The concept of home connotes a place where the father, mother and siblings live or reside. This is a place where they all converge together after each has returned fromn the days duties. A home is a place where they interact as members of the same family and do things together.

This means that in a sense, a place where there is only the mother or the father, except where the absence of either is temporary and by mutual understanding as in the case of transfer, study leave, conference, a business trip or any other circumstance that temporarily removes one of the parents from the home is by our understanding not a home.

Exception to the rule is where the absence of one is due to death. Even under this condition, the home could not be considered complete because each adult member of the family has a role to fulfil, and it is not an easy job to attempt to play the role of father and mother to a sibling successfully, judging from the testimony of single parents who have had the experience.

In order to ensure that a child grows in a healthy mental environment there has always been a need to move a child who has had the misfortune of losing one of the parents to a home where he can have the love and affection and care necessary for his healthy growth and development.

There is the popular saying that a man’s home is his castle. This saying is more in keeping with the child. It is his fortress to which he cana return if he has already started school, to get sympathy, protection, love, security and can look up to for the satisfaction of nis basic human needs such as those enumerated above constitute an environment which engenders good mental health. By contrast, a home tom by strife, quarrel, fighting and swaring; a home where there is constant hunger, and beating, and lacking of care, love security, annd acceptance, constitute an environment which generate frustration, fear, insecurity, deliquency and anti-social behaviour in a growing child.

A child reared in such an environment develops poor mental health which will ultimately affect
adversely his physical and social health. Many school dropouts and those who indulge in anti-social activities such as drug taking, stealing and wilful damage of public and private properties can be traced to homes where their behaviours have been moulded and nurtured in an unwholesome emotional environment.

A healthy mental/emotional environment for a child is one in which parents not only provide the child’s basic needs such as food, shelter, security and love but also discipline and guidance. While over-strictness might generate negative feelings in a child, over permissiveness is equally dangerous. A growing child needs independence and freedom, but he needsalso guidance in order to use this independence and freedom with responsibility, A child needs friendship with parents, to share the day’s adventures, to seek opinion and advise from, and to communicate with, An environment that makes it possible for children to talk freely and with respect to parents will promote understanding as well as good mental health.

There are many factors which can influence the behaviour of a husband and a wife towards each other in the home. The way these factors are managed often determines the kind of relationship that can exist between them. Let us look briefly at only two of the factors: money and sex. We have chosen these two examples because we believe that when things go wrong with the relationship which exists between husband and wife the underlying reason is usually hinged on one or both of these.

Money Problem

Traditionally the man is considered the bread winner. He is expected to make money available for the family food. Even though these days when it has become expedient for the woman to take on some kind of job either to fulfil her professional goal or to supplement the family food budget, the man is expected to carry the bulk of the family food bill.

Where this is not forthcoming is the beginning of danger signal, especially if the woman can ill afford to make a subtantial contribution. The danger becomes even more acute if the woman believes the man makes enough money but fails to give sufficient amount to feed the family. The result: the woman nags. She complains in the presence of the children. She let the children feel their father has failed in his duty and therefore, is useless.

Quarrels ensue, and even fighting, swearing and cursing become the order of the day. Obviously poor emotional mental environment is created. The couples may now just be co-habitating and not really living as a family. Love is lost, respect is lost for one another. Both begin to lose their mental health and in consequence begin to seek other ways to compensate for what is lacking in the home outside the home. The situation can then get into a whole chain of reactions from both husband and wife which boomerang with their adverse effect on the entire family. The woman begins to find other means of
the finding money to feed herself and the children; the man begins to stay out more and more until there is a final break when the woman is kicked out of the home.

On the other hand a positive environment for good mental health is created when the bread winner gives out money regularly and both husband and wife sit down to discuss their problems together, agree on how they can jointly tackle their problems. Even where very little money is coming to the woman for the food and house keeping bills, with understanding, communication and friendshipp the family can remain cohesive so much so that they can live within their means. Most women do not mind helping in making purchases of other family needs as long as the sread winner accepts his reponsibility of providing the means (or at least the bulk) of what it takes to feed the family. Women are proud and respect their husbands who can accept this responsibility. Situations in which a woman is proud of the husband and respects him create an environment for positive mental health at home.

Psychologists have discovered that the environmental condition which is most common to homes from which delinquent children come is an unhappy relationship between parents and children. It is not the broken homes that are as much responsible for delinquency among children as homes in which parents and children cannot get along. On the other hand, children from homes in which the emotional environment is happy and god humoured, homes in considerate and kind have a good chance to mature unto serene, unselfish persons who are a joy to live with,

A happy home is not necessarily a rich one in Naira and Kobo. A home can be quite poor. In order to develop happy personalities it is far more important for parents to spend time, thought and care on their children than on the pursuit of money.

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