Child Negligence

The cold iron of neglect  is sharper to a child’s sensitive nature than any alteration of harshness and affection.

Annie Edwards

The reports of Child Negligency in South Africa seems to increase daily. One of the factors which contributed in the rise of parents neglecting their children especially during the pandemic was financial constraints.
The high rate of unemployment in South Africa mainly caused parents, particularly mothers to neglect their children.

Child negligence is the most common form of abuse. This is a form of abuse which affects the child mental and physical health due to lack of good nutrition and clothing, shelter and health care.

As I was researching, I found that child negligency comes in different forms. We may all think that the only way parents negects their children is when they roam around the streets hungry or dirty, medically ill and without proper clothing.

But I found that it comes in different forms. Let’s take a look at some form of neglects :

  • Emotional neglect: When a child does not get proper love, affection and emotional support from parents. He/she gets exposed to domestic violence, gangsterism ( high rate of gangsterism in SA) and substance abuse.
  • Physical neglect: Failing to provide a child good shelter, clothing and food. This is a sad one because we see them on the streets begging for food and others sleeping under the bridge with no shelter.
  • Educational neglect : Whilst education in South Africa is for free, there are parents who neglects their children’s education. If ever a child is in school, he/she repeatedly skips school or slumbers in class.
  • Inadequate supervision: Leaving minor children on their own to take care of themselves.
  • Medical neglect: Failure to provide assessment or medical care for the child who’s ill or disabled.
  • Environmental neglect : A child is found to be living among harmful filthy conditions.

In our communities, there are a number of children whom for long period of time have proven to be neglected by their parents. Alice Miller once said, “All children are born to grow, to develop, to live, to love, and to articulate their needs and feelings for their self-protection”. Unfortunately some of the children lives with their parents but the parents seem not to care enough.

These are the possible signs you could spot from a neglected child :

  • Absentees from school or sleeping in class
  • Substance abuse of alcohol and drugs
  • Gangsterism – the child joins gangs for protection and security
  • Lacks medical attention – constant flues and headaches
  • Lacks proper clothing especially in cold weather
  • Domestic violent and crime

Besides signs of a neglected child, there are effects which will affect the child either temporal or permanent.
This can include :

  • Anger issues and resentment
  • Lack of compassion and love
  • Difficulty in maintaining relationships
  • Brain damages
  • Mental health issues like anxiety and depression

“Like stars are to the sky, so are the children to our world. They deserve to shine”, Chinonye J. Chidolue.
It is very sad to witness a neglected child in a country where food, shelter and education from government are for free. Every child gets national grant as well.
Children are a gift from God. If you are a parent and you realize that you cannot give the child basic needs due to financial constraints, no man is an island – give a child for adoption. There are many families with no children and they would be happy to take the child and raise him/ her as their own. Reach out to people who will help you with adoption processes. It’s not an easy process but doable. NB : Child Neglegency is Child Abuse.

Is child negligence, child abuse?What other types of negligence do you know? How would you help a child who’s neglected? Should there be legal action for every parent who neglects his or her child?

Let me hear on the comments section.

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