Emotional neglect of a child

Emotional neglect of a child is as detrimental as any other type of abuse. Parenting is hard and all parents make mistakes.

Psych Central posted an article on this topic. They noted, “If you grew up with parents who subtly discouraged or discounted your feelings (Childhood Emotional Neglect), for example, then you’ll have a natural inclination, outside of your awareness, to do the same with your children.  This is why Childhood Emotional Neglect, or CEN, is so rampant in today’s world. It transfers, unchecked and unnoticed, from one generation to the next.”


The article moves on to discuss how the view of society influences what we focus on. Most parents are more worried about their child behaving than that of the child’s emotions. We educate, control, manipulate, discipline at all cost for our kids to not get in trouble in school or social areas. Staying in tune with the child’s emotions is as or more important for his or her future. It is hard to focus on both but here are some tips from the article:

The Three Goals of the Emotionally Attuned Parent:
1.Your child feels a part of something. He knows he’s not alone. You’re always on his team.
2.Your child knows that whatever she feels, it’s OK, and it matters to you. She will be held accountable for her behavior, but not for her emotions.
3.Your child learns how to tolerate, manage, and express his feelings.

WHAT WE ALL SAY                                                                                           WHAT THE IDEAL PARENT SAYS
Stop Crying                                                                                                            Why are you crying?
Let me know when you’re done with your fit                                                  That’s OK. Get it all out. Then we’ll talk.
Alright, enough! I’m done with this.                                                                 Let’s take a break so we can both calm down.
Fix the attitude!                                                                                                     You sound angry or upset. Are you?
You need to think before you act!                                                                      How’d this go wrong? Let’s think it through.
Go to your room until you can behave better.                                                 I see you’re angry. Is it because…?
OK, OK, stop crying now so we can go in the store.                                       Look at me. Take a deep breath. Let’s count to five.
There’s nothing to be nervous about.                                                                Everyone gets nervous. It’s OK.
Don’t talk to me with that tone.                                                                          Try saying that again, but nicer so I can hear it.

Keep in mind that virtually all children have heard everything in the first column many times, and it’s OK. It will only cause damage (Childhood Emotional Neglect) if the child receives the subtle, unstated messages listed below too frequently:

* Your feelings are excessive.

* Your feeling is wrong.

* I don’t want to know what you’re feeling.

* Your feelings are an inconvenience for me.

* You need to deal with this alone.

* I don’t care what you feel; I only care about your behavior.

If you wince while you read those messages above, don’t despair! It’s not your fault. You’re simply doing what human beings do, and responding to your children as you were responded to as a child. Be assured, it is never too late to start responding differently.

To read the whole article Click Here


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