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The impact of neglectful parents
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impact of neglectful parents

No one is perfect. Dealing with life’s challenges can be tough, especially for parents. Parental figures are often held to a higher societal standard because they are in charge of another human being. Even the best parents can have difficulty raising their children to be well-adjusted individuals and may face many challenges when raising a child.

A study published in the journal Child Development notes that a lack of sensitive parenting can cause lasting effects that carry on from childhood into adulthood. The study defines sensitive caregiving as responding promptly and effectively to a child’s needs. Additionally, a sensitive parent will provide a safe space for the child to explore the surrounding environment. Participants with mothers who were intrusive, insensitive or disengaged were more likely to have dysfunctional relationships with others as well as poor academic performance. This trend followed them into adulthood:

“One of the things these findings may mean is that early parent/child and early caregiving experiences have lasting consequences for children’s success in school and in relationships,” said Lee Raby, a post doctoral researcher at the University of Delaware and co-author of the study. “These effects don’t go away as individuals get older and as they transition into more adult roles.”

According to data from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation, researchers focused attention on a child’s first three years of life. Following 243 participants from birth until 32 years of age, researchers closely evaluated how the children interacted with parents and performed in the classroom. Researchers interviewed the participants once they reached adulthood. The study found that participants with loving, attentive and functional mothers were often more prone to success in academia and social situations.
No one can change the past and no one can choose their parents or tell them how to parent while they themselves are still a child. However, as adults who are now dealing with the adverse effects of neglectful parenting, they can choose the means of dealing with any mental health conditions cause by it. Those experiencing anxiety and depression as a result of their upbringing can learn to cope with anxiety and depression. These strategies could help:

  • Accept a parent’s weaknesses – Parents are human, too. They make mistakes. While young people don’t always have the capacity to conduct this analysis, doing so as an adult is a strong way to resolve the past
  • Remember the positive – If a parent has his or her more admirable qualities, focusing on those qualities can start the healing process
  • Remove the emotional suppression – When dealing with negative emotions in the proper settings, try expressing them openly and acknowledge where they came from
  • See a therapist – A licensed mental health professional won’t judge the emotional problems of a patient, no matter how small they may seem to certain people. Each person’s problems should be taken seriously for successful treatment. Additionally some individuals may benefit from family therapy as well

Sovereign Health of Arizona provides individuals with treatment programs built to deal with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety or the effects of trauma. Through the use of methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or even Family Therapy clients are able to gain an effective and lasting recovery. Sovereign Health of Arizona also provides clients with treatment for co-occurring conditions such as multiple mental health disorders or substance abuse. Whatever the situation is, we are here to help resolve the problems of the past in order to provide clients with a bright future. To reach one of our admissions specialists, call 866-598-566.

Written by Nicholas Ruiz Sovereign Health Group writer

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