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Trust vs. Mistrust

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Erika Ko

on 31 October 2012

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Transcript of Trust vs. Mistrust

The first psychosocial conflict TRUST VS. MISTRUST Trust versus mistrust is the first of Erik Erikson’s eight psychosocial development stages, which occurs between birth and approximately eighteen months of age. UNFAVOURABLE OUTCOME If the opposite occurs and the child fails to learn to trust its caregivers, the child may be filled with suspicion, withdrawal, frustration, fear of future events, and begin to mistrust the people around him. Failure to develop trust will also result in a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable. According to Erikson, this is the most important stage in a person’s life. It revolves around the infant's basic needs being met by the parents, with this interaction leading to trust or mistrust. A child experiences his or her first real conflict: he or she must learn how to trust through the relationship with his or her caregivers, especially the mother.

For example, when a baby cries, does his caregiver immediately attend to his needs? When he is frightened, will someone come to comfort him? MAJOR QUESTION:
"Can I trust the people around me?" When the child’s needs are consistently met, he will learn that he is able to trust the people caring for him. The crisis of trust versus mistrust is successfully resolved. By completing this stage favourably, the child starts to have faith in the environment and future events; this is the favourable outcome. He or she may then proceed to the other psychosocial stages. FAVOURABLE OUTCOME In order to succeed in this crisis, the child must genuinely believe that all of his or her physical needs are satisfied in a reasonable amount of time, with diminished amounts of anxiety or fear for the future. The child must feel safe, secure, and relaxed in the company of his or her caregivers. Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or negligible contribute to a child’s accumulating mistrust. This stage is vital to a child’s life because with the development of trust, one is able to form relationships and learn to healthily depend on others. Being the first stage, trust versus mistrust is the crucial stepping stone preceding Erikson’s other stages. A positive resolution of the crisis results in a foundation for progress toward the next stage, allowing children to grow cognitively and socially. THE TRUTH
There is a very fine line between giving a child what they need to feel like they are able to trust the world and feel safe, and spoiling the child. This is where many parents get confused and either do not give enough attention, leading the child to having problems in the future, or giving the child too much attention, which also has a negative impact on the child’s life in the future. One concern in our society on the trust vs mistrust crisis is that many mothers and fathers in this day and age go back to work shortly after having their child, leaving their child in the hands of a non-biological caregiver (like a nanny). A question to ask yourself is: can the child truly develop a trust for the world if he is not given the care from his mother or father?
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