Uninvolved or neglectful parenting is detrimental to a child’s emotional growth and wellbeing. Studies have shown children of neglectful parenting grow up to be social recluses, do not do well in school, fall victims to bullying and substance abuse, and are more susceptible to mental ailments like depression when they grow up. Neglectful parents do more harm to the child’s growth than abusive parents. The right intervention at the right time can steer parents towards positive parenting.

How Uninvolved Parenting Affects Kids

  • Uninvolved Parenting Explained
  • Effect Of Uninvolved Parenting On Kids
  • Social Interaction
  • Bullying/Peer Victimization
  • Depression/Dysfunctional Cognition
  • What Can Be Done About This?

Parenting involves a lot of give and take. But many a time we have seen parents being so involved in their own lives that the needs of the child go unheard or unattended to. This is termed uninvolved or neglectful parenting. This kind of parenting serves the children no good.

Uninvolved Parenting Explained

When it comes to parenting, it goes without saying that parents are the ones who influence children the most. In fact, it is the duty of parents to influence, guide, teach, and control their children. There are two elemental aspects of parenting—parental responsiveness (how parents respond to a child’s demands) and parental demandingness (what parents demand from their child). Parental responsiveness and demandingness decide how supportive or warm parents are to children or how parents will control the child’s behavior. Based on these two aspects, parenting style is further categorized into four:

Indulgent: More responsive than demanding

Authoritative: Both demanding and responsive

Authoritarian: Very demanding but not responsive

Uninvolved: Neither demanding nor responsive

In the uninvolved parenting style, parents seem to not respond to the child or demand anything from the child. This means, that the parents show absolutely no love or affection for the child. They are constantly busy with their own work and lives and seem to find no time to spare for the children, whether it is to take them out for sports and activities or school functions or even to bring up the children according to societal norms. More often than not, uninvolved parents only provide food and shelter to the child and not much else.

Effect Of Uninvolved Parenting On Kids

Needless to say, neglectful parenting results in behavioral issues in children. Lack of proper guidance and the anger that develops due to neglect lead to kids acting out their emotions in an improper manner. This often gets them in trouble with the school authorities and later, with the law. Neglected children are also more likely than others to get involved with troublesome gangs as this gives them a sense of belonging that they fail to receive at home.

Having said that, here are a few ways uninvolved parenting affect children’s behavior and their performance in various fields:

Social Interaction

Uninvolved parenting causes nothing but misery to the children. Since young children pick up social cues from the immediate world around them, a home that neglects his presence provides no guidance. To the ignored child, ignoring others becomes the reality. This could make them social recluses or exhibit antisocial behavior since they are unable to join in social situations.

Development: Moral, Behavioral, Cognitive

Interestingly, in a comparative study done on neglected children and physically abused children on moral, cognitive, and socio-behavioral development, it was found that neglect, occurring particularly in early life is more detrimental to the overall development of the child. Compared to physically abused children, neglected children were found to have more severe cognitive and academic deficits, social withdrawal and limited peer interactions. They were also found to internalize problems.

Bullying/Peer Victimization

Parents have a huge part to play in preventing bullying among children. Studies have shown that neglectful parenting can lead to children being bullied by their peers at school or by older siblings. In a study conducted on 584 Korean children from grade 3-6, it was found that neglectful parenting does influence peer victimization through sibling victimization and the results were stronger on girls than boys.

Chances Of Substance Abuse/Poor Scores

Family support is found to be a decisive factor in the adjustment in childhood and adolescence. Indirect evidence shows that family support is a protective factor for adolescent substance abuse and conduct problems. Interestingly, studies show that social network influences may extend beyond immediate family members to include even friend’s parents. It shows that an adolescent with a friend whose mother is authoritative is 39 percent less likely to binge drink and 43 percent less likely to use marijuana than an adolescent whose mother is neglectful.

Studies also show that where parents are rejecting and neglectful, children turn out to be least adjusted and exhibit several academic problems, and achieve the lowest scores in exams.

Depression/Dysfunctional Cognition

Neglecting the care of a child can also result in depression and dysfunctional cognition in the child. Studies also reveal that both authoritarian and uninvolved parenting style, along with physical coercion, verbal abuse, non-reasoning, and indifference is connected to social anxiety and social withdrawal in children.

A study concerning children’s perception of parental neglect and control revealed that children’s perceptions that parents are emotionally neglectful and controlling should be seriously considered as a risk factor for psychiatric disorder in future.

What Can Be Done About This?

Neglectful parenting or uninvolved parenting might be the most detrimental type of parenting style. However, it has also been found that very rarely do parents willingly become neglectful of their children. Parents who are in such a situation need proper intervention to come out of the problem and get back on track to healthy parenting. The children involved will also need assistance. Professional helpers must always keep in mind that parents want to improve the quality of care for their children. Most neglectful parents end up being so due to lack of personal, financial, or supportive resources. When neglect is a chronic pattern in the individual, the intervention will need to continue for 12 to 18 months. In cases of non-chronic neglect, interventions may be more intensive, but for a shorter period.

Children, whether they are toddlers, adolescents, or teens, need to be able to spend quality time with their parents. It is the duty of parents to correct the child and guide him on the right path to becoming successful and responsible human beings. Neglectful parenting doesn’t help children grow up to be emotionally healthy individuals. Parents need to take help if they find themselves being less involved in their children’s growth to learn positive parenting.