Your baby 0-1 year

The baby's skills allow emotional matching

The baby's skills allow emotional matching

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In his new book "Raising a baby from 0 to 6 years old", the child psychiatrist Marcel Rufo explains that since his birth, the newborn does everything to seduce his mother and install a whole system of relational and emotional exchanges with her. It's emotional tuning.

: What is emotional matching?

  • Pr Marcel Rufo: This is one of the very important concepts introduced by child psychiatrist Daniel Stern. He first defined the concept of primary intersubjectivity: among all the skills that the baby has at birth, he knows that the other exists. He will gradually install the process of attachment and research of good distance with the other. In fact, in his early days the baby does everything to conquer his mother, he has everything to be an extraordinary seducer mom! It is these skills that make affective matching possible: a whole relational system that allows the adult and the child to be in phase, emotionally.

How does this emotional adjustment translate?

  • This relational system that is well established around the 6th month is manifested by mother-baby exchanges such as when the baby sends a signal to challenge the other, the latter without realizing it, responds with an echo signal. For example, when the baby makes a vocalise, his mother responds with words, or tactile contact with the same intensity. In fact, the mother is constantly trying to match her baby. And the baby, from his experiments, his observations, gradually determines the interactive style of his mother.

At birth, the baby is already very competent, very good at relationships?

  • Yes, from the first hours of his life ... he recognizes the smell of his mother among all the smells, he recognizes the taste of his milk if he is breastfed, he recognizes his voice among others. It recognizes songs sung during pregnancy. That's why I have a decided position against pregnancy for others: I can not as a child psychiatrist - recognizing that there is a whole preparation upstream between the mother and the child - that the baby can be given like that for nine months. It's impossible.

The recognition of the voice by the baby has extraordinary effects ...

  • What is incredible when the mother speaks to her baby, without even realizing it, his voice caresses, envelops, penetrates the whole. Recognized by the baby, the mother's voice penetrates her psyche. For her part, the mother also reacts (without being aware of it) to the responsiveness of her baby: she begins to hallucinate the progress he will make. That is to say, it projects and projects it at the same time towards progress: it will sit, it will walk, it will speak ... A kind of emotional anticipation that marks the mother-baby relationship.

Interviewed by Odile Amblard

For further : Raising a child, from 0 to 6 years old, Hachette practice, 2015 edition (29,90 €).