ABSTRACT

Paquette (2004a, 2004b) recently theorised the father-child attachment by developing the concept of the "activation relationship", that is the affective bond that allows children to open up to the outside world (see Le Camus, 2000), focusing primarily on parental behaviour during child exploration, especially parental stimulation and control (see Paquette, Bolte, Turcotte, Dubeau, & Bouchard, 2000) . According to this theory, children's feelings of confidence would result not only from the sensitive response of the parent to the child 's comfort-seeking in times of distress, but also from the encouragement offered by parents during exploration of the environment. The activation relationship fosters children's confidence in their own abilities to cope with threats and strangeness in their physical and social environments, as their fathers encourage them to push their exploration further while at the same time providing them with the confidence of knowing they are protected from possible danger, hence the importance of discipline. The activation relationship theory predicts that fathers will activate children more than mothers will, and that boys will be activated more than girls. Finally, like the attachment relationship (Bowlby, 1969), the activation relationship would be the result both ofchildren's temperament and ofparental behaviours, particularly parental stimulation of risk-taking . Validation data are presented

here for the Risky Situation (RS), a new procedure for assessing the activation relationship in children aged 12-18 months (Paquette & Bigras, 2005) .