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Counting The Cost Of Neglect- Are You Neglecting Your Child?

Self-esteem is the main spring that slates a child for success or failure” -Dorothy Corkille Briggs

We have often heard it said that in some people, there is a deep empty hole inside that cannot be filled. Where healing, love, care and intervention are not given as a remedies to the neglect; drugs, substance abuse and addictions, amongst others, are used as substitutes.

We cannot begin to understand the huge and significant impact of child neglect and abandonment. The consequences are far-reaching and leave an emotionally starved generation who are unstable, insecure, with low self-esteem and deep psychological effects.

To experience neglect, a child must be reliant on another for their physical and emotional well-being and development. Where the correct nurturing fails, the consequences can be dire for the child’s development. Researcher also believe that the hidden and often unseen and expected danger of neglect suffered for many years is the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can affect victims in the long-term

Psychologically, according to the ‘attachment theory’, a child who is attached and forms secure attachments to their mother has a higher chance of survival. Neglect disrupts this attachment. Studies suggest that where this secure and healthy attachment and bond fails to be established in the early years can have a negative impact on a child’s behaviour later in their lives. They believe that children who exhibit and are diagnosed with oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CO), and/or PTSD were possibly victims of neglect and abandonment. What this means is that children who grow up neglected at an early age run the risk of developing and establishing proper and healthy relationships.

Emotionally starved children: children need someone who will be there with them often and share their thoughts are feelings. When there is no one to nurture, care and guide these children from an early age, we end up with children who turn to crime and violence because they have no one to teach them between right and wrong.

Love and care is more than providing a child with “things” – love is seen in action, and children are sensitive to affection and love.

When children do not grow up receiving this, at a later stage they may seek love, affection or care, they end up looking for it in unsafe places and from the wrong people. Without knowing what real, secure, genuine and real love is, they do not know any better but to go wherever and in whatever form it presents itself.

  • Risk of abductions (due to lack of care, protection and supervision)

  • Drug and substance abuse

  • Low level of education (due to lack of or poor schooling)

  • Psychological and emotional problems (depression, PTSD, low self-esteem)

  • Death (due to medical neglect)

These are some of the long term consequences of child neglect and abandonment.

Special attention needs to be paid to our children from an early age. To develop great leaders, teachers, families, communities, societies and a nation, we need to invest in the physical, emotional, educational and medical development of our children. When children are set up from a young age to win, the result will be a strong and healthy nation.

Author: Nelly Kgoabi

mandela-quote- there can be no keener revelation

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