Is Trust Alive?

Trust and trust building encompasses a triad: values, ethics and moral standards that define society and relationships. It’s the foundation of a person, a society and the norms that are accepted as right vs. wrong and good vs. bad. Trust is the platform that needs to be continually stoked in order to be retained by the person.

Kohlberg’s theory of moral development is key to understanding how a person understands the invisible and unspoken rules of right and wrong, appropriate behavior (fitting in or not) and how to interact with others.

Kohlberg’s theory (an expansion of Piaget) goes into further detail about what makes someone act in the manner they do with various people. A summary of the six stages of moral development follows:

  • Level I: Preconventional: Moral values reside in external or in bad acts. The child is responsive to rules and evaluative labels, but views them in terms of pleasant or unpleasant consequences of actions or in terms of the physical power of those who impose the rules (the parent or caregiver).
  • Level II: Conventional/Role Conformity: Moral values reside in performing the right role, in maintaining the conventional order and expectancies of others as a value in its own right.
  • Level III: Postconventional/Self-Accepted Moral Principles: Morality is defined in terms of conformity to shared standards, rights or duties apart from supporting authority. The standards conformed to are internal, and action-decisions are based on an inner process of thought and judgment concerning right and wrong.

Currently, the ability to develop this standard may be more difficult because of a myriad of issues such as the increase in a nomad style of living and increases of divorce, single parent families, stress economically and society’s messages to people via social media, gaming, television and movies.

During a short period of time, schools were concerned about the unraveling of character traits and were invested in developing and teaching character skills. Yet this approach has transformed into various derivations, reworded and even discontinued, seemingly to reassert that the responsibility rests with the parent(s).

It doesn’t help people to view dysfunctional relationships, to determine how terrible a relationship may appear or not by watching the variety of talk shows that highlight inappropriate styles of interactions and relationships.

They do not bring in people with healthy and happy relationships because no one wants to see something positive and there’s no drama associated with happy people.

 Glut of Television Shows

The talk shows bring people together who, on the surface, don’t seem to know how to trust others, who don’t communicate well, who don’t know how to problem-solve, who don’t have good control of their emotions, who don’t take responsibility for themselves and who don’t know how to trust themselves.

There is a glut of these television shows that host participants who want to share their story in the public eye. Then, there are the observers (whether they’re in the audience or watching elsewhere) who are invested in hearing these conflictual situations and seem to take pleasure in each story of distress and pain and lack good judgment and insight.

Many people can be swayed and influenced by what they see and don’t question the veracity and appropriateness of the material being presented. There are many articles and discussions that try to evaluate the appropriateness or not of specific commercial media and its messages.

Others suggest that the influence of the social media can lead people to make poor decisions that can lead toward dangerous actions and consequences.

Take for example a child who hears the message from a parent that they are worthy, kind, good, smart and capable. They receive food and other necessary items without tension. They are listened to and asked their opinions.

This child will grow up trusting others, have a good sense of self-esteem and worth and would be regarded as trustworthy. A person can develop trusting relationships if they consistently see others do as they say and follow through, no bluffing allowed.

The communication between parent and child is essential to developing this necessary skill to enhance one’s ability to develop, retain and sustain friendships and emotional connections with others. If a child is not treated in this manner, he is at risk of not understanding relationships and often the side-effects are limited friends, isolation, being bullied, depression and a disconnection with society.

Is Trust Alive?

Jane Rosenblum, LCSW, CCM

Jane Rosenblum, LCSW, CCM is a licensed therapist currently working as a certified case manager. She has extensive experience working with children and geriatric individuals and her 25-year plus career spans settings including medical, psychiatric, substance abuse, home care and schools. Rosenblum is compiling a platform of articles and newsletters that will be found at her site .


APA Reference
Rosenblum, J. (2015). Is Trust Alive?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 4 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Jul 2015
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