During the anal stage, the second of Freud’s five stages this begins near the age of 1 and goes till about 3. The erogenous zone shifts from the oral cavity to the anal region with the realization that going to the bathroom is a pleasurable event. Freud believed that the primary focus of the libido was on controlling bladder and bowel movements. The major conflict at this stage is toilet training--the child has to learn to control his or her bodily needs. Developing this control leads to a sense of accomplishment and independence. According to Freud, success at this stage is dependent upon the way in which parents approach toilet training. Parents who utilize praise and rewards for using the toilet at the appropriate time encourage positive outcomes and help children feel capable and productive. Freud believed that positive experiences during this stage served as the basis for people to become competent, productive and creative adults.
The most intricate is the third of the five stages; the phallic stages covering 3to 6 years of age. Primary focus of the libido is on the genital erogenous zones shifting from the anus to the genitals. At this age, children also begin to discover the differences between males and females. Freud also believed that boys begin to view their fathers as a rival for the mother’s affections. The Oedipus complex describes these feelings of wanting to possess the mother and the desire to replace the father. However, the child also fears that he will be punished by the father for these feelings, a fear Freud termed castration anxiety. The term Electra complex has been used to describe a similar set of feelings experienced by young girls. Eventually, the child begins to identify with the same-sex parent as a means of vicariously possessing the other parent. For girls, however, Freud believed that Electra complex was never fully resolved and that all women remain somewhat fixated on this stage. Psychologists such as Karen Horney disputed this theory, calling it both inaccurate and