First to understand this, let us understand what Emotional Neglect is. No one likes to get consistently disregarded, overlooked, invalidated, or unappreciated by a friend or a family member.
But when it happens, God it hurts!
Emotional Neglect is a repeated pattern of such upsetting circumstances. Similarly, Child Emotional Neglect (CEN) is the parent's failure to meet their child's emotive needs during the early years. As it’s mostly silent and invisible unlike physical neglect/abuse, childhood emotional neglect is largely an overlooked phenomenon. This subsequently makes it difficult to identify as there are not many observable signs.
CEN can take countless forms, from a parent having unrealistic high expectations or to nullifying child’s emotional experiences to the point that he or she begins to feel lack of self-confidence. A parent is supposed to act as a mirror of positive echoes but in these cases, there is no mirror held up and there is no positive reflection being shared with the child. It will be obvious that developing a ‘positive sense of self’ becomes more perplexing for the child.
For sure there are some ways in which this can be reversed for good. Here are some tips that you as a parent can use to handle or draw a close to CEN:
- Deeply acknowledge the way Emotional Neglect happened in your family and how it has affected you. Do not pass on your maltreated emotions to your child.
- Pay attention to feelings and develop/practice compassion. Teach children about their feelings and that their feelings are validated.
- Be proactive in understanding your children, be there for them! Listen to and talk with your children.
- Watch your words! Livid language toward kids can cause long-lasting emotional damage.
- Try to understand behaviors before punishing.Get control of yourself before disciplining a child. Set clear rules so the child knows what to expect. Avoid physical punishment.
- Make your home a violence-free zone.Say no to violent TV shows/programs.
- Have realistic expectations. Do not be an authoritarian parent or Perfectionistic parent.
- Be patient. Progress will be slow, every situation is different, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. But it does work. It just takes time.