Indifferent Parenting Style and Child Outcomes

Neglectful parenting is characterized by low responsiveness as well as low demandingness (Pellerin, 2005). The neglectful parent does not monitor child activity nor behavior, this child is largely on their own to fend for themselves. Parental expectations are considerably low as are parental expressions of warmth. Discipline is marked by inconsistency with punishments ranging from no action to extreme action.

1 Academic achievement and school involvement
2 Social development
3 References

Academic Achievement and School Involvement neglectful.jpg

This group has the highest rates of poverty, depression, school dropout, unemployment, and incarceration and they are largely disconnected or disengaged from the mainstream of society (Shumow et. al., 1998). Academic achievement for them is virtually nonexistent, showing lower test scores than all other styles. One reason associated with low academic performance in this group is that neglect can lead to deficits in IQ (Sullivan, Carmody, & Lewis, 2010). Neglectful parents tend to be neglectful in every aspect of parenting including prenatal and postnatal infant nutrition. Infant malnutrition has been linked to poor cognitive development, which is associated with lower IQ test scores, which have a direct effect on academic achievement. Additionally, children of neglectful parents tend to have minimal school involvement and exhibit very low social confidence, which is frequently linked to deviant behavior (Pellerin, 2005). Conversely, research indicates that children of neglectful parenting can benefit greatly from an authoritative school climate. This type of school climate is believed to somewhat make up for deficiencies in parenting at home. Because expectations and punishments are consistent and reasonable students in authoritative school climates respond in a more positive fashion more frequently as compared to other parenting styles (Pellerin, 2005).

Social Development

An important fact to note is that children of neglectful parents tend to rank low in terms of cognitive and emotional empathy development which is considered to be of significant importance with regard to positive social development (Schaffer, Clark, & Jeglic 2009). Empathy development involves understanding one's own emotions or feelings and/or the emotions and feelings of others. The neglectful/indifferent parenting style is the style that is most commonly associated with the development of antisocial behavior and depression in adolescences and is believed to extend into adulthood. These children generally have low self-esteem but frequently assign themselves a high level of self-enhancing attributes as compared to children from other parenting styles (Aunola et. al., 2000). One reason given for this is that neglectful parents may see these attributes as being negative thereby making attribute assignment a "slap in the face" so to speak (i.e. determination may be viewed as obstinacy). Neglectful parents are non-supportive of their children and are eager to point out their weaknesses. Research suggests that parents who engage in conversation with their children concerning moral standards will transfer their ideologies to their children, fostering prosocial behavior (Carlo, 2007). Conversely, parents who disengage in conversation regarding moral standards will also transfer their ideologies but will foster negative social behavior. Neglected children typically behave in one of two ways: either by disengaging or by acting out to be heard, neither behavior providing an adequate outcome. Without the proper support system these children are likely to continue the cycle of neglect, as adults, with their own children.


Aunola, K., Stattin, H., & Nurmi, J.E., (2000). Parenting styles and adolescents' achievement strategies. Journal of Adolescents, 23, 205-222.
Carlo, G., McGinley, M., Hayes, R., Batenhorst, C., Wilkinson, J. (2007). Parenting style or practices? Parenting, sympathy, and prosocial behaviors among adolescents. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 168, 147-176.
Pellerin, L.A. (2005). Applying Baumrind's parenting typology to high schools: toward a middle-range theory of authoritative socialization. Social Science Research, 34, 283-303.
Schaffer, M., Clark, S., & Jeglic, E., (2009). The role of empathy and parenting Style in the Development of Antisocial Behaviors. Crime and Delinquency, 55, 586-599.
Shumow, L., Vandell, D.L., & Posner, J.K., (1998). Harsh, Firm, and Permissive Parenting in Low-Income Families. Journal of Family Issues, 19, 483-507.
Sullivan, M., Carmody, D.P., & Lewis, M., (2010). How neglect and punitiveness influence emotion knowledge. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 41, 285-298.