Constructing First Relationships
• The emergence of the first relationship is fascinating and may be a prototype for all
subsequent relationships ie/social smile
• We infer relationships from interactions but the sum of interactions does not equal a
Stages of Interactional Development:
• Biological regulation (0 months)
o Developmental Task: to regularize the infant's basic biological processes and to
harmonize them with parental requirements. Ie/sleeping and eating patterns are
different. Parent brings in own ideas how to regulate child others may take a laisez
faire approach, on the other end adapt to parents current lifestyle. Characterized by
basic functions such as crying, smiling but not a reactive smile.
• Face to face exchanges (2 months)
o Developmental Task: to regulate mutual attention and responsiveness in face to
face situations. Ie/sitting in 45 degree chair. Ie.direct eye contact is important. Childs
ability to discriminate between two different individuals important because able to
develop a relationship even if have visual impairment can rely on other senses. Babies
need to scan the entire face. Debate about an innate disposition ie.eye tracking
implying inborn mechanism.Afull face required in order to trigger a smile. Cycles of
attention and non-attention (which we all have it). Important that parents regulate and
synchronize their stimulation with the child. Parents can control their own attention
and stimulation. Initial development of turn taking especially in verbal
• Topic Sharing (5 months)
o Developmental Task: to incorporate objects into social interactions and ensure
joint attention and action to them.
• Reciprocity (8 months)
o Developmental Task: to initiate intentional actions directed at others and develop
more flexible and symmetrical relationships. Intentional is each partner will start a
conversation. All three components important: intentional, flexibility, reciprocity-not
just reactive. Symmetrical will change over time in dysfunctional families and
hierarchical family systems-clear who the parent is in the relationship. Start seeing
coordination of several activities (from topic sharing). Ie/crawling, sitting up,
reaching, using hands, babbling, listening. Parents are going to engage in fun games
with the child. Teaches turn taking in conversations, teaches child repetition. Ie/peek
a-boo. Starting to show reciprocity and gradually over time will be able to do it better.
Then gradually symmetrical relationship will change intentionally. Develops into give
and take, starts with take because child takes it then later contributes. Once there is
intentionality, child has developed mature social exchanges. Want to see these
• Gestures and social referencing Gestures include pointing, handing
objects. Have significant meaning, not just okay picking up a block and hand it
to mom, may have some meaning but gestures become more complicated. Ie/
dad comes from work, child points to dad-meaningful to mom, has incorporated both parents into communication with emotion. Gestues clear intentionality with
clear meaning, and an idea expressed. Initial gestures are concrete not symbolic.
Symbolic gesture is ie/nodding head for yes or no because don’t really mean
anything. Concrete gestures gradually become symbolic gestures.
• Social Referencing: child looks at parent for approval or feedback for a
planned action. Looks at parents while starting to do something. Child
undesrtadns their action will have a reaction and negative so may not want to go
through with their action.
• Symbolic representation (18 months)
Development Task: To develop verbal and other symbolic means of relating to
others and reflecting upon social exchanges. Speech is symbolic. Public speaking is
difficult start off early.
Categories of Parental Behaviour:
1. Nurturant: meets physical requirements. Ie/food
2. Material: provision and organization of material world. Parents make different
decisions how to organize material world ie/ size of house-own room far away from
parents, own washroom to everyone sleeping in one room. Major implications on child-
isolated from family or constantly be with other people- sense of security. Ie/mom be home
with child and dad work so as a consequence live in small house vs child at daycare both
parents work to live in bigger house.
3. Didactic: stimulating and engaging infan