The authors discuss the issue of intergenerational transmission of parenting from an empirical and psychoanalytic perspective. After presenting a framework to explain their conception of parenting, they describe intergenerational transmission of parenting as a key to interpreting and eventually changing parenting behaviors. Then they present (1) the empirical approach aimed at determining if there is actually a stability across generations that contributes to harsh parenting and eventually maltreatment and (2) the psyphoanalytic thinking that seeks to explain the continuity in terms of representations and clinical phenomena. The authors also discuss the relationship between the attachment and the caregiving systems and hypothesize a common base for the two systems in childhood experience. Finally, they propose the psychoanalytic perspective as a fruitful theoretical framework to integrate the evidence for the neurophysiological mediators and moderators of intergenerational transmission. Psychoanalytically informed research can provide clinically relevant insights and hypotheses to be tested.