A guide to realizing if
your child is at-risk, displaying
self-destructive behaviors, and
needs your help and intervention.
How can I deal with the ANGER
in our family?
Is my teen's BEHAVIOR just normal teenage rebellion?
What do parents and teachers need to know about BULLYING?
How can I help my OVERWEIGHT
Help! My teen is a RUNAWAY!
My teen is cutting. What do I need to know about SELF-INJURY?
What is 'normal' teen SEXUAL BEHAVIOR and what is cause for concern?
Neglect is characterized by failure to provide for the child’s basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Neglect causes almost as many child deaths as other types of abuse.
Physical neglect includes refusal of or delay in seeking health care, driving with the child while intoxicated, abandonment, expulsion from the home or refusal to allow a runaway to return home, and inadequate supervision. Physical neglect can severely impact a child’s development by causing failure to thrive; malnutrition; serious illness; physical harm in the form of cuts, bruises, burns or other injuries due to the lack of supervision; and a lifetime of low self-esteem.
Educational neglect includes the allowance of chronic truancy, failure to enroll a child of mandatory school age in school, and failure to attend to a special educational need. Educational neglect can lead to the child failing to acquire basic life skills, dropping out of school or continually displaying disruptive behavior.
Emotional neglect includes such actions as marked inattention to the child’s needs for affection, refusal of or failure to provide needed psychological care, spouse abuse in the child’s presence, and permission of drug or alcohol use by the child. A pattern of this parental behavior can lead to the child’s poor self-image, substance abuse, destructive behavior (such as self-injury) and even suicide.
There is a distinction between a parent’s inability to provide the needed care based on cultural norms or the lack of financial resources and a parent’s knowing reluctance or refusal to provide care and love.
NEXT: Physical Abuse
by Norman A. Polansky, Mary Ann Chalmers, Werthan Buttenwieser, & David P. Williams
Most of us are unaware of child
neglect even when we are witnessing it. . . . Neglect is a matter of
things undone, of inaction compounded by indifference. Since it goes
on at home, it is a very private sin. . . . It is little wonder that
most of the public is unaware of poor child caring. Its ignorance is
even greater as to how widespread the problem is. But this is not a
blissful ignorance. The public may not want to attend to child
neglect, but it lives with the distortions of human personality that
are left in its wake."— from chapter 1 of Damaged Parents
More Information on Neglect
Child Neglect: A Guide for Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention ~ This manual covers in depth the definition of 'neglect', causes, impact, and prevention and intervention strategies.
Child Neglect: Its Causes and Role in Delinquency (pdf) ~ The more interest a parent shows in a child, the more a parent gets involved with a child, the more a parent supervises a child, and the more warmth and affection a parent shows a child, the less likely the child is to become involved in delinquency.
Child Neglect and Abandonment State Statutes (pdf) ~ The following is a list of state statutes criminalizing child neglect and abandonment. Not all states define child neglect and abandonment in the same manner. All states have some form of statute criminalizing the underlying facets of neglect and abandonment, except the state of Maryland.
Tackling Child Neglect: David Howe explains the importance of understanding child development ~ Fully understanding the development needs of young children can alert us to the damaging risk of neglect.
Toxic Childhoods ~ Angry, cold families produce sick kids who may become sick adults.
The Tragedy of Child Neglect ~ Neglect accounts for two-thirds of the 3 million reports made to child protective services annually in the United States. That's the tip of the iceberg.
by Mary Pipher
Drawing on the fascinating stories of families rich and poor, angry and despairing, religious and skeptical, and probing deep into her own family memories and experiences, Mary Pipher clears a path to the strength and energy at the core of family life. She offers ideas for simple actions we can all take to heal, restore, and rebuild our families, and to strengthen our communities. Wise, compassionate, and impassioned, The Shelter of Each Other challenges each of us to face the truth about ourselves and to find the courage to protect, nurture, and revivify the families we cherish.
© Focus Adolescent Services