Mistrust vs. Distrust

Don’t confuse these terms.  Often we think youth mistrust everyone and systems.  While trustthey might, often it is distrust they experience.

Remember that when we create systems or programs we need to think about the lived experience of youth.  It doesn’t matter what I think or my intention, it matters the lived experience of the youth.  So, when it comes to mistrust or distrust the difference is, distrust is grounded in experience.  While mistrust is general or a feeling.  Sometimes mistrust is used to describe mistaken trust.  Trust that is give when it should have been.

When we think about youth’s responses to our attempts at building relationships, whether around conflict or in another setting it is important to note that they may have real reasons to distrust us or our “new systems.”  If when we build our systems and convince a young person to trust this system, allow them to take account of their actions, and make a commitment to make right the harm we need to be diligent in our follow up and follow through.  They may have misplaced their trust in us and our systems, this will create distrust.

distrustWhat about that makes sense?  How would you build trust?  How do you prevent creating misplaced trust?



About rjfacilitator

My experience, education, and passion have met in alternative discipline. Through my policy work and my mediation experience I have worked and studied the dynamic components of discipline in many settings. While Restorative Justice is not the only way to approach conflict in communities, it has provided me an effective model in which to examine and engage in conflict. We provide custom programs for schools, colleges, and youth serving agencies seeking to engage with conflict using healthy and sustainable tools.
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