Child neglect is an issue that affects millions of children each year. This widespread issue is considered to be one of many types of child abuse that occurs. Neglect refers to the failure of the guardian or parent to provide what is considered the essentials for a healthy, happy child to be safe and grow up in a reasonable environment. Anyone who is found to not be fulfilling that duty to their child can be found guilty of child neglect. However, child neglect is much more than just a criminal matter, it is one that can often lead to mental health problems and prolonged suffering for the children that have to endure it.
If you or your child has been through child neglect, then you should seek child neglect counseling. Child neglect counseling is an important tool that is designed to help children overcome the neglect that they have faced and start to regain trust for the parent figures in their lives and come to grips with what has happened. When left untreated, the damage caused by child neglect can be extremely troublesome and lead to lifelong problems when it comes to personal relationships, behavior, and other elements of the child’s life. With a trustworthy professional and the help of therapy, children can overcome the traumatic experiences of neglect that they have and move forward from them in a healthy, more positive way.
As the caretaker or guardian of a child, federal and state laws dictate that you are responsible for the well-being of that child. This includes food, shelter, access to healthcare, parental supervision, clothing, and other necessities for children while growing up. Anyone who has these responsibilities from a legal standpoint but does not fulfill them is classified as being a negligent parent or guardian. When you are negligent, you are in violation of the laws that are designed to protect children. This belongs to a broader family of laws that protect the interests and well-being of children and they include several different types of specialized neglect.
While neglect is not an issue that much press or news is dedicated to, many government agencies have estimated that the issue is widespread. There are millions of these cases each year, but government agencies estimate that there are millions more that go unreported, eliminating our ability to truly pinpoint how widespread of an issue that this is.
Child neglect is an issue that continues to permeate our society and cause damage wherever it goes. Children that endure child neglect are often left emotionally scarred and have a harder time coping with issues, communicating their feelings, and several other effects that come along with being neglected as a child.
Neglect vs. Abuse
One of the most common comparisons that is made is neglect and abuse. Neglect and abuse are two separate issues, but they are often looked at as the same from the eye of the public. However, these are two separate, unique issues that have two different effects on children. There are some ways that they are similar, such as they both involve the care or treatment of minors under the age of 18 and are commonly displayed by abusive caregivers and guardians. Another similarity is that they can both have long-lasting mental health effects on the people that must go through these conditions as a child.
The difference in these two is that child abuse is a deliberate, intentional, and directed action that is aimed to cause physical, emotional, sexual, or otherwise harm to a child. This can be done by acting directly or failing to act in their duty. Neglect is a separate issue that is not always intentional. This is a more passive form of abuse, but it can still have lasting mental health effects for those that go through it. It’s important to distinguish between these two, even though they are commonly connected and share some similarities. Each of these issues is dealt with in a different way through therapy and counseling.
Types of Neglect
In order to properly address the issue of neglect for a child, the first thing that must be done is to identify the type of neglect that they have been through. This step is very important, because it will mold your customized therapy plan to help you address the exact circumstances and situations that you have experienced. Here are the various types of neglect that children can experience.
Emotional neglect is the most common, serious and unrecognized type of child neglect. Very often it is out of awareness of caretakers who cannot do the job of parenting. It takes an awful lot of love, care, attention, patience, kindness, and playfulness to bring up a child. Most important is the ability to have empathy for a child’s feelings. Without empathy the child is lost emotionally and socially, and typically causes severe feelings of abandonment that get activated throughout the person’s lifetime.
This includes a failure to provide basic necessities for health and comfort including food, shelter, health care, supervision, and a safe environment to live in. This is a type of neglect that has a very heavy impact on children and can cause them to miss out on key opportunities in life and properly acclimate to society.
One of the duties of a caretaker or guardian of a child is to provide reasonable access to healthcare and ensure that they are enrolled in school. Additionally, they can elect to home school their child. Failing to provide an educational experience for children is educational neglect. Educational neglect can have lasting effects not only on the mental health of the person that goes through it, but can also have a damaging ripple effect that impacts their career and life learning path.
Perhaps one of the most important parts of a parent or guardian’s duty to their children is medical care. Providing medical care and access to medical attention when needed is very important and plays a large part in determining whether a parent is acting in a negligent way.
Addressing Child Neglect
If you or a loved one has been through any type of child neglect and is seeking a way to overcome the challenges that have been imposed because of it, then one of the best ways to do so is to seek child neglect counseling and therapy. Talking through the struggles that you have with an experienced professional can be the step that you need to recover from child neglect and handle your experiences in a positive way.