Different parents have different parenting styles. The parenting style that your friend follows may not work for you and vice versa. Some people have decided to become a parent without thinking about the kind of parenting style to implement.
Three types of parenting styles were identified in the 1960s: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. In 1983, another parenting style was added to the framework. Maccoby and Martin named it the uninvolved or neglectful parenting style.
The uninvolved parenting style is characterized by the absence of responsiveness of parents to the needs of their children. At a glance, the parents who practice uninvolved parenting have limited or insignificant emotional attachment with their children. Although they never fail to provide basic needs like food and shelter for their children, these parents remain uninvolved in most parts of their children’s lives. However, the exact degree of involvement of the different parents may vary.
Some parents that practice uninvolved parenting may be relatively lax when it comes to imposing rules but may still enforce curfews and other restrictions. Some parents are downright neglectful or ignore their children. The children get the bare minimum to survive, yet don’t get any form of affection or guidance from their parents. The children are practically the ones who raise themselves since their parents don’t want to be a part of their lives.
What Is Uninvolved Parenting?
Uninvolved parenting or neglectful parenting often carries more negative implications and many may find it offensive. It is not surprising to have such a response since it is a style of parenting wherein parents only give the basic things that their children will need to survive. Most parents who follow an uninvolved parenting style don’t even spare a drop of affection to their children. It is enough for them to provide their children with shelter, clothing, and food to survive.
Children who grow up under this type of parenting style only get minuscule guidance, nurturing, and discipline. Oftentimes, the children don’t have a choice but to grow up on their own and decide for themselves. The children are practically the ones who raise themselves since their parents don’t want to be a part of their lives.
Uninvolved parenting style is quite controversial. Parents who practice it are often criticized. However, this type of parenting style is not always planned or deliberate.
The parents who chose to raise their children using an uninvolved parenting style have varied reasons. Don’t be quick to judge the uninvolved parents until you know the real reason behind the choice.
Characteristics and Signs of Uninvolved Parenting
To provide their children a comfortable life, many parents need to work hard and even do some part-time jobs aside from their main source of income. It is the only way they know how to improve their earnings. As a result, they are often tired, overworked, and frazzled. When things get out of control, it is easy to neglect your child in exchange for a few minutes of solitude and relaxation.
You may feel guilty later on and may even think that you are starting to follow the uninvolved parenting style. A momentary preoccupation with yourself to the point of ignoring your parental duties to your child is not one of the characteristics of neglectful parenting. There should be a continuing pattern of lack of responsiveness and emotional distance between you and your child to classify it as uninvolved parenting. A momentary occurrence of neglect does not make you an uninvolved parent in an instant.
Take a look at the following signs of uninvolved parenting.
- Parents only focus on their desires and problems.
Uninvolved parents don’t have time to care for their children and are always engrossed with their own affairs. They lack responsiveness. They prefer to ignore their children. They don’t want to bother to make time for their children.
Their children always receive the least priority. Take note that choosing to socialize outside once a week or twice a month over spending a movie night at home with the family cannot be considered neglectful parenting.
Sometimes, there are certain work-related issues or other problems that parents need to resolve first. It is inevitable to leave your children for a while to take care of the problem and ensure that they will continue to live in comfort.
- Parents don’t show or do not have an emotional attachment to their children.
Many parents often display a strong emotional connection between themselves and their children, but it is different with uninvolved parenting. The bond between parent and child under neglectful parenting is not instinctive. The bond is practically non-existent. If ever they extend some affection, it is very limited. The parent and child don’t feel any connection at all. They may be living under one roof, but they don’t see eye to eye.
- Parents don’t particularly care or show interest in the activities of their children.
Since there’s no affection, they are not interested to know how their children are doing in school, the events that they need to attend, or the activities that their children are fond of doing. They may choose to intentionally skip the family events or ignore PTA meetings.
- Parents do not have expectations or set rules on how their children should behave.
