If you’ve ever felt like your child wasn’t receiving enough love and attention, then you’re not alone. Many parents feel overloaded with the responsibilities that come along with raising children. Emotional neglect is a severe problem in our society today. And although emotional neglect is not as common as physical or sexual abuse, it still affects many families. 19% of American children experience emotional neglect each year, which can have a lasting impact on their well-being. However, there are ways to help prevent emotional neglect from occurring and how to support your child if they are experiencing it. Read on if you want to know more about this delicate subject and how you can help your child thrive emotionally going forward
What is emotional neglect?
Emotional neglect occurs when a child does not receive the emotional support they need from the adults in their life. Emotional neglect can result from a number of factors, including a parent’s substance abuse, mental illness, or a lack of resources to provide support. Some families also experience it because a parent was unable to bond with their child as an infant due to circumstances outside of their control.
Signs of childhood emotional neglect
The first step towards identifying emotional neglect in your child is to be aware of the red flags. While your child’s health and well-being is the most important thing to you, you also want to be aware of any common signs that they are experiencing emotional neglect.
-Excessive sadness and anxiety around certain events, such as birthdays or holidays.
-A constantly negative or sad outlook on life.
-Excessive guilt or self-loathing.
-A lack of interest in or enjoyment of activities with friends.
-A preference for being alone.
-Impulsivity or frequent, dangerous behavior.
-Ongoing verbal or physical out frantic behaviors.
How to support a child who is experiencing emotional neglect
As a parent, you have the unique ability to help your child overcome any obstacles that get in their way. This can include the challenges of growing up with emotional neglect. If you notice any of these signs, consider seeking professional help for your child.
-Provide a safe and warm environment for them to express their emotions.
-Let them know you are available if they need someone to talk to.
-Avoid using harsh or critical language when talking to your child.
-Avoid using sarcasm or making cutting remarks towards them. Avoid shunning or withdrawing affection.
-Avoid making your child feel guilty for what they are going through.
-Avoid discussing your own troubles with your child. Let them know that you are there to help them, not to talk about your own problems.
-Avoid offering medical or other outside advice to your child.
8 Signs of Childhood Emotional Neglect in Adulthood
Neglect is one of the most damaging and impactful forms of emotional abuse that children can experience. It not only strips children of their childhood innocence but also leaves a lasting scar on their psyche.
Adults tend to become emotionally unavailable, cold, uncaring and unresponsive toward people around them
They often feel uncomfortable being intimate and vulnerable
Struggling with eating habits and self-discipline.
They feel deeply, personally flawed.
Adults develop feelings of guilt, shame and emptiness.
They have anger and aggressive behaviors.
They face difficulty trusting others or relying upon anyone else
Depression and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder are also symptoms of childhood emotional neglect in adults
Strategies for helping a child with emotional neglect
As a parent, you can make a huge impact on your child’s life by making healthy changes in your own. One of the best strategies for helping a child with emotional neglect is to open up a dialogue about the things that are bothering your child. This can be tricky, as many kids feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about their problems. Try to avoid using medical terms or telling your child what they are feeling. Instead, ask them what they are thinking or what they would like. A parent who is open to hearing their child’s concerns opens the door for dialogue and a better understanding of themselves. Additionally, learn more about the topic of emotional neglect by reading articles and books on the subject.
Emotional neglect is a serious issue for children and parents alike. Although it is less common than physical or sexual abuse, it affects many children nonetheless. If you notice any of the signs listed above, it is important to make an effort to help your child. You can do this by being present in their life, offering safe and nurturing environments, and remaining non-judgmental towards their emotions. These small changes can have a big impact on the quality of your child’s life. Do your best to support them through their struggles and be there for them when they need you the most. The more support your child receives, the better their chance for successful adulthood.
Positivminds reinvents mental health and emotional well-being care by using data science & Artificial Intelligence in collaboration with clinicians and researchers, designers and writers with the objective to allow for proactive conversations to develop around emotional well-being.