parental neglect

5 Common Ways Parents Neglect Their Kids

I was recently in a local fast-food restaurant and sat directly behind a father and daughter at the table in front of me. I couldn’t help but notice that the only time the father talked to his little girl throughout their entire meal was when she started to reach for something under the table, and he snapped about how she should know better because of how dirty it was under there. Otherwise, he was on his phone or just stuffing his face, totally disconnected from this beautiful little girl right in front of him. Even her attempts to engage with him were unsuccessful. She turned around and looked at me multiple times. You could tell she was begging for someone to pay attention to her. It was a sad case of parental neglect.

Sadly, I’ve seen this same scenario far too many times, and I’m often left asking myself if we’re raising a forgotten generation. Parents, we are falling captive to parental neglect of our kids without even realizing it. Here are 5 common ways that parents (and especially dads) neglect their children. Are you guilty of any of these?

1. Devices

This certainly ranks as one of the most common ways parents are neglecting their kids. They have their eyes glued to a device in their hands rather than their kids right in front of them, to the point that they’re not just faced with the issue of distracted driving but distracted parenting.

Solution: Put the devices down. 

Do we really need one more picture, or do our kids really just need more of us?

2. Distractions

And it’s certainly not only devices that are distracting parents from their kids, but many other sometimes well-meaning things like hobbies, television shows, and the busyness of everyday responsibilities.

Solution: Say no to the distractions.

Prioritize your priorities. Saying no now doesn’t mean you have to say no forever. Just make sure you get things in the right order. Your kids should come first.

3. To-Do Lists

We all have them, whether mentally or on paper. And there’s always a tension between the time we spend getting things done and the time we spend investing into our kids. Yet it’s still an easily justifiable way that we often neglect them.

Solution: Remember that the to-do list will never be the ‘done’ list.

No matter how much you get done, there will always still be more to do tomorrow. So don’t let those tedious things steal from you the most important things.

4. Work

When time at work starts taking over or simply eating into our time at home, it’s usually our kids who take the greatest hit. We come home tired, short-fused, and on empty. And our kids not only get the left-overs of our time but of us.

Solution: Leave work at work.

When it’s time to be home, be present. As best as possible, don’t take work home with you, and when you do have to, wait until those kid-free moments to do it.

5. Pride

Sadly, one of the most common reasons many parents neglect their kids is because they’re too afraid of maintaining their image and of what others will think of them. They’re too busy adulting, and so they don’t get crazy, go all out, or make themselves vulnerable with their kids.

Solution: Forget what others think.

Don’t let petty, prideful excuses rob you of memories with your kids that you’ll one day wish you’d have made.

Dance with your daughter, run through the sprinkler with your son. Don’t let petty, prideful excuses rob you of memories with your kids that you’ll one day wish you’d have made.

They are only young for such a short time. So remember, your children are not an inconvenience, but a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Help Mom with these 7 ideas to strengthen her relationship with your child too!

Sound off: Are there other ways we fall into the trap of parental neglect?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing you’d like to do with me this week?”