The Id, Ego, & Superego Theory for Kids

Instructor: Mark Boster
Has there been a time that you really wanted to do something you know you shouldn't do? Maybe you wanted to steal something, or hurt someone. According to Sigmund Freud, there is a reason for this.


It's 5:30 and you are very hungry, but you know dinner is at 6:00. What do you do? Different parts of you might want different things. One part says that you are hungry and should eat now. Another part tells you that dinner is close and if you eat a cookie now, you won't be able to eat your dinner. But, you also know that your mother doesn't like you to snack before dinner. How can all those thoughts go through your mind at the same time? Sigmund Freud can explain that to you.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud was born in Austria in 1856. He came up with many theories about how and why people act like we do. There are different steps in life we have to go through in order to grow up mentally healthy.

One of Freud's theories explains why we want a cookie before dinner when we know we shouldn't. He explained this with three different names for these traits. He called them the id, ego, and super-ego.


When you will do almost anything to meet your basic instincts, Freud would say that is the id influencing you. You're not really aware of the id. It is part of your unconscious. It makes you want to eat, breathe, and do other things to survive.

The id also has some self-destructive thoughts. It wants to be aggressive and fight. It wants to be mean when it doesn't get what it wants.

By having the id, we want to fight and meet our basic needs. This is very important or we wouldn't survive. The id has both a good part (the desire for food) and a bad part (the desire to fight). The id says, ''If it feels good, do it!''

The id wants what it wants, when it wants it.
the id


The ego is much more reasonable than the id. It works more on what is realistically possible. While the id just wants to satisfy its needs, the ego wants to find acceptable ways to have these needs met.

Instead of fighting, the ego may want you to talk the problem over with someone and come to an acceptable conclusion. Instead of wanting to steal a cookie, the ego may want you to ask your mom if you can have a cookie.

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