Abstract A mother's responsiveness to her infant's signals is important for developing their personal relationship and the child's social and cognitive competence. While interacting, both mother and infant emit signals to capture each other's attention and to indicate whether to join, sustain, or terminate their interaction. Maternal sensitivity to these signals is a central feature in the development of optimal or secure attachment. However, a mother's perceptions and expectations of her infant's behavior affects her sensitivity to infant signals. Because of the effect of these parental perceptions, modifying the parents' cognitive sets and coping strategies to help them better deal with the challenge of responding to infant distress can be beneficial.