What is neglectful parenting? Is this something parents do on purpose? Am I a bad parent? Is neglectful parenting bad parenting? These are only part of the questions we will try to answer in this article. On top of that, we will try to understand the father's role and answer: Is the father the reason behind bad parenting?
- What is neglectful parenting?
- 7 Traits of neglectful parenting
- Is neglectful parenting bad parenting?
- The role of the father
- All Star Dads Parenting
- Dads to be and other great Dadvices
- How to be “involved father”?
- 7 advices and tips about how to be involved and mindful father
Time to read: 8 minutes
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According to psychologist Diana Baumrind, neglectful parenting is one of the main parenting styles for child rearing. You may have already heard about authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting. Of course, there are other parenting methods like gentle parenting and attachment parenting.
First, we have to clarify that neglectful parenting and uninvolved parenting are the same things. This parenting style is characterized by a shallow quality of the relationship between the child and the parent. The responsiveness is very low, the child does not get feedback about their actions, and there are no boundaries. The main thing is that the parent is not involved in the rearing.
*Related: What does the bible say about parenting?
If you have asked yourself: Am I a bad parent? - Now, we will give you 7 examples of bad and uninvolved parenting. You can use this as a checklist.
- Physical, emotional, sexual and other types of abuse. We do not have to comment on most of these. However, we will give an example of emotional abuse.
Are you constantly checking your child? Do you feel jealous when you see the child spend more time with the other parent or friends? These are only two signs that maybe you have some inner issues that reflect on the child.
- Are you involved in the rearing and the child`s education? Do you care about the kid`s results in school? Do you think about its clothes and nutrition? Do you talk with your child regularly about his / her emotions and feelings?
If the answer to some of these is No, then you might spend some time analyzing yourself.
- Poor discipline and lack of boundaries. Unlike authoritative parenting, which is connected with setting clear boundaries and limitations while still showing love and understanding, neglectful parenting is just the opposite. Neglectful parents do not set clear boundaries and limitations if they set some.
To show love, respect, understanding and be able to set “healthy” limitations, you must be pretty involved in the process of rearing. Neglectful parents have other tasks and priorities which immediately reflect on the future of the children.
Some parents set too strict boundaries to compensate for the lack of their attention and care. This might be considered authoritarian parenting, but the motivation behind the actions is different. Authoritarians set too high expectations. Very often, the way to show their love is mistaken, while showing love is not a priority for neglectful parents.
- Do you punish your children? Do you explain why you have punished them every time you do it? Do you show love and affection when the punishment finishes? Do you punish the child in front of other people?
There are two types of neglectful parents regarding punishment styles:
- The first type does not punish the children at all. This lack of action will not lead to understanding in the child that there are consequences for our actions.
- The second type punishes the child, but those parents think that the punishment is the only thing required to change the bad behavior. Very often, those parents punish in front of other people or children, which leads to shaming. Shaming can influence the child's life significantly in the future when fear of failure dictates all of the young person`s actions.
- Too much criticism and comparison with other children or brothers and sisters.
We know that having a role model or giving positive examples to other people to the child is extremely important. If this were not true, most people would not read bedtime stories.
However, not acknowledging the wins and achievements, constant criticism or setting the expectations too high will eventually lead to low self-esteem, lack of competitiveness or inferiority complex.
A bonus trait for bad parenting is labelling. For example: Your child makes something bad. After that, you say: “You are bad boy/girl!”
You cannot imagine how damaging is this type of parents’ behavior… It can lead to demotivation, anger, frustration and even mental problems. The children are extremely open to parents` feedback and opinion. Your words as a parent can readily be accepted as truth, no matter what.
- Are you compensating with materialistic love for the lack of time you have for your child? Are you trying to be a friend instead of parent? Are you using bribes to see good behavior? Are you doing what you say that you will do?
If your answer to some of those questions is “Yes”, this can be the beginning of a perilous road leading to loss of respect and losing your position as a parent in the child's mind.
- Do you attend all events that are important for your child? Do you set time every week for “time with mom” or “daddy time”? Do you show sincere interest in your child`s life and difficulties? Do you know who your child`s best friends are? Do you know where your child spends most of his / her free time?
Have you watched movies where the parent (almost always the father) forgets about the child's competition or football match and misses it? This is not something that happens in movies only.
