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Parental Neglect

Updated: Jan 19

You might be wondering, which kind of parent neglects their child(ren) after all the stress they've gone through; prenatal stress, sleepless nights etc. 

Parental Neglect is defined as the failure of a parent or caregiver to respond adequately to their child's emotional needs and basic needs. It is an omission by the parent that deprives a child of his basic age needs which results or can result in physical or psychological harm.

Cases of parental neglect may not be intentional, sometimes parents don't know they are neglecting their child(ren) . It is could be due to factors such as unemployment, low income, the age of the parents, mental health disorders and even may even be because of substance abuse.

Forms of Parental Neglect

There are 4 types of parental neglect, they include:

  • Educational Neglect: This is failing to enroll the child in school, allowing the child to skip school or ignoring the child's special needs. It could also come in the form of not caring about the child’s performance in school, not showing up to represent the child and being apathetic.

  •    Emotional Neglect:  This is exposing the child to domestic violence or substance use. It is also the failure of providing emotional support and giving the required attention to the child.

  •   Medical Neglect:  This is delaying and denying recommended or necessary medical  treatment that the child needs or not giving much attention to the medical needs of the child.

  •    Physical Neglect:  This is when the parents fail to care for the child's basic needs e.g hygiene, clothing, shelter, nutrition or even abandoning the child.

3 Ways To Get Over Parental Neglect in Adulthood

Here are a few steps you can take to recover from any parental neglect you may have experienced as a child:

Be aware of your negative experiences, but don't dwell on them

While sorting out your emotions and accepting your negative experiences as part of your story is a good first step, it is also important not to dwell on them and to make conscious efforts to get them out of your head and recover from the trauma they have caused you.

Identify and try to meet your needs

Many people who experienced parental neglect as children grow up believing that they do not deserve the good things in life and refuse to satisfy their needs, which will all but provide them with the relief that they seek.

As a result, you should be aware of what you require and avoid succumbing to the whims of self-denial, which will only cause you more harm and prevent you from healing.

Find a therapist

If you want to sort out your emotions/past, recover from the trauma they have caused you, and get the burden off your chest, this is the best step to take.


Therapists are trained to provide you with relief and recovery from any type of mental trauma you may be experiencing, and they know the best ways to expedite this process.

However, keep in mind that recovery is a gradual process that should not be rushed.

Your emotional wounds and personal experience should be treated gently and with great care because only by doing so will you be able to truly and quickly heal.

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