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Childhood Emotional Neglect Is On The Rise, But Parents Can Stop It

While there’s no doubt that parents do everything they can to be with their children – in a physical sense – there’s a new report that suggests childhood emotional neglect is actually on the rise. Sure, many moms and dads do a great job of making sure that they meet all of their child’s needs by providing them with love, food, support and shelter. And while we spend a good amount of time taking our kids to the playground and birthday parties, little do parents know that more and more kids are actually being emotionally neglected on a daily basis.

According to Psych Central, the more parents allow their children to use electronics, tablets, and handheld devices at an early age, the more of a chance that they might develop Childhood Emotional Neglect or CEN. Sure, many busy moms and dads might think it’s OK to allow their child to play on their favorite apps for an hour or two while they get things done around the house, but this little habit might also cause a significant problem that children will carry with them well into adulthood.

More often than not, parents allow young children to use electronics as a helpful tool to remedy tiredness or more often than not, boredom. But here’s where it becomes a problem: many parents use screen time as a safety net or a fallback solution when their child’s emotions get out of hand. In other words, they use it as a distractor whenever their child gets upset, angry, hurt, sad or frustrated.

child on tablet
Credit: iStock / jandrielombard

That’s why parents are being encouraged to do one of at least several things. First off, keep in mind that while electronics can be used as a great way to introduce your child to the world of technology, it shouldn’t be used as a distraction of worse, a tool to calm a child down.

Also, limit your child’s usage as much as possible. If you decide to give your child his or her own device, communicate what your expectations are and how it should be used in moderation. And again, never hand your child a device during an outburst or an emotional meltdown.

The best way to avoid childhood emotional neglect is talk about their feelings, teach them how to name them, and better yet, teach them to share their feelings in a healthy way.

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