Have you ever heard of Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial theory? He believed that in order to grow up as a healthy adult, we must pass eight stages. These are the TRUST VS MISTRUST, AUTONOMY VS SHAME AND DOUBT, INITIATIVE VS GUILT, INDUSTRY VS INFERIORITY, IDENTITY VS ROLE CONFUSION, INTIMACY VS ISOLATION, GENERATIVITY VS STAGNATION, and finally EGO INTEGRITY VS DESPAIR.
For now, we are going to focus on the first stage which is TRUST VS MISTRUST. Why is the development of trust important? This stage begins right when the baby is born into the world and until he or she reaches 18 months. Being a nurse, I’ve already heard of the Psychosocial Theory plenty of times that I have them tattooed on my mind already. I remember noting to myself to keep it in mind so that I may apply it to my children if the time comes.
Babies need to be able to trust their caregivers or specifically their parents. Just as the saying goes, “Trust is earned, not given”… Parents have to gain their baby’s trust as well. It doesn’t mean that just because you are the parent the baby will automatically trust you. As we all know, babies are entirely dependent on other people to take care of them since they can’t really do much yet. Parents can gain their baby’s trust by making sure that you are consistent in giving care.
When the baby cries, be sure to comfort them ASAP. None of that “let the baby cry so they can self soothe”, this may come as a surprise to some but babies aren’t capable of doing that yet. Crying is their universal language. That is the only way they know how to communicate so be sure to respond to it. Ignoring it can lead baby to think that he or she is being left alone, abandoned, or that he or she is unimportant.
As a new mom, there are some relatives (who mean well I know) who have been telling me to stop picking her up whenever she cries or to just let her sit there and wait until she realizes that crying is not doing her good.
“You always pick her up. She’s going to get used to that and grow up spoiled.”
No, she is going to grow up loved, secure, and confident that mommy has her back. When the baby trusts his or her caregivers, he or she will be confident to explore the world around him or her because he or she knows that mommy has his or her back. And that is a great thing!
Remember parents: be consistent. You are earning your baby’s trust. 🙏🏻