Basic Trust

We can depend upon the Lord to build basic trust in us, even when we have not acquired it as children. He is able to reach into our innermost being and fill us with His tender, enfolding love. The PDM can help to communicate God's unconditional love through gentle prayer and godly affection.

Human growth requires certain accomplishments. This lesson will discuss the stages of development each of us must go through, as well as the tasks associated with them.
Because these stages are consequential (important) as well as subsequent (following in order), healthy and timely growth requires that, as children, we learn them in the proper
order (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)

Basic trust is the first and foremost of developmental accomplishments, without which the succeeding lessons cannot be well learned. Failure to acquire basic trust affects us throughout our adult lives, impacting our ability to relate to God and others.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Basic Trust is the fundamental building block of all
human relationships
It is accomplished in the first mental year.

A break in the first mental year causes
a break all the way through life.

Think of the most horrible sin you have ever committed. Now see your self getting up before a group of people and sharing it. What happens to your insides?

The mental year

The term "mental year" is a means of measuring developmental accomplishments. This first mental year may be from 6 months to 3 years depending on the individual, but for this illustration 0-2 is considered average. However, geniuses often develop slowly. Einstein flunked basic math.


In normal development, tasks are accomplished consequentially and subsequently. When one step is missed, it must be learned later. It is much more difficult to learn something later on.


Stage one: BASIC TRUST 0-2

The fundamental building block of all human relationships; accomplished in first mental year; with it we gain

o The ability to hold our heart open to others and life

o Security: the basic sense that "I'm OK, and loved"

o Resilience: the capacity to bounce back

o The courage to venture out, and take risks

o The ability to "shift gears", accept change, and bend without breaking

o Strength of spirit: having one's own center of decision; strength to discipline the mind

o To enter into relationships; to meet spirit to spirit to enter into intimacy

We learn basic trust from one primary experience

Affectionate touch should be received from both parents, but especially from father who draws children to life. Ephesians 6:1,2,4 Fathers teach children how to meet the world. Malachi4:5-6

Stage two INDEPENDENCE 2-4

Independence helps you to achieve and accomplish basic trust,

even to those we depend upon for survival. It also gives you a
sense of Individuation (the ability to distinguish between "me" and "you")

The parent's role is to encourage rather than to crush a child's ability to say no Proverbs 22:6 train up a child in the way he/she should go.
Not the way the parent wants he/she to go.

Discipline is helping to define limits of independence. Children without proper discipline are left confused, and lack direction. Discipline and affection are both acts of love. Discipline should not violate or abuse. Striking a child when you are angry can lead to abuse. The punishment should match the crime.

Stage three INITAT1VE 4-6

This is the capacity to enter and sustain peer relationships. If we have learned basic trust and independence, we can enter freely into the give and take of sharing emotions, thoughts, and space with others. Children first play along side others; now they learn to play with others. We find security in ourselves, not others; without it, we are controlled by others.

Compliance and domination

Without initiative, children will either comply with or dominate others. The complying one (chameleon) goes along with everything.
The dominating one fears the intimacy
of give and take.

Boredom comes from meeting life through your mind instead of your spirit. Without basic trust we can tend to think of people as objects.

Disenfranchised fathers: A Brief History

Prior to World War 1, nuclear families were surrounded by extended families. When fathers went to war, uncles and grandfathers held the children; those generations developed basic trust.

Then came mobility: many families moved away from extended family to find new lives In other cities and states.
The nuclear family
became isolated.

Fathers went to battle again in WW II. This time there were no uncles and grandfathers close by to hold children. Even when they returned, many fathers came home wounded and/or had so much to do to catch up with schooling and careers,
they didn't give the affect on their children needed; thus, that generation did not receive basic trust.

When those children became fathers, they hadn't learned how to be true fathers and couldn't give affection, thus, succeeding generations never receiving could never give.

Consequently, our society suffers from serious moral breakdown. TV programs often portray fathers as bumbling idiots relationally, while TV moms "have it all together."

Stage Four GANG -AGE 6-12

Children develop the ability to "belong" to a group of peers; normally characterized by a comparison or conflict between values and morals of individual and of the gang. The emerging importance of "peer pressure" looms forth at this point.
Experimentation and the acquisition of some adult life skills take place at this stage i.e., money management, the capacity to earn money mowing lawns, babysitting, paper route.

It is good to encourage the child to start learning these skills now, so they can be developed by the time he/she is ready step out on his/her own.
In an effort to protect our children, or control our children we harm them by not teaching them to face the world,
by allowing them to develop these skills and make mistakes on a smaller scale, rather than allowing them to go out totally ill prepared to handle their own affairs. The subconscious plan is to keep them dependent on us the parents for as long as we can, but this can back fire and they become dependent on someone out there that wants to control, and manipulate them. We do our children an injustice by not teaching them to be independent and teaching them initiative.


Without initiative (built upon basic trust and independence) the child may comply with peers, even when gang decisions are bad (fear-based). If a child has always complied with family values and morals, it is likely that he/she will also comply with gang values and morals at this stage. Examples of area compliance might be clothing, sexual attitudes, language, and music.

