Neglectful parenting is one of the most harmful styles of parenting that can be used on a child. Neglectful parenting is unlike the other styles in that parents rarely fluctuate naturally into neglectful parenting as a response to child behavior. If a parent recognizes themselves as a neglectful parent, or if a friend recognizes that they may know a neglectful parent, it is important to understand that those parents (and the children involved in the situation) need assistance so that they can get back on track to having a healthy and communicative relationship within the family.
If you suspect you or a friend may be a neglectful parent, consider the following:
- Do you care for your child’s needs—emotional, physical, and otherwise?
- Do you have an understanding of what is going on in your child’s life?
- Does the home provide a safe space for the child where they can share their experiences and expect positive feedback rather than negative or no feedback?
- Do you spend long periods of time away from home, leaving the child alone?
- Do you often find yourself making excuses for not being there for your child?
- Do you know your child’s friends? Teachers?
- Are you involved in your child’s life outside the home?
If the above describe you or someone that you know, a child is at risk of being damaged by a neglectful household. Parents who tend towards neglectful parenting styles can be easily helped through education; this education can be found by talking to the family doctor, or going to a therapist or counselor.
Neglectful parenting is damaging to children, because they have no trust foundation with their parents from which to explore the world. Beyond that, children who have a negative or absent relationship with their parent will have a harder time forming relationships with other people, particularly children their age. If you suspect that you or a friend of yours may be a neglectful parent, it is important to seek help in a way that does not damage the child further or intrude into their life in a disruptive manner.