Emotional / Psychological Neglect in Michigan: Your Questions Answered

Lonely child
Emotional and psychological neglect are the same thing in Michigan law.

The word ‘neglect’ tends to conjure up images of malnourished children with uncombed hair and ill-fitting clothes, running around unsupervised in the street. It’s an image that certainly tugs at the heartstrings of any loving parent. However, while this type of neglect, which is categorized as physical neglect, is very prevalent, it isn’t the only variety of neglect that children have to deal with. Emotional neglect, also sometimes called psychological neglect, is another type of neglect that is surprisingly common as well.

What is emotional / psychological neglect?

Emotional Neglect refers to a situation where a parent or caregiver fails to provide the basic emotional care, attention, and affection that a child needs to develop proper emotional well-being. This could include:

  • Refusing to touch, hug or cuddle a child.
  • Denying them any type of physical affection
  • Refusing to listen to a child when they want to talk
  • Not showing kindness or tenderness
  • Being “cold” and emotionally unavailable
  • Not acknowledging a child’s feelings and emotions

Is emotional neglect the same thing as emotional abuse?

Emotional neglect is not the same thing as emotional abuse at all. This is because emotional neglect involves omissions, not direct actions that negatively impact a child’s emotional and psychological health. In other words, emotional neglect refers to something that is withheld, or not provided, that a child needs.

How does emotional neglect manifest in children?

Emotionally neglected children are less likely to develop effective coping mechanisms for stress, will probably struggle with intimacy in relationships. According to experts, they are also more likely to suffer from a profound sense of loneliness that will affect them throughout life.

A child who is emotionally neglected tends to struggle with depression, anxiety, neediness, emotional disconnection, low self-esteem, and difficulty coping with stress or anger. They also often have an inability to recognize emotions in other people, and have difficulty sharing their feelings.

Is emotionally neglecting a child illegal in Michigan?

Under Michigan law, emotional neglect is not a crime. However, in situations where the neglect is so severe that the child exhibits significant symptoms and is unable to properly function, there may be repercussions for the parents.

Although the law doesn’t specify emotional child abuse as being illegal, the description of child abuse in Michigan’s penal code includes references to “mental harm.” Serious Mental Harm is referred to as “an injury to a child’s mental condition or welfare…” So if a child is seriously neglected emotionally, and their resulting behavior and symptoms are severe, CPS is likely to get involved.

How do you fight allegations of emotional neglect?

Aggressively, and with experienced attorneys at your side. That’s where we come in. Parents and caregivers in Michigan who are charged with any form of abuse or neglect will be up against a system that claims to be pro-child, but is primarily anti-parent. In order to fight this battle with any hope of success, you will need a highly skilled CPS defense attorney on your side.

At The Kronzek Firm, we have years of experience fighting allegations of abuse and neglect. Whether you are battling CPS or facing a police investigation, if you or a loved one have been accused of abusing or neglecting a child, call us immediately at 866 766 5245. We are here to help you