3 signs of lack of affection in children

In childhood, one of the greatest psychological needs is affection. However, parents do not always know how to satisfy this need.
3 signs of lack of affection in children

Last update: 29 May, 2024

Tom Robbins says that “it is never too late to have a happy childhood.” However, it is important that when we see signs of lack of affection in children, those gaps must be addressed. This is because no child deserves to be in constant need of the food that nurtures his emotional well-being: love.

Now, what signs do we have to look at? How do we know that a child is experiencing lack of affection? Below, we will discover some signs that may show this unconstructive and undesirable situation. Let us discuss them.

The need for affection in children

Adequate psychological development in children requires affection. That is to say, all the love that is given to a child in his childhood will be reflected in his development. In this way, he will have a clear identity and self-confidence over the years.

lack of affection in children: little girl

Now, do not confuse affection with excessive loving or caring for a child. We are talking about affection, your affinity with your children, your sincere approach and of course, your intention of creating a healthy and a well-rounded relationship with them.

A child will develop a strong personality when he is given enough affection.   His experiences with affection will help him integrate himself in society; find a point of reference; and, learn to adapt himself in different situations.

On the other hand, affection will make him learn what to expect from the outside world. That is why, we say that this is the point of reference for children in interacting and relating with others.

“The best way to make children good is by making them happy.”

-Oscar Wilde-

Signs of lack of affection in children

The signs of lack of affection in children tend to indicate a problem with relationship between the children and their parents. The problem tends to be something deeper: in general, it can be the result of the parents’ ignorance of their child’s needs.

This may cause all kinds of problems during a child’s development. For example, these children may develop conflict or agressive behaviors, or may experience a strong feeling of insecurity or distrust. That is why, it is so important to know the following signs of lack of affection in children.

Lack of emotional control

This is an important sign which is very common in children with emotional injury. The children will learn little by little how to control their emotions through the love and interpersonal relationships with the people close to them.

Therefore, if a child belongs to a poor caring environment, he may find it difficult to recognize not only emotions, but also social norms. In this way, he will be unable to know how to behave with others accordingly.

Moreover, he may be unable to identify feelings of persons and how they relate, whether they are negative or positive. For this reason, he may show a great lack of empathy which may cause all kinds of conflicts and anger.

So, these children are much more vulnerable even if they keep their feelings. Boys usually experience this problem more than girls. The former tends to show strength and to repress their feelings. Therefore, if we feel that our child may be suffering from this problem, we have to focus on improving our relationship with him.

Isolation and conflict

Other signs of lack of affection in children is the kind of relationships that they establish with others. If they tend to be dominated by conflict, or if it is absolutely non-existent, clearly, there is a problem.

It is very usual for a child with emotional instability to show poor social skills. This may lead to isolation and conflict, for their lack of knowledge in forming good social skills.

On the other hand, children with theses problems show little respect for the feelings of others. This adds to their frustration, lack of understanding of others and anger with the world.

lack of affection in children: crying girl


Finally, children lacking affection often show a great feeling of insecurity. This is because they have not reached the optimal development where they create an adequate self-concept.

This insecurity is demonstrated by very specific behaviors. For example, they tend to defend themselves; to avoid facing difficult situations; to withdraw and isolate themselves; or to directly try to control or create conflict.

“We are all products of our childhood.”

-Michael Jackson-

As we can see, the lack of affection in childhood can bring all kinds of negative consequences. If you feel that your child or any child shows any of these symptoms, it is important that you try to connect with their feelings, and make them see that you care about their welfare. 

Read also Learning to Love Yourself: 5 Recommendations

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.