How does a child learn to mistrust?

How does a child learn to mistrust?

Trust is important to a child’s psychological development. A child that learns to trust or mistrust can have far reaching consequences that affect all areas of their life from childhood through adulthood.

A child that learns to mistrust will learn to be insecure in some or all areas. They may be more prone to anxiety and stress, and they may be more wary and suspicious of people and the world in general. They may end up avoidant and scared to try new things, or have difficulties forming healthy attachments to family, and peers.

In Erik Erikson’s psychological development theory, learning how to trust or mistrust happens between 1 to 18 months. During this period, if the parents provide a stable, caring, and consistent environment for the baby, they will develop a sense of trust that they will carry through to every facet of their young lives and into adulthood.

When the parents aren’t able to provide consistent care, often ignore the baby, and are not reliable, the baby learns to not trust the world. This leads to a a child that will learn that the world is not safe, not stable, not consistent, and unpredictable. They will have problems forming strong, healthy relationships, and feel a sense of insecurity in their home life, school, peer relationships, and later their professional life as well. When they learn to mistrust, children learn that they are alone in the world.

With trust, the baby learns that there is always someone there for them, and that they are never alone. They can turn to family, friends, parents, and their peers to ask for help. They are able to form strong personal bonds and are resilient to threats to the stability of their world. They will have a strong sense of hope and learn that problems can be overcome.

The first 18 months of a child’s life is crucial in developing their trust and this development will carry over to every aspect of their life thereafter.

To learn more about the different theories of child psychological development, College of Allied Educators offers our Diploma in Learning Disorders Management and Child Psychology. This part-time programme is designed specifically to train potential teachers, parents and caregivers to identify, detect and support children with special needs, such as Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyspraxia, and Dyslexia.

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