Parental Indifference: What Will Your Neglected Child Become Tomorrow?
Parental indifference is probably the educational style with the most negative influences on growth and personal development of a child. He may grow by believing that he isn`t worthy of being loved, that there`s something wrong with him or will take this style of relating with others in his own life.
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How Is Parental Indifference Characterized?
It`s a style of interaction and education of children without interest, involvement and emotional support and affection. Indifferent parents are cold, distant and they behave with their own child without any touch of affection. This way of being a parent is characterized by lack of communication, taking into consideration only the basic needs of the child.
Basically, this parental style is just as you would raise a cat: you make sure to have a place where to sleep, water, food and to not break any rule – and that`s pretty much it! Most of the times, the children of indifferent parents have everything they need or want – comfortable house, a lot of toys – but all this won`t ever compensate for the lack of interest or involved of their parents.
Why Is Parental Indifference Manifested?
It`s a symptom of either, couples that didn`t wanted this child, but they had it from various reasons, couples focused on their career, personal development – and which consider that it`s enough to offer to the child good material conditions and a nanny, or couples in which there`s a dependence of various substances (alcohol, drugs) – the partners ignore the child`s needs, being absorbed only by their obsessive dependency.
Of course, parental indifference manifests in those disadvantaged family environments, in which one of the partners is absent (died, in prison, out of the country), while the other one is preoccupied to earn a living from one day to another. These children don`t receive the affection and interest that they need, or the any basic material conditions.
Neglect Leads to Abuse or Violence
In over half of cases of child abuse registered by the authorities, it`s about parents who neglect their children. Most commonly, abuse and neglect take place in the family, and victims are children with ages of 3 to 17 years, so this happens throughout their entire development.
The most frequent form of abuse against children is also the least discussed and acknowledged: neglect of physical and psycho-emotional necessities of the child by an adult who is responsible for his growth.
Different Aspects on How a Child Can Be Neglected
Neglect is a non-physical violence and represents the inability or refusal of the adult to provide the development child in all aspects of his life. This can involve several aspects:
- Food – The child isn`t fed appropriately with his needs (food improperly or inadequately administered, deprivation of food, etc.)
- Clothing – The child has no clothes, wears them inappropriately or he`s dirty.
- Hygiene– Lack of personal hygiene, repulsive odors, pests.
- Medical – When parents don`t care for their child`s health or routine medical checks.
- Educational – non-inclusion of the child to kindergarten; lack of interest for the child`s intellectual stimulation; punishment and reward system inconsistency; lack of school progress tracking.
- Emotional – Maybe the most common and insidious form of neglect – lack of attention from the adult to the child, physical contacts, signs of affection, words of appreciation.
- Abandonment – Leaving the child represents the most severe form of neglect or abuse. – Read this!
What Consequences Arise from Neglecting a Child?
- Neglecting a child negatively affects his physical and psychological development. If he doesn`t receive adequate food during his period of development, his evolution won`t follow the normal pattern and this will cause problems like: his physical growth will stop, chronic difficulties, inadequate bone and muscle development and neurological development malfunction that negatively affects the brain function and processing. Lack of adequate medical care may lead to long term health problems, such as loss of hearing due to untreated ear infections. Severe neglect, especially in small children, majorly affects their physical and mental development, and in extreme cases this may lead to hospitalization, installation of disability or even death.
- Immediate psychological effects of neglect are fear and inability of trusting anyone. Other difficulties with psychological neglect include depression, withdrawal, panic disorder, anger, hyperactivity, reactive attachment disorder, cognitive abilities, language development, educational acquisitions or low performances.
- Neglected children are more prone to antisocial behavior, personality disorders and violent behavior. Sometimes neglect leads to assuming too much responsibilities. Responsibility of taking care of smaller brothers prevent the child to participate to age-appropriate activities, to play, make friends, even skipping or abandoning school.
- On long term, psychological problems associated with neglect include personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and psychosis. Depression is generally the most common consequence of neglect.
- Intergenerational transmission of neglect is another consequence of this abuse against the child. Adults, who have been neglected during childhood, have a greater risk of neglecting their children. However, not all adults who have been neglected when they were children will suffer these consequences. Some adults are able to go beyond neglect they experienced, are optimistic by nature and they rather feel challenged rather than attacked by such problems. – Check this out!
What Kind of Parents Neglect their Child?
Although the situation of every family is unique, given the stressors and characteristics that might favor neglect, there are some general risk factors that increase the vulnerability of a neglected child:
- Parents who were themselves neglected.
- Parents with low self-esteem, low impulse control, or who go through psychological difficulties, such as anxiety or depression.
- Parents who don`t have enough information about their child`s development.
- Parents who feel overwhelmed by their parental responsibilities and feel any request of their child negatively. Such parents didn`t adopted the role of parent completely, and they take care mostly of their own needs, while they ignore those of their children.
- Dysfunctional families and socially isolated are more prone to situations of neglect.
- Parents who aren`t able to be empathetic, to understand the feelings and needs of others.
- Stress factors can harder be felt by families with one single parent.
In conclusion, a neglected is introverted, quiet, depressed and has difficulties in learning or relating with others. However, these can also be signs of some psychosocial difficulties that are unrelated to the family. Therefore, this parental indifference is as serious as it`s “invisible.”