Topics: Borderline personality disorder, Attachment theory, Child abuse Pages: 8 (1549 words) Published: May 27, 2014
The Effects of Neglect on Attachment

In the 1960s neglect was the major form of maltreatment in the USA, until it became recognized that physical and sexual abuse was a growing concern. Since the 70s neglect received less attention because of the overwhelming rise in physical and sexual abuse. Latest research is now bringing to light the effects of emotional neglect on children. After a brief discussion on neglect per se, this paper will discuss the effects of psychological maltreatment/emotional neglect on the child and his/her attachment style.

In Australia neglect is defined by DoCS as:
“ The continued failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child with the basic things needed for his or her proper growth and development, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental care and adequate supervision. However due to mounting knowledge about children’s requirements for nurturing and emotional affection to enhance their development, emotional neglect is included in the Practice Guidance for DoCS Caseworkers.”

Definition of Emotional Neglect
“A repeated pattern of damaging interactions between parent(s) and child that becomes typical of the relationship. (National Center of Child Abuse and Neglect, 1997)

Categories of Neglect
Neglect can be represented under four main categories:
Physical: abandonment, expulsion, nutritional, clothing, healthcare, lack of supervision, exposure to hazards, inappropriate care giving Environmental: inadequate nurturing or affection, spouse abuse, substance abuse, maladaptive behavior, isolation Educational: permitted truancy, failure to enroll at school, inattention to special educational needs Psychological/Emotional: spurning, terrorizing, exploiting, corrupting, denying emotional responsiveness i.e. ignoring, failing to express care or love, rejecting, isolating, inconsistent parenting, neglecting mental health, medical and educational needs, witnessing spouse violence. (Vachss, 2007)

Causes and Indicators
Poverty, divorce, sickness and disability are factors that may lead to neglect. Parents may be very young or inexperienced and may not know what stages of development to expect. One of the parents may have been abused or neglected. Parents abusing drugs including alcohol are more likely to abuse or neglect their children. Factors of parenting stem from the parents’ own developmental history and psychological health, characteristics of the family and the child, and coping strategies. Poor nutrition affects the child’s physical and psychological development if nutrients have not been available during critical growth periods. This can manifest as stunted growth, chronic medical problems, inadequate bone and muscle growth, and neurological development negatively affects normal brain functioning and information processing. (? To find good ref) Indicators in Caregivers that may help identify neglect:

Indifference to the child
Promises continually broken
Fails to keep appointments or refuses help from school or others Lifestyle isolated from relatives and friends
History of abuse
Disorganized, chaotic home life
History of chronic illness
Gives impression of resignation and feeling that nothing helps anyway Seems apathetic or depressed
Behaves irrationally or in a bizarre manner
Abuses alcohol or other drugs

Signs of Neglect in Infants and Toddlers
Poor responsiveness
Does not often smile, cry, laugh, play or relate to others
Lacks interest and curiosity
Rocks, bangs head, sucks hair, thumb, finger
Tears at body
Is overly self-stimulating or self-comforting
Does not turn to parent for help or comfort
Hospitalization due to failure to thrive; regresses when at home Unduly over or under active for no apparent purpose

Signs In Adolescents
Over 30 years of research has established two dimensions of parenting as risk factors for psychopathology. These are 1) harsh...
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