What It Means For The Child When You Practice Neglectful Parenting

By ReGain Editorial Team|Updated July 12, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Karen Devlin, LPC

Are you a neglectful parent? You probably don't think you are, right? You probably think you're a good parent and you just let your child be their person as well, right? Neglectful parenting doesn't mean that you don't care about your child, and it's important to recognize what you're doing so you can determine whether you are helping or hurting your children with your parenting style. So what does it mean to be a neglectful parent and how does this affect your children?

What Is Neglectful Parenting?

Every Parent And Child Relationship Is Different
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Neglectful parenting is sometimes also referred to as uninvolved parenting. What it means is that you do not have much input or effect in your child's life. It means that you do not readily respond to their needs when they have them. For most parenting styles the idea is to take care of the needs of the child whenever necessary, but with neglectful parenting, the child is left to their own devices and must learn to take care of needs entirely on their own, generally from a young age.

These types of parents have little to no demands for the child, which means that the child is mostly left to their own devices. They are dismissive of the child in general and their needs specifically. There is very little emotional involvement between these types of parents and the child themselves, staying out of much of their lives. Of course, these parents to provide for things like food and shelter, and other necessities that the child may have, but they tend to leave all other things alone, staying out of the affairs.

With these parents, there are different levels of the neglect that is done. Some parents have a few rules that are still meant to be obeyed even though they allow the child to do whatever they want. Some are entirely outside the experience and allow the complete child freedom with absolutely no rules. Some parents even entirely reject their child and pay no attention at all to them, their needs or anything about them. There is little love or warmth shown in any of these types of relationships, whether the parents do feel it or not.

Parents avoid all social events, school events and other important aspects of their child's life. They have no supervision or very little supervision,and they are emotionally distant. They may even avoid the child entirely by intent or may have problems of their own that they feel are more important for them to deal with than their children. These types of parents are living in an entirely different world from their children,and the children learn to get by and to manage on their own, without the need for those parents or other adults to help them.

Positive Traits For Children

Children are very resilient,and that means that they tend to learn and grow in ways that many times we can't explain. Children who are born into these types of families and are raised with neglectful parents may be more independent than their peers. They tend to have difficulty being dependent on anyone, which impacts their relationships in later life but it allows them to be self-sustaining as well. These children will learn early on how to problem solve and how to take care of themselves. They may also start to grow in some ways ahead of their peers because of their responsibility for themselves.

The Downfall Of Neglectful Parenting

Unfortunately, there are a large number of problems associated with neglectful parenting. For one thing, the child may learn to be independent, but they also learn that they cannot rely on anyone to help them. This can lead them to struggle forming relationships with friends and with a partner later in life. They always have a fear that the person that they depend on may leave them and that they will be alone again. This leads to problems trusting others and can cause the individual to become extremely emotionally withdrawn.

Because there are few to no rules and no consequences for breaking those rules these children tend to be more likely to get involved in bad behaviors. They are more likely to engage in delinquent behavior and to get in even more trouble as they get older. They may have difficulty understanding boundaries and rules because they don't have these in their home life. This translates to difficulty in understanding what is appropriate behavior and what isn't as well as where the limits are in any social or professional situation. They are more likely to get in trouble or have difficulty in different settings as a result.

A lack of family support can lead to increased fear, anxiety and stress as the child is constantly seeking approval and attention but unable to achieve it. The child may continue to act out in ways that are designed to bring about more attention but tend to have the opposite effect. They may also develop depression as a result of the intense stress they put on themselves and the level of anxiety and fear that comes with being neglected and feeling unloved. The lack of warmth and support from the family leads to these feelings and can intensify them.

Children who are raised with this parenting style tend to have difficulty with cognition, emotional skills, social skills,and attachment. Because they have very little in the way of attachment and love during their childhood, they don't understand how to seek these out in later life. They also tend to have difficulty with learning skills that their parents would be responsible for teaching them. All of these things can lead to problems as they continue to grow and develop, leading to even more difficulty adjusting in their later life.

Are You A Neglectful Parent?

If you are a neglectful parent, it's important that you seek out professional help right away. Parenting classes and more are out there and can help you to understand what type of parenting your child needs and just how to provide it. You can become a better parent at any stage in the process, but it's going to take work, and the older your child is, the harder it will be to start making changes. Small children will be welcoming of changes that put you more involved in their lives, but as the child gets older, the changes may seem less and less welcome. The child may be extremely distrustful as well.

Keep in mind that making changes for your child is an important step in helping them to become well-adjusted adults. No matter how late it seems, you can start making changes and give your child a better chance for their future. It's never too late to start doing something for your child, after all. Make sure you talk with a professional to find out what you could be doing and how to get started on better parenting right away.

Were Your Parents Neglectful To You?

Every Parent And Child Relationship Is Different

If you were the child of neglectful parents, it's important to seek out professional help as well. Neglectful parenting can leave scars on the child, and it can lead to problems in their future. If you struggle to form relationships or following along with rules and boundaries, these are things that you can learn. Other side effects from neglectful parenting can also have a lasting effect on you. Learning to cope with these and to work through them can lead to more success in you having a healthy and happy life.

Seeking out professional help doesn't mean that you are weak or that you are broken. It means that you are putting enough stock in yourself to make sure that you are the best person that you can be and that you are going to be happy and healthy. You do not need to be a product of your upbringing, and getting professional help can aid you in that process. Even more importantly, it can prepare you for the day when you will have children of your own so you can learn how to improve your parenting style to avoid that of your parents.

Regain is one way that you can seek out professional help whether you are the parent or the child. With this service, you can simply log in online and easily speak with a therapist located anywhere in the country. That way, you'll be able to keep your appointments no matter where you are and you'll be able to open up to the therapist from wherever you feel most comfortable. All you need is an internet connection,and you'll be able to connect to Regain. That means you can get started on your path to an improved self and improved self-worth right away. Don't let anything keep you down anymore when you don't need to be.

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