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Hailee Nguyen
Jun 14, 2023
In Journalist Phase-INTERMEDIATE
According to the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of (2003), child emotional neglect is defined as the primary caregivers’ failure to meet their child emotional needs during the early stages of life. It involves any pattern of behaviour such as being unavailable, unresponsive, and having limited emotional interactions with the child. Consequently, it does not allow the child’s emotional needs for affection, attention, support, and competence to be adequately met at a level where they can thrive. There are some examples of emotional neglect, for instance, ignoring a child, withholding or failing to express affection towards them, neglecting to offer emotional support during their challenging periods or illnesses, and disregarding their mental well-being.   Emotional neglect can meet the definition of abuse in many circumstances which subsequently results in immediate and long-term emotional harm. While numerous forms of abuse are intentional and malicious, emotional neglect may also occur subconsciously due to several factors, for example, the primary caregiver’s emotional intelligence or self-awareness limitations, personal history of trauma, and other mental disorders (e.g., anxiety and depression) and physical illnesses.   The long-term impact of emotional neglect on adult mental health may vary depending on the different circumstances. Nonetheless, a nationally representative study conducted by Taillieu et al. (2006) in the United States revealed that individuals who were experiencing childhood emotional maltreatment had an increased risk of developing mental health disorders, consisting anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, and 10 recognised personality disorders (i.e., cluster A personality disorders – paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal disorder; cluster B personality disorder – antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder; and cluster C personality disorder – avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder).   Some previous literature suggested that healing from childhood emotional neglect can occur at any stages of life. This process may involve (1) fostering self-compassion (i.e., known as the art of being kind to yourself), (2) establishing the unconditional loves and relationships, (3) engaging in therapeutic practices (e.g., writing letter to your past), (4) seeking guidance and support, and (5) engaging in advocacy (i.e., sometimes, advocating for individuals who have experienced childhood neglect or actively working to prevent such abuse may help enhancing ones’ sense of relief and purpose in what they had experienced).   References   National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003. Retrieved from   Reynolds, A., & Gillette, H. (2022). Emotional Neglect in Childhood: Signs, Effects, and How to Cope. Retrieved from   Tailieu, L. T., Brownridge, A. D., Sareen, J., & Afifi, O. T. (2016). Childhood emotional maltreatment and mental disorders: Results from a nationally representative adult sample from the United States. Child Abuse and Neglect, 59, 1-12.
Child Emotional Neglect and Its Impact on Adult Mental Health. content media

Hailee Nguyen

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