Being a parent constitutes one of the most demanding social roles, particularly in the first year of a child's life, when parenting behaviours are generally recognized as the cornerstone of the infant's socio-emotional development. The first part of this paper presents an overview of how mothers and fathers in Québec perceive and behave toward their infant. This is followed by an examination of the extent to which these perceptions and behaviours are related to specific infant, parent and family characteristics.
Family relationships and other facets of the parent/infant relationship are the subject of the second part of this paper. More precisely, it describes family functioning in the home environments of Québec infants. Various measures of the quality of parent/child interactions are presented, as evaluated by the person who knows the infant best and a third party. These dimensions of the family environment of Québec infants age 5 months in 1998 are then examined in relation to various sociodemographic and parental characteristics.