Neglected Children: 7 Consequences Families May Face Due To Lack Of Attention

December 14, 2017 15:38

A "parenting style" is a complex set of different actions made by parents with the goal of changing a child's behavior. It is seen in everything, from physical punishment to reading the child stories at bedtime, and can be a very individual thing for each family and child. Truly, raising a child properly requires a lot of energy and money.

But sometimes parents are so mired in their own problems that the needs of the child are completely ignored. This style of parenting is called "neglectful." This type of parenting prevents the child from developing properly and can cause much difficulty both during childhood and when the child grows to be an adult.

What Neglectful Parenting Means

Elena Nichizhenova /

Parents are the adults that have the greatest effect and influence when it comes to their children. They are responsible for training, guiding, teaching, and controlling their child.

Psychologists highlight two important aspects in bringing up children: response (how parents react to children's demands) and demand (what they require from the child).

Response and demand determine how parents interact with their child and how they control the child's behavior.

Based on these two things, parenting styles can be divided into four categories.

  1. Authoritative: both demanding and responsive.
  2. Authoritarian: very demanding, but not responsive.
  3. Permissive: more responsive than demanding.
  4. Neglectful: neither demanding nor responsive.

Studies show that the neglectful parenting style is the most harmful to a child. In this parenting style, the parents are not very responsive at all and demand or require nothing of the child. This means that they do nothing to show their love and affection. Such parents are always busy with work and their own personal lives, and it seems that they have absolutely no time for their own children.

Neglectful parents are parents who are highly indifferent to their child. When at its maximum level, the parent can ignore or reject the child or not even talk to him. Such parents feel no sense of responsibility toward the child and demand or require nothing from him.

This style of parenting is considered among the most dangerous. Child psychologists often describe it as the most negative of all parenting styles. According to specialists, neglectful parents are much worse than even authoritarian ones, who can be physically violent and categorically ban the child from doing a lot of things. 

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Neglectfulness ≠ Permissiveness

The neglectful parenting style is often confused with the permissive style, but there are, in fact, big differences between the two.

Permissive parents are more responsible than they are demanding. Parents in this kind of family allow the child to make his own schedule and regulate his own activity around the home, and they also try to avoid confrontation and arguments. As the main element of control, positive control is used in the form of questions: "How are you doing?" "How do you feel?" "Oh, today you did a lot better!"

In contrast to permissive mothers and fathers who are keenly interested in the emotional welfare of their children, neglectful parents only provide their children with food and a roof over their heads. And that's it!

The Effect of Neglectful Parenting on Children

Maria Symchych /

Needless to say, a neglectful attitude toward children can lead to a host of behavioral problems. A lack of proper guidance, along with the resentment that children who have neglectful parents feel, lead to them improperly evaluate their own behavior. This often causes problems - first at school, then with the law. Children, who feel abandoned, are more likely to join gangs because it gives them the sense of belonging that they don't get at home. But there are other problems.

Here are seven serious consequences than neglectful parenting leads to:

1. Problems with Social Interaction

Neglectful parents provide their children with nothing except suffering. A small child learns to interact with others from observing the example of those around him, and in a home where he is ignored by his parents, he has no frame of reference.

A child, who is ignored, gradually begins to ignore others. A lack of necessary communication skills may make him a social outcast or lead to antisocial behavior.

2. Emotional, Behavioral, and Cognitive Impairment

Studies show that neglectful parenting (especially during early childhood) can be extremely detrimental to the development of a child. Even when compared with children who are subjected to physical violence, neglected children often display more serious cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They absolutely cannot interact with their peers, and this leads to many problems.

3. Victimization

Parents play a key role in preventing their child from being bullied by other children. Studies show that neglectful parenting leads to children being bullied and picked on at school (or by an older brother or sister). In this case, neglectful parenting affects girls much more than it does boys.

4. Substance Abuse

It has been established that family support is a decisive factor when it comes to adjusting normally to childhood and adolescence. Indirect evidence suggests that attention from close friends and family helps reduce the chances of drug abuse among adolescents. It is interesting that such a positive influence can come from others, who are not close relatives (for example, even the parents of a friend, who are involved, can become a good example!).

5. Poor Academic Performance

Children, who are ignored or feel rejected by their parents, are difficult to teach and perform poorly at school. As a rule, they are the ones who get the worst grades on exams.

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6. Depression and Anxiety

Neglecting a child can lead to depression and other psychological problems. Studies show that children with indifferent parents develop anxiety to the same extent as those subjected to physical violence, screaming, and verbal abuse.

7. Personality Disorders

A study on parental neglect of children has shown that this parenting style should be considered a serious risk factor in the development of serious mental disorders in the future.

The Difference Between Children in Neglected and Permissive Families

In time, the difference in parenting styles can be clearly seen, especially, when children reach their teen years.

Although children in permissive families have only average academic performance in school, they, usually, come up to speed in high school. This type of parenting style fosters high self-esteem, good social skills, and reduces the likelihood of suicide and depression.

However, adolescents from neglectful families often show a tendency to neuroses and depression, often drink alcohol and use drugs, find it hard to communicate and get along with their peers, and have the worst academic performance out of all students.

Change in parenting style /

Many psychologists consider the neglectful parenting style to be the worst type, and the most harmful to children. However, it has been found that parents very rarely intentionally neglect their children. Often such adults themselves need help to resolve their own personal or financial problems. Additionally, specialists can help their children.

When neglectful parenting is already the established form of attitude, it is necessary for a psychologist to work with the parents for a period of 12-18 months. In some cases, the intervention may be more intense but for a shorter period of time.

Every child, whether an infant or teenager, must have the opportunity to spend time with his parents on a daily basis. The mother and father are responsible for controlling the child and guiding him in the right direction so he can grow to become a successful and responsible adult.

When parents are neglectful, the children cannot grow to become emotionally healthy people. Therefore, parents, who ignore their children, should be ready to accept professional help and learn a more positive parenting style.

Source: CureJoy, Matrony

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The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.