There has been a drastic change in the family structure in India following socio-economic and technological progress (Sarkar, 2010). Being an intimate group, family in which children live, has definitely affected the upbringing of a child. The modern unitary family living in a small apartment consists of parents and their children. Children are thus more directly exposed to the parental behaviour. With the change in the size and composition of the family structure is also changing rapidly. Education of parents has contributed a lot in changing family structure & composition. Socio-economic status of a family, mother’s employment, change in social values and attitudes, which are fast changing are also contributing to this rapid change in family structure.
The importance of parental behaviour on children’s psychological growth and behaviour can never be underestimated. Home influence; probably outweigh the effects of all other environmental impacts combined in determining the fundamental organization of children behaviour.” The affectionate tendencies, which are so important to psychological adjustment in adult life, are dependent on nature of parent child relationships. The home is truly the greatest socializing agency in all contemporary culture” (Thompson, 1965). Further, differences in socialization practices have also been related to social class differences. Bronfebrenner has shown social class differences in familial conditions, child-rearing practices, parent-child interactions, parental role, and value system. Socialization is the intervening and mediating variables between the socioeconomic conditions and their psychological consequences (Bronfenbrenner, 1979).
It is natural, therefore that the effects of parental behaviour on children’s growth and psychological adjustment have been one of the most important fields of interest to the psychologist and sociologists. In the proposed investigation an attempt will be made to study the relationship that may exist between mental health of school going adolescents and family structure. Though some research progress has been made towards understanding such relationships in western countries, the amount of work done in India, especially with the children in West Bengal is very small. Since family set ups in the west and the east differ much the result of investigations with western children may not be true with Indian children. Hence, investigations, such as these will be much importance to all concerned with guidance and upbringing of children.