What Is the Uninvolved Parenting Style

The uninvolved parenting style is often called the indifferent parenting style or dismissive parenting. In this parenting style, parents are unresponsive to children. They are also undemanding, making this the exact opposite of active parenting. This type of parenting style borders on neglectful parenting. When it's taken too far, it is neglect.

Emotional Involvement
An uninvolved parent may show no emotion to a child, or dismiss the child's emotions. Dismissing emotions may include ignoring the emotions or telling the child to get over it. Some argue that this method of parenting children keeps kids from becoming too emotional and from letting their emotions get the better of them. In small doses, this may be true. If the situation progresses to the point where the parent is ignoring the child, the child will have difficulty dealing with her emotions and may have trouble making friends or succeeding at school.

When a parent is undemanding and doesn't set behavioral boundaries, the child may feel that the parent does not care. This causes severe emotional damage, irrational behavior, unsocial attitudes and poor grades. Children should be given some leeway to make mistakes and learn from them, but good parents know when to draw the line and stop a child's risky or inappropriate behavior.

Physical Involvement
When a parent does not become physically involved in what a child is doing, the child suffers. Physical involvement spans a plethora of actions:

  • Simply being there when the child is feeling anger, guilt, fright, love or any other emotion
  • Teaching the child, even before school starts
  • Helping the child with homework
  • Assigning chores so the child learns how to care for himself
  • Punishing the child for breaking rules or acting inappropriately

Without input from the parent, the child will never learn which behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate. The child may display inappropriate behavior, such as torturing animals, teasing other children, bullying or fighting.

Signs of an Uninvolved Parenting Style

  • The child's wants and needs come second to the parent's wants and needs, getting in the way of a loving relationship between the parent and the child
  • The parent does not teach or otherwise encourage the child to have good manners, to learn to help herself or to have socially acceptable behavior
  • The parent does not allow the child to have friends or interact with other family members
  • The parent uses drugs or alcohol and often leaves the child unsupervised

When it comes to child development, taking an active role in parenting is in the best interests of the child. That doesn't mean responding to every whim your child has or supporting your child's every emotion without question. There are times when a little distance between you and your child can be a good thing; too much distance leaves the child on his own and sets him up for problems in life.

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