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Lagache, D. (1962). The Theory of the Parent-infant Relationship—Contributions to Discussion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:250-251.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:250-251

The Theory of the Parent-infant Relationship—Contributions to Discussion Related Papers

Daniel Lagache


I wish to speak of two points: the first is a comment on an idea which has often been mentioned, that is the concept of dependence. The second deals with an idea which will appear to some of you a theological idea, that is the predestination of the child. As regards dependence, this is very closely connected with the biological prematurity of the child. The prematurity of the child is a biological fact; but a fact which, as it were, does not exist because it is transformed straight away into psychological dependence. And it is in an inter-psychological framework that we must consider the problem put, not by the impulse needs, but by the wishes of the child, or the instincts properly so-called, if one re-introduces the concept of instinctual behaviour on the part of the child. Now what is the result of this? The result is that the child is unable to perceive appropriately the outside world, to find his way about this external world, and to react to it. So much so that his desire can only be satisfied through demands made on the adult, 'demands' in the French sense of the term, that is 'requirements'.

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