Maybe some of you have experienced this first hand.
Your support today is more important than making the child happy tomorrow. Sometimes tomorrow does not come.
To define some parenting styles as “bad” we must clarify a few things. Why some people seem like neglectful parents? What is the motivation behind their actions?
A father with two children enters the subway, his children run around like crazy. People are frustrated. One of them asks him to take care of the children. Then the father says:
-Oh, I am sorry. My wife and their mom died before one hour. They probably do not know how to handle it.
Some people behave like neglectful parents because they desire the best for their kids. You might ask: “Why they behave like this if they want the best for their children?”. Well, the parents might want to grow children with strong characters. However, it is essential to know that difficulties children face and difficulties grown-up face influence them differently. It is good to challenge your child, but it is 100% scientifically proven that children need love.
Yes, neglectful parenting is bad parenting. However, your motivation as a parent defines if your parenting style can be changed in the future.
When talking about neglectful parenting, many people think about the father. The mother is always connected with home, love and care. The father, on the other hand, is someone who is out there, working and providing for the family. What about 21st century? What about the pandemic? So many fathers have started working from home. Is the most common perception about fathers accurate?
It has been scientifically proven that the role of the father is critical for many factors. If you believe in God, you must believe and know that the male figure and the female figure play equal importance in a child`s rearing. However, every one of them has a different role.
Usually, the mother is described as the “love and heart” and the father as “protection and brain”. This does not mean that men are those who are more intelligent and think more. Men are more logical; women have more patience. There is a famous book that describes the differences between the two sexes “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” - by John Gray.
The father`s presence and role are vital for healthy emotional development and empathy development. The father`s example dictates the child's future actions and relationships. If you have a boy, the father's example will influence your boy`s attitude towards women. If you have a girl, the example of the father will influence and shape the idea behind “relationship with a man”.
We know how important the father's role is and the consequences of the lack of a father. We also know that fathers who are neglectful and bad parents can ruin the child`s future. A significant percentage of men in prisons share the same issue – they all had a bad father, or the father was missing.
However, is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
Example of dads who have decided to dedicate to helping men be better fathers are All Star Dads. Their mission is all about helping fathers, providing education about fathers and giving maximum value to fathers who want to improve.
If you are about to become a dad or you want to improve as a dad, it is best to check their website, read their vision and mission. They have great articles, resources and downloads section, too.
All Star Dads definitely deserve respect for the work they do. Making our children happy and helping them grow in good physical, mental and emotional health requires efforts. All Star Dads can be the people that can motivate you to improve and grow as a father. We recommend reading their article The Effects of Fathers’ Parenting Stress on Children’s Language and Cognitive Development as a start.
If you are a dad to be or you are a father with great experience, a great website to check can be The Dad Website. Started from 3 fathers with six children, now is a place for hundreds of fathers to get excellent knowledge and information about fatherhood.
Mothers are famous for the way they talk and share advice; why can`t dads do the same? The Dad Website is a great place to remind yourself that being a parent is a gift, not an annoying task.
We live in a special time. The time when the father was working from 09:00 to 17:00 and with the only task of protecting the family is over. Many fathers worked from home before the pandemic, and even more started to do it after the pandemic. Involved fathers are mindful parents; involved parents are the opposite of neglectful and more like authoritative.
Involved fathers care about the future but do not forget about the present. Involved parents do not argue in front of the child. Involved fathers try to be next to the mother in the prenatal period while she is pregnant and in the postnatal period. Involved fathers care about the condition of the mother and the rearing of the child. Involved parents are proactive and show love and care every day. Love is a choice that you make every day.
- Show love and affection towards the child and your wife
- Set clear boundaries for the child and do not say something if you do not intend to do it while using rewards and punishments wisely
- Show respect and try to understand your child`s feelings and emotions
- Always point to the problem, labelling the bad behavior, not the child
- Try not to yell and hit the child with your hand
- Be a good example, be careful what and how you talk
- Give your child freedom to choose and be independent
Some fathers have work to do over their characters and behavior and must understand that their actions influence their child`s future. However, some fathers care about their children and want to improve as dads.
If you really want to be a great dad, you must understand what are the bad traits you must improve and what are the good traits that you must include in your parenting style. Love is a choice and being a good father is a decision. Be mindful of your actions and give your best every day. Your child`s future is in your hands!