from the anal and oral stages. The teacher of the class does show some acknowledgement of the existence of stages of childhood development, when she states that