Trust: An Essential Ingredient


Trust: An Essential Ingredient


Having trust amidst the radical capriciousness of childhood is challenging to say the least. When we factor in social structures as they are and cultural conversations and traditions, then it becomes even more complicated. How can we choose trust over control in an environment like that? The pressures of parenting are widely known. We want our children to be safe, healthy, confident, smart, capable and able to eventually become contributing adult members of society. The question is, how do we get there and how might trust play a part?


There have been quite a few publications looking to explain the reasons for Denmark's high quality of life rating in comparison to other countries around the world. Their social system works, their educational system works, and they're often voted happiest and healthiest. One theory gives a lot of credit to their culture of trust. They trust each other and they trust the children. By and large, Danes believe when children are trusted to experiment and interact with life on their own, make mistakes and fail, they are able to grow confident and independent. They also build social skills that instill compassionate sensitivities and democratic ideals. Yet, that's easier said than done. When all we want as parents is to keep our children safe, it's no small task to give up control and allow our children to experience the discomfort of trial and error.


Here are a some tips we've found to be helpful with practicing trust building with young people:

  • Provide children with challenges that are slightly above their capabilities. This way they are able to take the initiative, respond to the challenge and improve skills and concepts.
  • Survey the playing space and do risk assessment. That doesn't mean sanitizing the space of all risk, as that may not be entirely possible and it may erase a learning opportunity. Risk assessment is balancing the costs and benefits of the potential risks, because their are negative consequences if children do not experience risk. Only through experiencing risk can the child learn how to tackle everyday challenges and problem.
  • Use careful observation. Notice your child's actions and emotions. Do they seem fearful or challenged? What kind of support or encouragement can be offered? Do they need to rest or try something else.
  • Join us in the outdoors by registering for the spring season, where the opportunities for learning are truly abundant. There's really no other environment that offers real life experience, positive developmental challenges and the natural world as an assistant teacher.

Register for the Spring Season or Attend an Info Session

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Attend an upcoming Info Session in Central Park or Inwood



Stephan Kammerer