Cover image for The earliest relationship : parents, infants, and the drama of early attachment
The earliest relationship : parents, infants, and the drama of early attachment
Brazelton, T. Berry, 1918-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley, [1990]

Physical Description:
xix, 252 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Merloyd Lawrence book."
Pregnancy: the birth of attachment -- The newborn as participant -- Observing early interaction -- Imaginary interactions -- Understanding the earliest relationship: a complementary approach to infant assessment.
Reading Level:
1360 Lexile.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library BF720.P37 B72 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order


Author Notes

Thomas Berry Brazelton Jr. was born in Waco, Texas on May 10, 1918. He received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1940 and a medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1943. He took his pediatric training at Boston Children's Hospital in 1947 and went on to study child psychiatry at Massachusetts General and the James Jackson Putnam Children's Center. In 1950, he began a private practice in pediatrics and was an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He also went on to teach at Brown University.

He revolutionized people's understanding of how children develop psychologically. He wrote around 40 books including Infants and Mothers: Differences in Development, wrote a column in Family Circle magazine, and was the host of the show What Every Baby Knows, which ran for 12 years. He received the World of Children Award for his achievements in child advocacy in 2002 and the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2013. His memoir, Learning to Listen: A Life Caring for Children, was published in 2013. He died on March 13, 2018 at the age of 99.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Celebrated baby doctor Brazelton and psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Cramer describe how, during pregnancy and afterward, parents form attachments and interact with their children, usually positively but often negatively. The authors' combined knowledge about child development and the ``ghosts'' or ``replayed battles'' and ``reincarnated relatives'' from parents' earlier experiences is presented clearly along with informative lists such as the Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale and in-text physiological research references. Interaction basics are covered, including synchrony, contingency, and entrainment. Most interesting are the nine case studies, which deal with clinical assessment and intervention in parent-child relationships when the parents' fears, fantasies, and ideals collide with the infant's temperament. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/89.-- Janice Arenofsky, formerly with Arizona State Lib., Phoenix (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

An unusual combination of research findings and clinical theorizing--a book clearly written by two people. Brazelton, widely known as "the new Dr. Spock," sticks closely to the "what" and the "how" of infant development, while Cramer, an infant psychiatrist, tackles the "why," primarily from a psychoanalytic point of view. Cramer begins with the parents' fantasies about the child during prenatal development. When the child is born, the parents must reconcile their fantasy with reality; this may be difficult if the child is less than perfect. Parents give meaning to their infant's behavior; Cramer describes various "ghosts": past relatives, previous events, etc., that lead the parents in their interpretation of their infant. If these "ghosts" are negative, the early parent-infant interactions are affected (several case studies illustrate this). Brazelton describes infant sensory abilities, states of consciousness, and how his neonatal assessment scale can be used to evaluate the newborn's capacities. The forms of early interaction, contingency, synchrony, and play between mother and infant are nicely outlined. The authors are concerned with detecting infants and parents at risk for attachment problems, and are seeking ways of treating such cases early in life. General audiences. -K. L. Hartlep, California State University, Bakersfield

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xv
Introductionp. 2
1 The Prehistory of Attachmentp. 5
2 The Dawn of Attachmentp. 17
3 Attachment in Fathers-To-Bep. 33
Part 2 The Newborn as Participantp. 42
Introductionp. 44
4 The Appearance of the Newborn and Its Impactp. 47
5 Reflexes in the Newbornp. 49
6 The Five Senses in the Newbornp. 53
7 States of Consciousnessp. 63
8 Assessment of the Newbornp. 69
9 Individual Differencesp. 75
Part 3 Observing Early Interactionp. 82
Introductionp. 84
10 Interaction Studies: An Overviewp. 87
11 Interaction in Contextp. 97
12 Still-Face Studiesp. 107
13 Four Stages in Early Interactionp. 113
14 Essentials of Early Interactionp. 121
Part 4 Imaginary Interactionsp. 128
Introductionp. 130
15 Giving Meaning to Infant Behaviorp. 133
16 The Infant as Ghostp. 139
17 Reenacting Past Modes of Relationshipp. 151
18 The Child as One Part of the Parentp. 157
19 Assessing Imaginary Interactionsp. 163
Introductionp. 166
20 Combining Developmental Observations and Analytic Insightp. 169
21 Assessing Interactionp. 171
22 Lisa: "Angry Already"p. 175
23 Sebastian: "Reproachful Eyes"p. 185
24 Peter: "Wild Man"p. 189
25 Clarissa: "No Matter What"p. 197
26 Bob: "They Took Him Away"p. 205
27 Antonio: "A Bad Eye"p. 209
28 Sarah: "Malina"p. 215
29 Mary: "Time Out"p. 221
30 Julian: "The Tyrant"p. 225
31 Assessment as Interventionp. 229
Referencesp. 232
Indexp. 245
About the a U T H O R Sp. 252

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