family with no routine leads to lack of discipline in the
child and absence of a work or play habit, leading to behavioural
Organization in a family also includes disciplining patterns.
Both extremes of disciplining are faulty and can lead to psychological
problems. A harsh, punitive parent is as much a risk factor
as poor, inconsistent disciplining.
f) Psychosocial Stimulation
At times a family may be functioning fairly normally in all
other areas except in communications and group activity. Children
belonging to this family are prone to develop problems in
the area of language, social skills and cognitive development.
Not involving the child in play, inadequate conversation and
lack of playmates at home and in the neighbourhood render
a child vulnerable to a number of cognitive and emotional
problems. If both parents are working and there is a dearth
of caretaking such problems may arise.
3. ILLNESS IN THE FAMILY
Presence of a chronic or terminal illness in the family,
particularly in the parenting figures poses a risk for the
normal development of a child. A physically ill parent cannot
perform his/her duties and might have frequent separation
from the child due to hospitalizatio. Mental illness in parents,
specially in the mother leads to constant understimulation
or problems in disciplining and communication, causing stress
in the children. A depressed parent may not follow routine,
be inconsistent in disciplining or may not be emotionally
warm towards the child. A psychotic parent on the other hand
by her/his erratic behaviour and inconsistency may cause emotional
problems in the child. Use of alcohol in any family member
by virtue of discord and neglect is also a major risk factor.
It should be emphasized that though children in the above
families are 'at risk', all of them may not go on to develop
serious problems because of their own strengths and other
support systems such as school, teacher and other family members.
However it is important to intervene in any family with risk
factors to prevent problems from evolving in any child.
Based on the above discussion of high risk families, a method
was evolved by which, such families could be identified easily.
There are certain indicators in a family which can sensitize
us regarding the presence of