Child emotional neglect is the common phenomenon observed in terms of raising psychologically healthy children. Emotional maltreatment is a behavioral relationship pattern in which one’s emotional needs are not met. They are either ignored, devalued, or merely not taken into consideration by a parent and regularly lead to depressive disorders. According to Neumann (2017), “depressive disorders are associated with child maltreatment in an unspecified way, as a wide range of adverse experiences with caregivers in childhood seems to be related to depressive symptoms” (p. 1). Unlike physical abuse, this kind of neglect can barely be observed. This dysfunctionality in families leads to consistent misunderstandings and arguments (Neumann, 2017). Parents may have difficulty perceiving their children’s needs for love, nurturance, intimacy, and support, or they may feel too overwhelmed or powerless to meet these needs on an ongoing basis.
As a rule, negligent parents experience the same attitude from their parents in childhood. They may also lack an emotionally satisfying adult relationship. Forced to rely on themselves, fearing their addiction and not wanting to admit their pain, these parents are incredibly ambiguous about the needs of their children, especially when their children suffer, cry, or seek emotional support (Neumann, 2017). They can be so absorbed by their own needs that they never consider the children’s point of view. Besides, they can feel so anxious and hurt about having children that they ignore them.
Severe neglect cases are usually easy to detect, mainly in situations when kid’s development is delayed; for instance, their speech flow is inconsistent. Nonetheless, some more severe cases are barely detectable. Typically, a doctor can recognize a lack of emotional support in child-parent relations if they observe minimal interaction or if a parent behaves in an uninformed and apathetic way towards the child’s responses and reactions (Neumann, 2017). It is also visible when a kid demonstrates a sudden burst of distress.
Children who experience emotional neglect experience particular difficulties as they grow up. Because the significance and importance of their emotions were not confirmed in childhood, they may have trouble recognizing and trusting their feelings as they grow older. The long-term effects of child neglect are reported to include substance abuse, risky sexual behavior, post-traumatic stress disorder, and increased likelihood of violent behavior.
Several main treatments help alleviate and potentially end the effects of emotional neglect. Treatment includes therapy during which a child can learn to deal with emotions healthily through therapy sessions with a psychologist or therapist. A therapist can help children and adults identify, accept, and healthily express feelings. Family therapy can be helpful because both the child and the parent can get help. Parents can discover how their emotional neglect affects the child. Besides, the child can learn to cope with emotional neglect in the family. If emotional neglect is detected at an early stage, the parent’s behavior may change, leading to a positive outcome.
Emotional neglect in childhood can be treated in adults who have experienced parental neglect in childhood. People who experience neglect can change behavioral pattern implementing therapeutic interventions. If emotional neglect is detected at an early stage, it can be avoided since at last stages it is expressed through non-attachment and depression. Unfortunately, there are no visible signs of childhood emotional neglect, and it can be challenging to identify them at times.
Neumann, E. (2017). Recollections of emotional abuse and neglect in childhood as risk factors for depressive disorders and the need for psychotherapy in adult life. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 205(11), 873-878.