It is of great importance to see that the child is given every chance to meet life with a healthy body. It is of more importance to see that the child has a healthy mind.
Specialists are emphatic on the point that our characters are determined not by ourselves, but by our parents or guardians. The neurotic woman in most cases is so because of some defect in early training. The youthful criminal follows his line of activity, not so much because he can help it as because his parents or guardians presented him with an inability to cope with normal life.
Not so long ago important investigations were made into the question of the delinquent girls of certain Institutions. An examination of some thousands of cases revealed that nine of these girls out of ten came either from difficult homes or ones in which there was a certain amount of abnormality.
Examination of the boy criminal has revealed in many cases a similar state of affairs.
What are the things that are harmful to the child in the home? Firstly, all psychologists combinen to impress upon the world the fact that marital disagreement in front of children is one of the worst things that can happen. The child who sees its father and mother squabbling incessantly is presented with a complex which takes years to rectify; if, indeed, it is rectified at all. Sometimes marriages
are unhappy not because of the sins of the couple concerned, but because of certain defects In the lives of their parents.
Each parent has a responsibility of a different nature towards the child. From the father the child looks for guidance and discipline, combined with love. From the mother a child looks for tenderness and boundless affection.
When one or other parent is absent or deceased the child suffers from a disadvantage. It is very difficult for a single parent to combine the desired attributes of both. This brings us to the subject of divorce and separation, and psychologists are emphatic on the point that where there is only one parent in the home the child is under a handicap. when the occasions arise.
Things like drunkenness in the home, or outstanding vices on the part of either parent, have a tremendous influence on the child. A child who sees its father in a frequent state of intoxication cannot be blamed for having an abnormal outlook on certain questions. Another child who sees its mother pick up a pot and hurl it at the father cannot be blamed if she does exactly the same when her turn comes to marry. After all, a child can only learn by imitating others.
For children's emotional security a strong bond between parents is essential.