THE IMPACT Of CHILD
NEGLECT ON DEVELOPMENT
isolated, alone, undefended,
a sense that one's needs will not be met, "no
no trust, not entitled,
don't deserve anything,
learned helplessness, despair,
can't manage one's
lack of self-management,
no sense of appropriate feelings for situations,
no sense of what's right or wrong emotionally,
difficulties with identity,
you don't get a sense of yourself and who you
It doesn't matter what you do -- it changes nothing.
Boundaries or lack of boundaries
are a big issue,
craving for attention or difficulty in seeking
out normal attention,
numbness or flat emotions,
being developmentally delayed,
behavioural problems in school,
suicidal feelings, self-abuse, depression,
may not know boundaries,
have difficulty sensing right and wrong,
drug and alcohol abuse,
can't relate to others,
lack of social skills, eating problems,
constantly having accidents,
problems with physical health and illnesses,
lack of connection,
wanting to be invisible,
feeling you have no impact in the world or negative
attention seeking behaviour.
Trying to get what you couldn't get -- shoplifting,
shopaholics, gambling, drugs, alcohol.
When children are neglected,
they grow up feeling isolated, alone and unprotected.
They believe they arent worthy of anything.
Self-confidence is missing along with the knowledge
that I exist and I can do something because I exist.
A neglected kid might wonder if he/she exists at
A childs health is at
risk when their physical needs go unnoticed, untreated
Children who don't experience
positive relationships will not grow up able to
perform for themselves.
A child who is not encouraged
or helped to learn will have trouble learning. Children
who arent cared for dont know how to
care for themselves or others. A child whose abilities
go unrecognized wont be able to apply them
Child neglect affects physical,
emotional and cognitive development.
There are actually deep feelings
of pain due to lack of nurturing.
Neglect leaves no visible physical
scars but can be emotionally devastating, leading
to feelings of abandonment, confusion, low self
esteem and delayed emotional development. If left
alone the cycle can continue and be passed on to
the next generation.
Whatever needs are neglected
in children we as a society will deal with later.
Let's do it right the first time.
Together survived in suffering.
Rules, judgement, inadequacy;
Separated at birth,
Sister I have no more.
Not believed, Alone.
Made to take away
Given a choice,
Freedom in telling,
Anger to those
That leave Me.
Abuse, Neglect, Abandonment
Feel my sadness, Hear my rage
A life of pain
With one caring hand
the healing has begun
For me with the telling
For you with the listening
The truth shall set us free
Share my gladness
THE POWER OF TOUCH
I wanted your touch
You touched me and I cried
I needed your touch
You touched me and I died
I longed for your touch
Your touch was denied
I wanted your loving touch
You gave me a stare
I tried to earn your loving touch
You gave me a dare
I believed I had your loving touch
Your loving touch was to beware
I hated your touch
You controlled me with touch
I denied your touch
You could do so much
I avoided your touch
You forced me to do such
I feared your touch,
You offered acceptance
I evaded your touch
You provided a chance
I felt your touch
You gave me confidence
Began in April 1997
But not finished until
the completion of
"The Power of Touch"
TELLING MY FATHER
You needed a golden-haired princess
A child with no needs
A virgin, pure and white.
I kept my secrets as much for you as for me;
I tried to be what you needed
and hoped so hard
that you would be what I needed.
You betrayed me, Daddy
You made yourself my whole world,
my only hope,
Then refused to rescue me.
You trapped me and overwhelmed me
in your needs so that I would lose sight of my own.
The Self remembers, Daddy,
After years of abuse and torture, it was you who pushed
over the edge.
Your rejection, your neglect, your irresponsibility
Everything I am today, I am because
Everything I could have been, I lost because of you.
Discussion - The Impact
of Child Neglect on Development
Children who are neglected
will grow up feeling isolated, alone and undefended,
with no self-esteem. They will have a sense that
their needs will not be met, that there is no
one there for them, and that they are not entitled
to care. They will experience despair. Suicidal
feelings, self-abuse and depression are not uncommon.
They may lack a sense of self: the knowledge that
they exist and can do things because they exist.
The health of a neglected child
is at risk. Their physical needs go unnoticed,
untreated or ignored. They experience learned
helplessness. It doesnt matter what
you do, it changes nothing. Their cognitive
development is at risk. Accidents may be a pattern
with some children, who constantly have accidents
or develop other attention-seeking behaviour,
much of which is negative. They may experience
poor physical health: illnesses, headaches and
a range of physical ailments.
Often children and adults who have
been neglected will not be able to manage their
emotions, and will experience a lack of self-management
and social skills. They will not know the appropriate
feelings for appropriate situations. They will
have no sense of whats right or wrong emotionally,
due to a lack of models. They may not be able
to relate to others.
Neglected children and adults may
be behind developmentally, partly due to physical
neglect such as lack of nutrition or eating problems.
They may hoard food. They may feel pain due to
a lack of nurturing, or feel a sense of rage.
As children, they may receive material things
instead of affection. Society teaches us to take
care of things first, not people.
Many victims of child neglect become
trapped in a developmental loop, trying to get
what they couldnt get as children. They
may shoplift or develop different types of addiction,
to shopping, gambling, drugs or alcohol. They
will look for stimuli that fill the gaps and meet
If the key people
ignore you, you dont deserve it. Being a
child, playing and laughter are missed. A neglected
child leaps ahead before experiencing parts of
childhood. If you dont get a sense of yourself
and who you might be, you will have a difficulty
with your own sense of identity. If a child feels
invisible, they will feel that they have no impact
on the world.
ON THE IMPACT OF CHILD NEGLECT ON DEVELOPMENT:
Leach, Penelope. Children First:
What Our Society Must Do - and is Not Doing for
Our Children Today. New York: Knopf, 1994.
Swift, Karen J. Manufacturing Bad
Mothers: A Critical Perspective on Child Neglect.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995.
Winnicott, D.W., Clare Winnicott,
Ray Shepherd and Madelaine Davis. Deprivation and
Delinquency. London: New York: Tavistock Publications:
New York: Tavistock Publications in association
with Methuen, 1984.
All of our precious
children deserve to
feel safe and loved.
Cyesha, age 10
I think it is bad
Kyle, age 11
This hand shall forever
know the pains and
woes that sorrow sows.
F red, age 17
Now I'm left with all
the scars that will
Build more group
Love on another.
Heather, age 17