Are you an adult who is new to parenting? Or is it your first encounter with the weird behavior of a child? Well, you might have felt that the emotional needs of that child might have been ignored. Either way, you are on the right path.
This observation will let you discover the importance of the emotional needs of a child. In addition, the behavior of one’s children might force one to look into the environment of their growth. It helps to understand nuances in a child’s mental health.
What is meant by childhood emotional neglect?
Ignorance of the emotional needs of a child might present in two ways. One is the parents’ inability to respond accurately to emotional needs. Secondly, the parents’ plain disregard for the necessity of emotional support; the latter being the worst due to plain ignorance. It often manifests itself along with other forms of abuse. Abuse is not an option. Therefore, consistent abuse showing a clear pattern raises many red flags.
How emotional abuse can be incorporated into the routine and what are its effects?
- Each time you compare your child with some other kid, you put their mental health at a stake. They are unable to work this out with their immature minds. It resides there. Later, it manifests itself in the form of low self-esteem.
- Catty remarks made by parents destroy the child’s ability to process criticism later in life.
- Underappreciating your children leaves little room for the urge of self-sufficiency. They can lag behind in various ways.
- An adequate confidence level fails to develop in children due to constant belittling. They usually fail to take up many opportunities.
- Lack of emotional security makes the child prone to loneliness. This can lead to depression.
- If you do not communicate with your children, they might feel unloved and unsafe. This makes them shield themselves from the world. They can even end up repulsing emotional or physical intimacy.
Why is it important to address emotional negligence?
If kids are raised to believe that abuse comes with love, they cannot process these independently. It leaves them struggling with toxic and abusive relationships. This can be in the form of friendships or acquaintances. Some of the mental health disorders are already addressed above.
Children might not be able to identify their own emotions appropriately. Similarly, they fail to make peace with them. They are unable to find catharsis for their anger. Therefore, it is important to deal with the emotional needs of a child.
A lot of effects of ignorance of emotional needs of a child have been discussed. But you need some clear signs for diagnosis. Children subject to emotional negligence are frequently vulnerable to:
- Self-isolating behaviors
- Other mental health disorders
All of these result from a failure to form healthy bonds with emotions. It also results from a lack of understanding of the right way to project emotions.
Also Read: How To Be A Good Mom?
Factors behind the ignorance of emotional needs of a child
There is a variety of causes that can lead to negligence of emotional needs of a child. Furthermore, it is quite difficult to understand all of these in one go.
Sometimes the neglect is mere undermining of the emotional needs. In contrast, most parents are keen to tend to the needs of their children. In such cases, the guardians often fail to respond adequately. That means they do reckon the needs but their response is not apt.
Similarly, in a society, there are several factors at play at once. It might be hard to manage all at once. Adults themselves might be subject to mental health problems such as:
Childhood emotional trauma
One of the main cause is the childhood experience of adult. They tend to imitate the behaviors that were employed in their upbringing. Thus, the pattern is repeated.
A parent might be earnest in responsibilities but as an adult, they can be going through a rough patch in life. Nevertheless, ignorance of your own mental health ultimately leads to ignorance of the emotional needs of those around you. Especially, it results in the ignorance of the emotional needs of a child.
Other leading causes can be:
- Anger towards children
- Substance misuse
- Lack of emotional fulfillment on the guardian’s part
What needs to be done?
As soon as a child is diagnosed with emotional neglect, you should resort to treatment. Parents might feel guilty initially but there is always a solution. You may consider dealing with the emotional needs of a child by yourself. For instance, by establishing communication as an immediate response to your child’s condition. But you need to realize that the child has been conditioned to behave in this way. It will be hard for you to find a way through the emotional walls of a child all by yourself. For this purpose, you should look for treatment as follows:
As a result of emotional negligence over the years, children tend to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. They wall their emotions. It is hard to talk them into identifying or accepting emotions let alone processing them in a healthy way. A psychologist can easily access the sensitive mind of a child. Because they are trained so. Navigation through layers of emotional walls is possible through effective communication.
It enables the parents to understand the consequences of their actions as well. This works in collaboration with the therapy of the children. Therefore, it helps both the parent and the child.
You need to make a lot of changes to help a child in coping with the trauma. You should start by changing the environment and conditions of the child’s upbringing. This is only possible if parents uptake the change keenly. They can do this by improving their responses. For this purpose, parenting classes are very useful.
Ignoring the emotional needs of a child can lead to trauma in his childhood. It might be carried forward into his adult life. Therefore, it can affect the next generation as well. It is important for you to address the emotional needs of a child to protect him from mental health disorders. Mental health is very important to thrive in society. Thus, mental health care is necessary in every step of life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the emotional needs of a child?
Children are highly sensitive and they carry their emotional development well into adulthood. The emotional needs of a child, though not extravagant, can impact their personality if neglected.
The emotional needs of a child normally range from support in distress or failure, to having some degree of space and privacy. However, different children have different sets of emotional needs that must be tended to accordingly;
• Appreciation when they succeed at something, e.g. score high on a test
• Encouragement when they try something new or are lagging at something. This could include cheering for them in a sports match, or reminding them to not give up when they fail at something
• Recognition when they are actively making efforts to achieve/improve something. Children should be reminded that their efforts do not go unnoticed and that you acknowledge the things they do
• Support when they are under stress and are going through exhausting changes. Your child should always find you by their side to pick them up when they are low and make things better for them by any means
• Respect when they express their opinions, even if they contradict with your own. Do not quiet down your children even when they are in the wrong, use better approaches instead that do not harm their self confidence.
• Acceptance when they stray from the paths you imagined them taking, and choose what pleases them more. They are their own person, after all.
What are the emotional needs of a baby?
Infants have their separate set of emotional needs, which differ from matured children. Infants need to be practically smothered in love and affection as it helps them discover many emotions such as joy and satisfaction.
Babies tend to create panic throughout the house by simply expressing their needs in the only language known to them. They should not be considered a nuisance, but showered with love and parental care in this situation too.
Playing with your infant is also important. Who does not find a giggling child adorable? Spend time with your newborn doing your best baby voice, even when it does not yield anything significant. This attention also proves popular with most babies Other than that, you must also always be ready to ease your baby’s pains in any way possible. Apart from the practical treatment of their pain, you must also soothe them by singing lullabies and saying kind and loving things.
How does childhood emotional neglect affect adults?
Your childhood experience in regards to your emotional needs being fulfilled shapes you as a person. A classic example of this would be someone with trust issues because their privacy was violated several times when they were young.
Similarly, different types of emotional neglect can change a person for the worse. If as a child your opinions were not valued and you were talked over by the adults surrounding you, it is likely you have low confidence and fear public speaking.
Essentially, many flaws that you find in yourself as an adult have their roots in childhood emotional neglect.