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comprehensive psychoanalytic theory that identifies a series of eight stages that a healthy developing individual

The first stage of Erik Erikson’s theory centers around the infant’s basic needs being met by the parents and how this interaction leads to trust or mistrust. Trust as defined by Erikson is “an essential trustfulness of others as well as a fundamental sense of one’s own trustworthiness.The infant depends on the parents, especially the mother, for sustenance and comfort. The child’s relative understanding of world and society comes from the parents and their interaction with the child. A child’s first trust is always with the parent or caregiver; whoever that might be, however, the caregiver is secondary whereas the parents are primary in the eyes of the child. If the parents expose the child to warmth, regularity, and dependable affection, the infant’s view of the world will be one of trust. Should parents fail to provide a secure environment and to meet the child’s basic needs; a sense of mistrust will result.Development of mistrust can lead to feelings of frustration, suspicion, withdrawal, and a lack of confidence.

According to Erik Erikson, the major developmental task in infancy is to learn whether or not other people, especially primary caregivers, regularly satisfy basic needs. If caregivers are consistent sources of food, comfort, and affection, an infant learns trust — that others are dependable and reliable. If they are neglectful, or perhaps even abusive, the infant instead learns mistrust — that the world is an undependable, unpredictable, and possibly a dangerous place. While negative, having some experience with mistrust allows the infant to gain an understanding of what constitutes dangerous situations later in life; yet being at the stage of infant or toddler, it is a good idea not to put them in prolonged situations of mistrust: the child’s number one needs are to feel safe, comforted, and well cared fo