Uninvolved parents don’t bother to know and implement discipline at home to keep their children in check. They may only act like proper parents once they find the behavior of their children intolerable. They will do nothing to correct the ways of a misbehaving child unless it affects them. They don’t get upset even when their children are doing poorly in school. They let the children act according to how they want to behave even though such behavior may affect the way they interact with other people in the future.
- Neglectful parents may inflict physical abuse on their children.
Instead of showering their children love and affection, neglectful parents would often abuse their children physically. Some cases of physical abuse could lead to the death of a child.
Causes of Uninvolved Parenting
Uninvolved parenting style is not always a matter of choice. Children who have neglectful parents tend to follow the same parenting style. Take a look at the following causes of uninvolved parenting.
- Neglectful parents often experienced the same parenting style as their parents.
The children with neglectful parents may have thought that all parents usually behave that way, and they are being raised properly. They may have always believed that all parents are the same as their neglectful parents. When they start going to school, they may notice that most parents of their classmates are nothing like their neglectful parents.
- Dysfunctional families often breed neglectful parents.
Individuals who have dysfunctional families when they were young are likely to have the same kind of family once they become parents. Even though they may come to learn that a dysfunctional family does not provide a good environment for their children to grow, they don’t know how to mend their ways.
- The uninvolved parents may have mental and other issues that they are currently dealing with and affecting their relationship with their children.
The uninvolved parents may be dealing with mental issues, such as depression, and alcoholism that made them neglect their children.
- The neglectful parent may be involved with or have a family history of substance abuse.
Involvement in substance abuse is also one of the reasons that some families follow an uninvolved parenting style. The parents that abuse illegal substance cannot function well and fail to make sound decisions.
In 2016, Psychology Today reported the findings of the Harvard Medical School researchers. They announced that children with parents that distribute, produce, or use drugs have higher risks of acquiring behavioral and medical problems.
The researchers found out that one in five children in America shares a home with a drug addict parent. They are more likely to abuse an illegal substance in their adult years. These children are four times more likely to have neglectful parents.
Such parents are likely to choose mates that have the same issues as them and turn into neglectful parents. In the end, these parents can only let their children depend on each other to fend for themselves.
- Other parents who demonstrate the uninvolved parenting style may be struggling to balance their busy lives and child-rearing.
Other parents who are caught between their busy lives and taking care of their children find it more convenient to follow a hands-off approach in raising their children. They may have the intention of making more money to support their children, but they would rather spend their free time socializing with their peers and meeting others who could introduce them to more money-making opportunities.
Pros and Cons of Uninvolved Parenting
After learning the things about uninvolved parenting style, many loving parents may find it surprising to find out that there are some advantages to having neglectful parents. Here are the pros and cons of the uninvolved parenting style.
- The children of neglectful parents learn how to be self-reliant and independent at a very young age.
- The children mature faster than other kids their age and learn how to make sound decisions to survive.
- They treat praises and recognition as something they need to get through hard work and will try to do everything in their power to acquire it.
- Without a proper adult guiding them, the children may become confused and lost.
- The uninvolved parenting style can be traumatic to most children and affect them psychologically.
- The children may grow up with health and mental issues.
When the children turn into adults and begin to form relationships, platonic or romantic, their views and behaviors may be influenced by those around them. Hopefully, they find people who will bring a positive influence on them.
Effects of Uninvolved Parenting on Children
Every loving parent will stir away from the uninvolved parenting style because they know that such a way of raising children can affect the entire being of the child. Take a look at the following effects of uninvolved parenting.
- Children of neglectful parents lack sensitivity and warmth, which the children need for their healthy psychological development.
- Most children do not know how to establish proper communication or to relay what they want or need.
- The neglect and emotional abuse could affect the mental health of the children and may likely increase the likelihood of having personality disorders.
- Due to a lack of proper adult supervision and guidance, the children are more likely to fall victims to substance abuse.
- They may feel lonely and alone when tackling things that they should face together with their parents; the loneliness may turn into a deep depression when not addressed properly and quickly.
- A child who does not know how to take care of himself alone will have increased anxiety and stress levels.
