Effects of Child Neglect. What Is Considered Child Neglect?

Written by: Arooj Paulus B. Sc (Applied Psychology)
Last updated date : January 25, 2023

Child neglect can affect a child in several ways. As the child is in the learning and growing period of his/her life, children need care, attention, and support for healthy growth. But those who experience neglect and abuse as children grow up with childhood trauma and other mental health problems. Child neglect has adverse effects. Let us see what is considered child neglect and what are the effects of child neglect.

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Chapter 1:

What Is a Child Neglect?

Child neglect is considered a form of child abuse in which a parent deprives the child of his/her necessities of life. Such as they may neglect and fail to provide for their medical, educational, emotional, or bodily needs.

Examples of child neglect include as follows.

  • Failing to attend to a child’s basic needs such as food, love, shelter, etc.
  • Leaving them in risky conditions without adult guidance. Such as homeless children wandering in the streets to earn bread. This is very common in underdeveloped countries.
  • Exposing them to sexual activity. For instance, if a child reported any sexual activity that happened with them while the parents ignore what they are saying.
  • When parents treat them as if they are weak or unimportant.

These actions can have a severe, long-lasting impact on children.

Chapter 2:

Warning Signs

It is not always easy to spot the signs of child abuse and neglect. However, by identifying the red flags, you can save a child’s life by preventing the harmful effects of child neglect. Here are some of the warning signs.
  • A child who is underweight and is frequently sick is considered a red flag for child neglect. When parents do not attend to their child’s food needs. They may also not prepare any lunch for their school.
  • If the child plays outside the home all day long.
  • They do not have a lovable connection with their parents.
  • They may act like a grownup or like a baby due to neglect and not receiving love.
  • Poor academic results are also a common sign of neglect when parents neglect their children.
  • Untidy appearance and improper dress also indicate that the parent is not attending to the child.
  • Steal food or other items shows that the child is not provided with these basic needs at their home.
  • Drug abuse is the main red flag that there is no check and balance at home.

Chapter 3:

Effects of Child Neglect

Child neglect can cause bodily, mental, and social effects that have an impact on their overall growth and wellness. The effects of neglect can endure for a very long period and can lead to harmful habits such as drug use. Child neglect can further cause the child to hold anger and pain even after rescuing them from the painful settings.

Further effects of child neglect as explained below.

1. Issues with Healthy Development
When a parent does not attend to the basic physical need of hunger, a child becomes malnourished. He/she may not be provided with a healthy diet for healthy growth. Such as a mother who does not attend to a child when he/she is hungry.
2. Mental and Emotional Challenges
Child neglect effects involve exposing the children to unhealthy settings and they become stressed in their early life.
  • Poor brain development: Their brain may not get enough stimulation. A child’s brain in its early years needs to stimulate by books or educational toys e.g. puzzles. Studies suggest that a neglected child has poor language and brain development and is also poor academic outcomes.
  • Low self-esteem: The neglectful and unavailable parents create a sense of worthlessness in a child which lowers their self-esteem as well. Neglected children have low confidence as a result.
  • Negative feelings: Such children have negative feelings such as rage, hostility, sadness, and loneliness.
  • Attachment issues: They also face attachment issues with their parents due to the negative feelings linked to the relationship. These attachment and trust issues may continue in their adult life as well where a neglected child may be emotionally unavailable to their partner or children as well.
  • Avoidant attachment style: Children tend to avoid their parents while displaying no preferences between a caretaker and a stranger. A child will learn to avoid asking for help in the future if they get a penalty for relying on their parents.
3. Social and Behavioral Issues
Effects of child neglect also show in their personal and social conduct.
  • Such children become aloof, rude, or aggressive. For instance, their actions and tone show their coldness because they also have been treated coldly.
  • They learn this cold attitude from their parents.
  • They may also struggle to connect to others healthily.
  • Studies say that they are more often to engage in fights and misconduct.
  • Further, they are at risk for drug abuse, crime, school or college dropouts, or teen pregnancies.
  • Also, research shows that violent actions, such as domestic violence, are shown by children who were neglected as young children.
  • Children who suffer from abuse or neglect are more likely to act out and run away.

If you have faced neglect in your childhood or you or someone you know is dealing with the harmful effects of child neglect. You can seek help on our website. Read below.

Chapter 4:

Call to Action

You can further read, “What Do You Do When Your Parents Hate? My Parents Don’t Love Me” or “How to Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents? – Abusive Parent Signs” at Epsychonline. It will help you to know how to deal with parents’ abuse or neglect. Prioritize your mental health. In addition, you can start a course, “Low Self-Esteem” as an emotionally unavailable or unloving parent can make you doubt yourself and lower your self-esteem. We hope to be a help to you. Sign up now to heal your trauma!

"Quick online learning, thanks!" Susan

92 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount