The author, analyzing the theoretical constructs that have dimostrated the emerging capacities during child development, proposes the concept of "relational child"as an improvement and integration of "observed child" and "clinical child", considering "the Relation as the Organizer of experience in developmental age". The concept of the "Child" has almost completely changed: the first perspective was based on the adults reconstructions about this period, then the children were directly observed in clinical settings in a dyadic relation, and later in a triadic interaction that allowed to frame development and childhood psychopathology in relational terms. Since the 1970s, research that included observing the behavior of children in their relational world has validated the systemic theoretical constructs that consider the relational matrix to be fundamental for understanding human behavior and include the observer as an object of observation for building therapeutic interventions "strategically consistent with care needs". The following clinical cases have different objective: in the first case, author highlights the importance in therapeutic relation to bring out in presence of parents the competences that they can’t reveal in their children; in the second case, she reports the ability of a five-years-old girl to anticipate her future emotional experiences (mentalization); in the third case she propose a systemic interpretation of child development highlighting the multifactorial dimension of construction of self and its connection with familial dynamic: she reports the "trigeneration" resonances of a two-year-old patient who seems to reflect her parents’ expectations, as if the self were reflected in the couple relation.
Keywords: Relational child, mentalization, childhood psychotherapy, "self" development, triangular space, therapeutic techniques.