To meet a child's needs, parents should be able to provide a safe physical environment, provide a secure emotional environment, enabel and give appropriate opportunities for the child's development, model appropriate behaviour, show an interest in and approval of their child and their achievements.
Depression, substance dependence, and personality disorder occurring together in various combinations at various points in time are the most frequently reported psychiatric conditions affecting parents who maltreat their children. Parents (and their partners) who experience a combination of personality disorder, substance dependence, other mental illness, and violent or discordant relationships are least able to meet their children's needs and represent the greatest risk to their safety and future development.
It is important of course to note that the majority of mentally ill parents do not abuse or maltreat their children.
Moreover, individual risk factors and stressors tend to be insufficient on their own as causes of serious inability to provide effective parenting; it is the combination of personality factors, coping skills, social supports and factors within the child as well as the presence of mental illness in a parent, that in aggregate determine whether or not abuse and maltreatment will occur.