There is no doubt that the family constitutes the main social institution environment for babies. Any unfavourable condition in family relationships or in babies' relationships leads to psychological hazards with serious and far reaching consequences. Of the many potential hazards in family relationships, Hurlock lists six hazards that are most common and far reaching in their effects.
If for some reason the mother is separated, a stable and satisfactory mother substitute must be provided for babies. Otherwise babies who are separated from their mothers develop feelings of insecurity which might become the cause for maladjustments later in future.
Failure to establish attachment behaviour in babyhood leads to feelings of insecurity. In addition, babies with such failure do not experience the pleasures that come from close, personal relationships. This handicaps them in establishing friendships as they grow older.
Family conflicts or misunderstandings that occur in the second year of life of the child is psychologically hazardous because babies can understand the member's changed attitudes towards her. As a result they may feel unloved and rejected - feelings which lead to resentment and insecurity.
Babies who are over protected and prevented from doing what they are capable of doing become over dependent and afraid to do what other babies of their ages do. This might lead to abnormal fear of members outside and excessive shyness in the presence of strangers.
Parents' feelings of inadequacy in the prenatal role and/or inconsistent child training methods due to permissive method of child rearing provide poor guidelines for babies. This slows down their learning to behave in approved ways.
When parents are unhappy in their parental roles or when a frictional relationship exists between them, some babies become the target of anger and excitement. The babies are either neglected or abused. Child abuse is more common in the second year of life because babies become negativistic and troublesome to the parents triggering the outlet of anger, resentment and other unpleasant emotions. This might lead to unhealthy parent-child relationships.
Neither do all babies have reason to be unhappy nor are babies who have one or more reasons for unhappiness always unhappy. However, family relationships in babyhood is regarded as the most influential factor in personality development because it is the time when the foundations for future habits, attitudes and behaviour are laid.