- The chances of children turning into delinquents are great due to a lack of guidance from parents and failure to make sound judgment in choosing the company of people to befriend.
How to Recover from Uninvolved Parenting
If you are wondering how to recover from uninvolved parenting, there is no one answer that fits everyone. However, there are a few things you can do to help yourself.
First, accept that uninvolved parenting is not your fault. You did not choose this, and it is not your responsibility to fix it. Second, reach out for help. Talk to friends, family, or a therapist about what you are going through.
Finally, focus on your own wellbeing. Make time for yourself each day, even if it is just 10 minutes. Doing something that makes you happy will help improve your mood and outlook on life.
Why Do Some Parents Still Use this Method?
Believe it or not, some parents prefer to use an uninvolved parenting style due to the following reasons:
- They are too busy to care for their children themselves.
Busy parents with so little time to spare to care for their children may choose an uninvolved parenting style to gain more time to spend doing the activities they love.
- It is typical for a stepmother or stepfather not to bother caring for a child that did not come from them and will likely choose an uninvolved parenting style.
A stepmom or stepdad who doesn’t want to get concerned with a stepchild will choose an uninvolved parenting style to avoid meeting the child often.
- People who are not yet ready or hate to become parents but suddenly have no choice but to give birth to a child.
These people usually follow an uninvolved parenting style to stay away from the child as much as they can. For some reason, they conceived a child that they didn’t want to have and were forced to become parents.
- Couples who want to be married but don’t want to have a child.
These people usually don’t have plans to become parents and don’t want to bother knowing how to be one.
The listed reasons are some of the most common grounds for choosing an uninvolved parenting style. Others may have other reasons for adopting the parenting style.
Uninvolved Parenting Vs. Permissive Parenting
Take a look at the comparison between uninvolved parenting and permissive parenting under each category.
Limits or Boundaries
- Uninvolved parents do not set limits or boundaries.
- Permissive parents are not strict when setting limits or boundaries.
- Uninvolved parents don’t impose any parental control.
- Permissive parents don’t always control their children.
- Uninvolved parents do not set any rules for children to obey.
- Permissive parents may set some rules but not strict in implementing them.
Needs of a Child
- Uninvolved parents only provide basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing.
- Permissive parents tend to provide everything that their children want to have as long as it’s within their ability.
- Uninvolved parents usually let their children decide everything for themselves.
- Permissive parents allow their children to decide for themselves most of the time.
Love and Affection
- Uninvolved parents don’t shower their children with the love and affection they need.
- Permissive parents have a little too much love and affection to give their children.
- Uninvolved parents lack responsiveness.
- Permissive parents want to help out their children most of the time but don’t usually discourage bad behavior or poor choices.
- Uninvolved parents are always absent, especially during most critical times.
- Permissive parents are always there to be a friend.
There’s not much difference in the possible development of the personality of each child under permissive and neglectful parenting. However, permissive parents are still better than neglectful ones because they care for their children.
Signs that You Are a Neglectful Parent
It may not be your intention to be a neglectful parent but there is a chance that you are already showing signs of being one. The more worrying part is that you don’t even know it.
You are being a neglectful parent if you have the following signs:
- You and your children don’t share a strong bond.
- You and your children lack emotional attachment.
- Your interaction with your children is limited to knowing if they are still getting their basic needs.
- You don’t impose any rules for your children to follow.
- When talking to your children, you usually use phrases or words with negative connotations.
How to Deal with Uninvolved Parents
There are a number of ways to engage the uninvolved parents in a child’s education. One way is to send home newsletters that keep parents updated on what their children are learning in school.
Another way is to hold parent-teacher conferences, which give parents an opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from teachers. Additionally, schools can invite uninvolved parents to volunteer in the classroom or at school events.
By engaging the uninvolved parents, schools can help them become more involved in their children’s education and benefit from the positive outcomes that come with parental involvement.
While it’s true that an uninvolved parenting style is not always bad, you can’t be certain that your children will grow up fine. To ensure that your children will have healthy mental, emotional, and physical development, you need to follow a better parenting style.