Growing Up with Emotionally Absent Parents

· November 3, 2018

There are many reasons why some parents decide to leave their children. How many repressed emotions can those children have since they have emotionally absent parents? Why does a mother need to invent extraordinary lies about the father who left them in order to protect her children’s emotions?

Emotionally absent parents don’t contribute anything to their children’s upbringing besides their physical presence. They leave all the authority, emotional support, and responsibilities to their partner. They act as ‘indirect’ parents and cause a psychological absence capable of emotionally wounding their child.

These parents harm their children by not establishing rules or creating a negative image of the paternal or maternal figure. Growing up with a mother or father that, despite being present, is incapable of giving love and attention, leaves the child that’s learning to build their world with an empty heart.

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for.”

-Mother Teresa-

What if they escape from me?

A preschool teacher noticed that a girl in her class was strangely sad and lost in her thoughts.

What’s on your mind, child?” she asked.


The little girl replied, “My parents! Dad works all day so that I can eat and go to one of the best schools in town. He even works extra hours so I can go to college one day. And my mom spends all day cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, and going to the store so that I don’t have to worry about anything.”

So what’s the problem?” asked the teacher. 

I’m afraid they’ll want to escape from me,” she replied. 

Sad girl who has emotionally absent parents.

The consequences of growing up with emotionally absent parents

Kids that grow up with emotionally absent parents are more likely to develop behavioral problems. Usually, these problems tend to be shields kids use to protect their deepest feelings of abandonment, fear, and insecurity.

With this kind of upbringing, there’s generally an emotional detachment that makes the child more insecure when it comes to establishing new relationships. There’s also a lack of trust. Therefore, the idea of developing an emotional bond with somebody comes with the fear of being betrayed, of not being acknowledged, or even worse, of feeling ignored.

“Our emotions exist to be felt, but not to dominate our life, or to blind us, or to steal our future or our energy. Because once they do, they become toxic emotions.”

-Bernardo Stamateas-

All these shortcomings can make kids become emotionally dependent adults who can’t end the relationships that hurt them out of fear of feeling lonely and abandoned. They prefer to cling to people even when it’s not convenient than having to lose someone once again.

Children who grow up with emotionally absent parents tend to establish toxic relationships with other people. In the desperate need to find love and a father or mother figure, these children might enter unhealthy and toxic social environments they don’t know how to get out of.

In addition, they tend to always feel hostility when they try to relate to others or to themselves. They’re usually defensive as well. Without a doubt, this is one of the multiple consequences of having emotionally absent parents.

You’re here, but you feel a thousand miles away

Although some parents have no choice but to be away from home and from their kids, it’s still possible to build that essential emotional connection. It’s important that parents dedicate the free time they do have to their kids. After all, the parent-child connection is the most important connection in every person’s life.

Parents with their kid.

It’s necessary to forget about paying the bills, running errands, and other things during that time in order to emotionally educate kids the right way. The essential thing is staying connected and taking advantage of moments such as eating meals or playing together.

There are many activities that aren’t too time-consuming, such as teaching them how to cook, going out for a walk, or going to the park. It will all depend on the quality time and the connection that you, as a parent, establish with them.