Children who were neglected when they were young often grow up with a negative image of themselves when they are older, have problems trusting others, and often suffer from chronic pain.
To understand the adverse effects of neglect on children, let’s look at the types of neglect children can suffer from.
Types of neglect
Emotional neglect occurs when you don’t give enough attention and affection to your child. Even if you love your child, but you let them watch videos for hours or don’t speak or eat with each other, it can lead to emotional neglect.
Physical neglect happens when you do not keep your child clean and clothe them well. You can also physically neglect your child by not giving them healthy and nutritious food.
Medical neglect happens when you fail to care for your child when they need medical care as a result of an ill health or injury. Choosing not to vaccinate your child might be considered medical neglect as well.
Inadequate supervision occurs when you don’t pay attention to your child and the environment where they play. As a result, your child can be exposed to dangerous objects, hazardous chemicals, and harmful tools.
How neglect affects your child
The impact of neglect on your child can be lifelong. For example, a child that’s neglected can suffer from impaired brain development, which can result in some psychological problems such as narcotic addiction, and low self-esteem. Here are some of the effects of child neglect are:
Physical health problems: A neglected child can suffer some physical health issues. For example, if you neglect your child, it may result in the reduction of their brain functions by affecting the effectiveness of the hippocampus and amygdala — these are the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory and processing emotions.
Psychological effects: Neglecting your child can result in many psychological problems. Neglect can cause difficulties in trusting others, low self-esteem, and depression. In addition, it can make your child have issues forming a stable relationship. The child may also exhibit poor emotional intelligence, attachment disorders, and a higher risk for posttraumatic stress.
Behavioral effects: A child that was a victim of neglect often experiences some behavioral problems even after the neglect has ended. Here are some ways neglect can affect the behavioral pattern of your child:
- Drug abuse: Research has shown that children who suffer from neglect in their early life are more prone to suffering from a narcotic addiction
- Unhealthy sexual practices: Children who suffer from neglect are more likely to partake in some unhealthy sexual practices such as a high number of sexual partners or prostitution
- Crime: Numerous research and studies have shown that children who were neglected usually form antisocial behaviors, and they build relationships with those who also suffered neglect in childhood. Both of which make them more likely to commit crime.
If you’ve made parenting mistakes before, you are not the only one. Parenting is the hardest job there is and doing it right can seem too much to handle. However, it is likely also the most important thing you will ever do. Doing it right and building a trusting and loving relationship with your child is something you both gain from for a lifetime.
Ketsupa Jirakarn (Mental health specialist) (31 March 2021)