Alain Braconnier, Bernard Golse

Our Babies, our Teenagers Publication date : October 23, 2008

When they talk about their adolescent children many parents qualify them as “big babies”— while adolescents frequently complain that their parents still treat them as infants.

What is the origin of this paradox? What characteristics are common to both infancy and adolescence? Increased knowledge of these two decisive periods of life can help parents acquire a better understanding of their adolescent child.

Alain Braconnier and Bernard Golse present a new viewpoint. They argue that adolescents and infants have similar ways of relating to their bodies and to language. A better understanding of these shared characteristics will enable parents to anticipate if an adolescent is likely to turn into a “big baby”. But it can also help teenagers find out what sort of infants they were and how “big babies” can become adults.

Greater knowledge of adolescence will make it easier to help teenagers reconstruct their childhood — even if theirs was a painful and difficult one. The authors argue that this reconstructive stage is crucial for each individual's future.

This book brings together the skill and expertise of two eminent psychiatrists specialising in early childhood and adolescence. By delving into our knowledge of infant development, they offer a new approach to adolescence. They show that young children as well as teenagers must be given time to grow and develop and that the specific characteristics of each age must be respected.

Alain Braconnier is the author of such immensely successful books as Les Filles et les Pères (2007), Mère et Fils (2004) and Le Guide de l'adolescent (2007). A physician and psychoanalyst, he heads a mental health association in Paris and teaches at the University of Paris-V. His other works include Tout est dans la tête (1992), Le Sexe des émotions (1998), L'Adolescence aux mille visages (1998) and Petit ou grand anxieux? (2002).

Bernard Golse, a child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, is a department head at Hôpital Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, in Paris, and a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Paris-V.