It’s a silent problem. While newspapers and TV news shows regularly highlight stories of child physical and sexual abuse, the companion problem, child neglect, hardly gets a mention. Neglect, unless accompanied by pictures of squalor or emaciated kids, is much harder to capture in a headline or sound bites. Abuse is active and often characterized by violence and exploitation. Neglect is passive and often characterized by depression and resignation. Abuse makes a better news story.
But neglect is the bigger problem. In 2005, almost 900,000 children were victims of maltreatment. More than half — 63 percent — were victims of neglect. Less than 12 percent of substantiated cases involved child sexual abuse. Further, while child abuse steadily declined from 1990 to 2005, the incidence of neglect didn’t go down at all. Sadly, it is the youngest children who are most likely to be neglected.
What it is childhood emotional neglect?
Childhood emotional neglect is a failure of parents or caregivers to respond to a child’s emotional needs. This type of neglect can have long-term consequences, as well as short-term, almost immediate ones.
Childhood emotional neglect occurs when a child’s parent or parents fail to respond adequately to their child’s emotional needs. Emotional neglect is not necessarily childhood emotional abuse. Abuse is often intentional; it’s a purposeful choice to act in a way that is harmful. While emotional neglect can be an intentional disregard for a child’s feelings, it can also be failure to act or notice a child’s emotional needs. Parents who emotionally neglect their children may still provide care and necessities. They just miss out on or mishandle this one key area of support. Over time, the child begins to learn that their emotional needs are not important. They stop seeking support.
Ever since the pandemic has begun, most of the parents have replaced most of quality and family time over screen time. This has led to decrease in confidence in children. As children themselves spend a lot of time glaring at the lifeless scree, they expect their parents to spend some time with them and talk. On the other hand, due to te increase in workload and stress, parents often forget that they have a life beyond the screen. This causes anxiety and builds up a cold-war between the kids and the parents. This pushes them forward to lower their self-esteem, self-confidence and hence end up isolating themselves leading to depression and other mental illnesses. This may also lead to drug abuse and many other dangerous things. Eventually their entire life might be at stake and might end up being psychopaths.
Here is a research which proves the above statement:
Children that show a lack of empathy, lack of guilt and have shallow emotions, defined as callous-unemotional traits, are at increased risk of developing psychopathy in adulthood. These children are more likely to display anti-social behaviour, such as bullying and aggression. They are less likely to respond to socially rewarding stimuli such as happy faces, and are also less likely to recognize a fearful expression. There are many implications of the research into callous-unemotional traits and psychopathy.
On a serious note, I would like to end by stating that it is clear that intervening early in children with callous-unemotional traits could prevent psychopathy in adulthood, with all the psychological and social consequences.
So it would be better if children are given the care and attention they deserve at the right time to avoid putting their lives at stake.
It’s never too late, so I’m hoping you could get started if you haven’t already.