Trust vs. Mistrust in Infant’s Development

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The first stage of Psychosocial Development starts at the time a child is born until one year of age. This period focuses on the basic needs of a child which is food, water, safety, love, and comfort. It is considered a crucial phase where the infant learns and experience a trusting relationship with his parent or caregiver which in turn help him trust the world as well. This paper discusses the importance of building trust, hope, and attachment to one’s child and the effects on the infant’s development.


The first stage of an infant life from birth to 18 months is a time of wonderful, exciting, full of discoveries stage. It is a period of learning and developmental growth such as the physical, mental, and emotional. During this stage, the parents must meet the infant’s needs to develop a sense of hope. The infant must feel secure and be able to feel that the world is predictable. When the infant feels the sense of trust by meeting their basic needs, then affection between the mother and the child turns out stronger (McLeod, 2018).

Trust helps an infant in his various developments such as psychological, emotional, social, ability to communicate, and helps cultivate and nurture relationships in the best way possible. This relationship becomes the foundation of your child’s ability to connect with others in a healthy way. Infants develop a sense of positivity and help promote self-esteem during their developmental milestone. Secure attachment bond stems from the wordless emotional exchange that draws the mother and the child close together, ensuring that your infant feels safe and calm enough to experience optimal development of their nervous system. Ultimately, when a baby develops a secure attachment, they are able to build confidence in themselves, learn to trust the people that surround them, develop a virtue of positivity, and learn a sense of reassurance. All of these will act as a guide to the infant to his future dealings, (Robinson, 2018).


Mistrust is an ability to develop fear and having a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable. The child will be unable to connect hope during times of difficulties. An infant may feel anxiety, insecurities, and poor self-worth. Children who are insecure feel unloved and unwelcomed, and those uncertain feelings will manifest in some multiple problems. The behaviors would be such as: avoiding other people, anger management issue and depression, (McLeod, 2018).

Moreover, an infant would feel abandoned if he does not feel the love and safety from the caregiver. There are different challenges on the parents’ part that can affect secure attachment, they can be from emotional problems such as depression, sadness, and anxiety, drug or alcohol problems, having a demanding and stressful life, a history of abuse and neglect or chaotic childhood history, another is living in a dangerous environment, and lastly having negative memories of your own childhood experiences. These factors will have a great impact on the child’s psyche and affect his outlook in life. (Robinson, 2018).

Capacity to control physical skills and independence is another key point for this stage. Independence will help a child develop autonomy and make decisions for himself in the future and at the same time, learn to trust in himself. However, there are some matters encountered that may deter attachment. A mismatch in temperament wherein mother may be an active person while the infant is otherwise calm is an example. A baby with a developmental issue is another mismatch where mother-infant bonding is unattainable (Corpin, 2017).

Whatever the case may be, paying close attention, investing on love, affection and time, constant guidance, understanding your baby’s attitude and behavior and focusing on a goal for self-independence will result in developing trust and self-esteem in children which a good foundation for his development.


  1. Corpin, T., (2017, March 10). Early Childhood Stages of Development – Trust Vs. Mistrust. Retrieved from: www.sdahomeschools.org/early-childhood-stages-of-development-trust-vs-mistrust/
  2. McLeod, S. A. (2018, May 03). Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html
  3. Robinson, L., Saisan, J., Smith, Segal, J. (2018, October). Building a Secure Attachment Bond with Your Baby. Retrieved from: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/parenting-family/what-is-secure-attachment-and-bonding.htm
  4. Secure vs. Insecure Attachment. Better brain for babies (2019) Retrieved from www.bbbgeorgia.org/attachSecure.php

Cite this paper

Trust vs. Mistrust in Infant’s Development. (2021, Oct 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/trust-vs-mistrust-in-infants-development/



How can mistrust develop in infants?
One way mistrust can develop in infants is if they are consistently not given the opportunity to practice self-feeding. This can lead to infants feeling that they are not competent and not in control of their environment. Another way mistrust can develop is if an infant is frequently left alone or with unfamiliar caregivers. This can lead to feelings of fear and anxiety in the infant.
What are examples of trust vs mistrust?
An example of trust would be if someone kept their word after making a promise, while an example of mistrust would be if someone broke their word after making a promise.
What is basic trust vs mistrust?
Basic trust is feeling safe and secure in the world, while mistrust is feeling that the world is unpredictable and dangerous.
What is trust vs mistrust in child development?
The first stage of Erik Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development is Stage 1, under which the child goes through a psychological crisis of “trust vs. mistrust”. They must rely on the mother for their needs; the response of the mother determines whether the child develops trust or mistrust .
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