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The Effects of Parental Neglect on a Child's Classroom Behavior

by Chelsea Fitzgerald

Parents and guardians who don't provide for their child's emotional, physical and academic needs are considered neglectful, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This neglect affects the child in several unhealthful ways, including his behavior in the classroom. Failure in the classroom can seriously impair his ability to grow intellectually and socially.

Signs of Parental Neglect

According to the American Psychological Association, signs of neglect are a lack of interest in his own surroundings, dirty hair and skin, and abnormal thirst and hunger. Other signs of neglect are the absence of appropriate adult supervision, chronic absenteeism and failure to receive proper medical attention.

Detriments to the Child's Health

Parents who neglect children don't feed them healthy meals, bathe them regularly or ensure they receive the proper amount of sleep. This can result in skin infections, frequent illnesses, malnourishment and impaired brain development, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. The child might fall asleep in class because he suffers frequently from nightmares, according to the American Psychological Association. He also might be too tired to focus on the lesson. The child might suffer from anemia or other untreated illnesses that result in him missing school.

Effects of Neglect on Intelligence

If a neglected child manages to pay attention in class, his brain might not be developed enough to grasp the subject, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Because he's intellectually slower than children in the same grade, he's likely to feel frustration, embarrassment and lower self-esteem. Poor language skills often cause the child to avoid class participation and socializing because of fear of being ridiculed.

Effects of Being Emotionally Stunted

Neglected children often have trouble trusting others, even teachers who want to help them. This makes them less likely to form social bonds with peers. Emotionally and socially stunted kids often do not feel empathy for others. They also might feel little remorse when inflicting pain on others, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. The isolation he feels when his peers shun him might escalate into even more behavioral problems in class.

Long-term Consequences of Neglect

Neglected children are more likely to have problems behaving appropriately in the classroom throughout their school career, thus making them less likely to graduate or even attend college. They also are more likely to engage in delinquent behavior, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. They often repeat the cycle by neglecting their own kids because they don’t know any other way to parent. They rarely socialize with children outside of the classroom, so they likely don't recognize their parents' behavior as abnormal.

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