Originally, the signal was strong. “The 1000 days is the name of an ambitious public policy, unprecedented, which looks at the origin of inequalities of destiny and we know that these inequalities are knotted even before the birth of the child. The first 1000 days are therefore essential, for his development but also for the overall health of the adult he will become ”, wrote Olivier Véran in the preamble of an expert report led by neuropsychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik, in September 2020.
Since then, this work has inspired a flagship measure: the doubling of paternity leave to 28 days. Various other variations have also emerged, including an application (1) for parents or future parents so that they can “Find the information” useful for their educational task, promises the government.
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Approaches, presentation of the main stages of development … “The idea is not to give advice, and even less to establish an educational standard because parents must remain responsible for their choices, underlines the psychotherapist Isabelle Filliozat, vice-president of the commission “1000 first days”. We give them access to reliable information, thanks to which they can find their way. “
A difficult scientific consensus
However, the information provided remains, at this stage, especially health, far from the richness of the report. The explanation is that it is very complex to establish a scientific consensus in psychology. Indeed, what is “reliable” information in a field of early childhood that is sometimes very divided between chapels (for example between supporters of psychoanalysis and behavioral psychiatrists) and in perpetual adaptation to the contributions of science?
In matters of childcare and early childhood, the subjects of division remain legion today. An example ? The simple game of throwing an object on the floor for a toddler, letting an adult pick it up and then throwing it again before starting over again, can be interpreted in very different ways. Psychoanalysts see in it a repetition of the separation – the object disappears and reappears -, while their behaviorist colleagues believe that the child experiences, through this game, the law of gravity and realizes that the hand opens and closed. Who to believe?
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The same type of disagreement involves more serious issues, such as the child’s crying. The difficult implementation of the “1000 days” application shows that the baby asks many questions without unequivocal answers. And that crossing the approaches – while giving the sources of the studies cited – would be necessary to understand the baby a little better.