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How Does It Affect Children When Their Parents Ignore Them?

by Tiffany Raiford

Sometimes you get so caught up in doing something else such as nursing your infant or talking on the phone that you realize you’ve spent the past hour ignoring your child. While occasional instances are excusable, ignoring your child too much is a form of emotional abuse that can have lasting effects on your child. You don't have to stop in the middle of making dinner to play a game or hang up on your boss when she wants to read a book, but it does mean you should engage with her more actively.

How Ignoring Your Child Affects Confidence

When you continuously ignore your child, his confidence and self-esteem suffer, according to the Children’s Physician Network. Your lack of interest, affection and displays of love might make him feel that he is not worthy. He might begin to feel that nothing he does is good enough, which could cause him to believe that he is not good enough.

How Ignoring Your Child Affects Behavior

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are ignored by their parents tend to behave more aggressively than children who receive plenty of attention from mom and dad. If you spend more time ignoring your kids than you do playing with them, talking to them and acknowledging them, they might show their anger by throwing objects, hitting others, yelling and behaving with an overall aggressive demeanor.

How Ignoring Your Child Affects His Future

Children who are ignored by their parents are emotionally abused, and emotionally abused children are more likely to turn to drugs, alcohol or even suicide, according to the Children’s Physician Network. Additionally, ignoring your child can affect his ability to form lasting, healthy relationships with his peers, his extended family and his future spouse. He might be withdrawn and be prone to using illegal substances even as a young child as a coping mechanism.

Other Ways Ignoring Your Child Affects Him Negatively

Subjecting your child to the emotional abuse known as ignoring can cause your child to suffer from learning disabilities or prolonged negative habits such as bed-wetting or soiling her pants even though she is potty-trained, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. When you ignore your child routinely, chances of your child developing some sort of learning disability or oppositional behavior disorder increases.

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