You walk into your child's bedroom one day and find that, that sweet loving, obedient clingy, hang on every word you say and think that you are the smartest daddy/mommy in the world has been replaced by the kid from hell. This new kid hates being in the same room with you. He/she got a communique� that gave him/her the low down on all your short-comings, hypocrisies, inconsistencies, and weaknesses. He/she has decided to point each one of them out at the most inopportune times.

Welcome to stage four

This is a normal growing and breaking away from parent dominants. If there isn't any of this going on then the parent might be too controlling and domineering. The child has not been allowed enough latitude to make mistakes share his/her feelings and has had to stuff emotions because it didn't suit mother or father.
You might hear the parent say" You might be angry, but you better not let me see it!" The message here is stuff and hide your emotions.
This child has been so dominated and ill prepared for life that adulthood becomes a tenor.
The parent thinks that they have done a good job, because they look at other rebellious children who have put their parents through misery and they say, "not my kid" he/she has been made to toe the mark.
What happens when they get out into the real world where life is trial and error. If he/she has been made to feel badly about him/her self, if he/she has been made to feel that you are bad if you make a mistake,
this child might settle for whatever they have, because fear of making any mistakes might paralyze them and keep them from
growing into his/her full potential.
Stuff your feelings, because you're not entitled to be angry, sad, fearful, etc. This adult will have a very difficult time re-learning what should have been taught by parents.

Stage Five TEEN-AGE 12-19

The teenager who has accomplished basic trust independence, and initiative is on the brink of adulthood. He/she is able to enter into mature, equal relationships. He/she should be able to make important decisions based on growing sense of right and wrong, and say "no" when appropriate. He/she should be able to accomplish two basic tasks:

Individuation: to break away from parental control and make their own decisions.

Internalization: to weigh everything that has come through parents, society, culture and make their own determinations.

The difficulty is that teenagers must continue to live under parents' authority, thus they are problems simply because they exist. However, even as adults we are all under some authority, so it can still be a good learning process.

The struggle of teenage years

Gang-age problems multiply as modem teenagers face adult issues without appropriate skills. In contrast, adolescents of the Bible often worked at home, with father. He lived with the extended family, and was regarded as an adult on his l3th birthday, with Bar Mitzvah (Son of the Divine Law, commandment)

We do not give advice, but here are a few suggestions for parents of teenagers.

Teenagers should not be controlled like younger children. I Timothy 3:4 refers to children under 13. If we try too hard, we as parents can turn individuation into rebellion. Especially if we are in the ministry. The other problem for ministers is that we parentally invert our children, We expect them to act more adult-like, steal their childhood, and make them responsible for our success or failure as a minister. We will send a message that everyone will judge us, by the way you act!

Ministers let your children be children. The one thing that is as consistent as the sun rising is, that people will judge you any way.

o Begin to "let go"~ Fight the urge to be controllers.

o Offer trust and faith in your teenager, even when they have blown it.

o Offer affection freely.

o Talk about the mistakes that you have made

o If what you are doing is not working try something else. You cannot continue to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result

The loss of trust

Sometimes basic trust developed normally in childhood can be shattered later in life

o By sibling rivalries, and woundings

o Jealousies

o Economic troubles

o Being excluded "belonging issues"

o Teasing and ridicule

o Family position (I used to be the baby and now I got replaced)

o Abuse

Healing for lack of Basic Trust

The first task on the resurrection side of healing is to rebuild/restore basic trust.

o Offer affectionate and appropriate touch which reaches beyond the present to the little one within.

o Have faith for the client that God will provide what is necessary.

o Pray for trust to be rebuilt and restored.

o Support the client during the time needed to grow to maturity.

"...who through faith and patience inherit the promises. "Hebrews 6:12

The client may climb, reach plateaus and sometimes slip back into old ways on the way to healing. They need constant encouragement, not condemnation.
There is therefore no condemnation in Jesus Christ.

When a client calls you and is crying about his/her failure, don't be moved to pity, simply say "fine, you messed up, so take it to the cross, put it to death, ask the Lord to forgive you and ask Him for a glorious opposite get back up dust yourself off and move on."
Do not, say anything like "How could you do that again?" or How could you be so stupid?" or "Why after all you have been through would you put your self it that same situation?" or
" It's OK, you probably couldn't help yourself." Acknowledge that they blew it and send them to the cross.

It is important to let the clients know that the Lord will never give up on them, no matter how many times they mess up. Failure is not messing up; the failure is when we quit trying.

A common phenomenon accompanying the lack of basic trust in adults is late individuation. It will help to:

o Understand the problem

o Offer the necessary freedom for the mate to find identity (school, work, hobbies, etc.)

o Be a part of the learning process; share books, tapes, counseling experience, but don't try to teach

o Pray that the Lord imparts basic trust, independence, and individuation.


Psalm 22:9 - Yet you brought me out of the Womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast.

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Proverbs 22:6 - Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 -There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen
the burden Cod has laid on men. He has made
everything beautiful in its time. He has also set
eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom
what God has done from beginning to end.

Malachi 4:5-6 - See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.


Luke 6:47-49-- 'I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, whom dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.'

I Corinthians 13:7 -- It [Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Ephesians 6:1-3 - Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother-which is the first commandment with a promise-that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

I Timothy 3:4 (NAS) -- He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity.

Hebrews 6:12 -- We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

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Site Last Updated: October 19, 2023