Unfortunately, speaking about emotional neglect never falls on deaf ears, even less so if at the heart of the debate is a child. When a child suffers emotional neglect, what he really has is an immeasurable lack of response to the emotional needs that can, in extreme cases, create a great deficit for him on the psychological level and, by extension, on the physical health level.
The first definition of neglect given by the Oxford English Dictionary is “the state or fact of being uncared for.” When a child suffers emotional neglect, what he is suffering is the sensation of being uncared for.
Affection is vital for a child’s emotional development
In a child’s growth stage, it is important for him to feel like he has parents who are worried about what he needs. However, often they are often so focused on physical needs that they neglect the emotional side of things. Even if a child is surrounded by material objects like clothing, toys, devices, he also needs displays of affection like a hug or a conversation about his mood.
Emotional neglect can often come, for example, from a lack of time on the parents’ part. Parents sometimes think they are obligated to work on schedules that inevitably do not allow them to pay as much attention to their child as they would like. This leads them to try to strengthen emotional bonds by other means, such as overcompensating with material things.
However, affection is vital for a child’s emotional development, so that he grows up happy and psychologically healthy. According to some specialists, he should receive enough security and approval to make him feel like part of the family he belongs to. Otherwise, the emotional damage that can be created in a child may be irreversible.
Some consequences of emotionally neglecting a child
The consequences of emotional neglect can also be more extreme in the case of a child. We are going to see some of these possible consequences below:
- Trouble in school: this is the second habitat in which a child grows up, which is why if their state of mind is not right outside of school, it also will not be right in it. All the negative repercussions can be seen in their school activities and in their daily interactions with study and their relationships with other children.
- Eating disorders: normally when we are in a bad mood, it directly influences our eating habits. Emotional neglect can contribute to this kind of disorder, which could require psychological therapy.
- Self-esteem problems: this may be one of the largest points to keep in mind. While it is true that this is not always the case, the self-esteem of a child who suffers emotional neglect tends to get progressively lower. This can also have repercussions on the development of their personality, expressing itself in terms of codependence, violence, or even depression later in life.
- Depression and anxiety: the emotional damage created may be rather severe when a child becomes an adult. A lack of security or confidence in himself can lead him to suffer from depression and a state of anxiety that makes his daily life and interpersonal relationships difficult.
- Negative reflection of their family: when emotional neglect has negatively impacted a child, the probability of this lack of affection in a future family of their own is greater. Oftentimes when parents do not worry about the emotional health of their children it is because they also did not receive this from their parents.
Any child can suffer emotional neglect in his life, even at only one stage in it. It is advisable to handle any indication of emotional neglect with a specialist who could help redirect the situation and solve the lacking affection.