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Understanding the Long-Term Effects of Child Neglect

When a caregiver denies a child's basic needs (e.g., supervision, health care, clothing, housing, emotional needs), it's known as child neglect. The long-term effects of child neglect include long-lasting social, emotional, psychological, and health problems. Here are some you should know about.

Unsuitable Attachment Styles

Children whose parents are indifferent to their needs run the risk of forming an uneasy, uncomfortable attachment. The child's future ability to form attachments and relationships will depend on how exposed they were to negligent behaviors. (Although my parents weren't neglectful, I do still have attachment issues and I have delved into it a bit here.)

Alternative Actions and Anxiety

The long-term effects of child neglect may also lead to a struggle with anxiety or impulsivity or the development of common aggressive behavior. Infants who display unusual behaviors (e.g., withdrawal, apathy, excessive sleep), aren't thriving and won't become "healthy" people.

An Isolated and Uncertain Feeling Result From Long-Term Effects of Child Neglect

Neglect victims may feel isolated, untrustworthy, and distrusted. The long-term effects of child neglect here may include such psychological repercussions as academic difficulties, low self-esteem, depression, and trouble establishing and maintaining relationships.

Mental Health Disorders

Children who've experienced maltreatment have a higher risk of developing psychiatric conditions like mood and anxiety disorders, PTSD, antisocial and borderline personality disorders, as well as substance abuse problems.

Hampered Brain Development

Neglect and emotional abuse are particularly harmful to children's brain development. Carrying out various tasks (e.g., self-control, stress reactions) can be impacted by these changes.

Depression and Low Self-esteem

Children who feel that no one understands them are likelier to experience depression, poor self-confidence, and diminished self-worth. These children feel rejected and unloved. They struggle to maintain their composure and carry on as usual. Neglecting children can have disastrous effects, including despair, low self-esteem, running away from home, substance abuse, and various other emotional issues.

Attention-seeking Behaviors

As you can see, there are numerous long-term effects of child neglect. Another one is that when neglected as a child, your brain becomes wired to seek attention. Unfortunately, the old adage, "any attention is good attention" oftentimes occurs here. Since these children were neglected, they grow into adults who seek any type of nurturing and safety since they didn't receive these things as children. Therefore, they're more likely to be abused by their intimate partner.


It's vital for us to not only acknowledge the seriousness of child abuse but also take steps to stop it. By increasing awareness, we can help prevent the long-term effects of child neglect, which include domestic violence. At Healing Family Trauma Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I'm dedicated to addressing the issue of child abuse and its lasting impact on individuals. While this work makes a significant difference in the lives of those affected by child abuse, it can't be done without support from people like yourself. By working together, we can create a future where every child grows up in a loving and safe environment and nobody is trapped in the vicious cycle of domestic violence.

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