Trusting others

Trusting others

Moving from childhood to adolescence requires our children to  engage with a wider social group. From having been more closely aligned with family members, they are developing their own strategies to independently manage interactions with friends, teachers and other adults with less guidance from us as  parents. They will be increasingly looking to others outside the family for support, affirmation and approval. They will be seeing themselves as individuals, perhaps asserting their own autonomy and identity in different social contexts. All of which, is developmentally normal and necessary if they are to become independent socially functioning young adults. However, making wise judgements about their response to and engagement with  other people is critical if they are to build healthy and appropriate with the different individuals in their life.

Making wise social judgements will rely on their discernment: how well do I know this person; are they reliable and trustworthy? How much should I expect of this person? Is this person’s opinion important to me? Should I do what this person is asking me to do? Whilst we all ponder these questions, for adolescents growing up in today’s fast moving on line world, these questions are more relevant than ever. The sheer volume of information can be overwhelming and confusing to make sense of. The ease with which others can post opinions and comments can be leave our children bombarded by peer critique – both positive and negative. The need for peer belonging and inclusion can supersede their rational judgement, perhaps leading to on line aberrations which surprise us.


How can we guide our children to know when to trust other peoples’ qualities, skills, ideas and opinions, and when to be more socially questioning? 

We can do this by modelling how we decide whether to trust or question others, but we can also signpost to children those times to trust others’ qualities, skills, ideas and opinions and when to be more circumspect and cautious.


Times when it is healthy or wise to question other people’s qualities, skills, ideas and opinions


  • Ignoring a comment from someone whose opinion doesn’t matter to you
  • Saying no to someone who asks you to do something you don’t feel comfortable about
  • Choosing not go along with something that is unkind, foolish or dangerous
  • Asking questions rather than accepting thing as they are
  • Offering an alternative perspective in a discussion rather than going along with what others say
  • Finding your own solution rather than assuming others can help you
  • Persevering with something difficult rather than asking for help or given up
  • Asking before taking something rather than assuming you can just take it
  • Noticing that someone is busy and not interrupting them
  • Choosing not to share too much with someone you have only recently met
  • Reading critically, rather than assuming what you are reading is true or fair
  • Not getting drawn into conversations which are unkind or unhealthy
  • Choosing not to spend time with someone who has let you down or hurt you
  • Not posting private information on social media in case others use it inappropriately
  • Choosing to stick with your own opinion rather than changing it because others disagree


Times when it is healthy or wise to trust other people’s qualities, skills, ideas and opinions

  • Takinhigh-too-5g on board other people’s ideas, when they are people you know and trust
  • Noticing other people’s qualities and skills
  • Affirming or praising other people in a meaningful way
  • Asking people you trust for advice when you have a problem
  • Trusting other people with tasks and responsibilities rather than doing it all yourself
  • Trusting that people will be welcoming to you when you go somewhere new
  • Trusting that people will be supportive when you have a go at something new
  • Having a go or taking a risk because people will be there to help
  • Accepting that people make mistakes and accepting their apology
  • Accepting that when you make a mistake people will be forgiving
  • Telling a teacher when you need help, once you’ve had a go on your own
  • Going along with what others are doing, even if it can be frustrating at times
  • Accepting a decision even if you don’t always agree
  • Being tolerant of other people even if they can be annoying or different to you

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