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What is Physical Neglect?

sad girl affected by physical neglect

Have you ever wondered did my parents neglect me physcally? In this blog post, we're talking about different ways children or you in your childhood might have experienced physical neglect. We'll look at things like not medical neglect, adequate housing and nutrition neglect, and clothing neglect. By identifying and discussing different types of physical neglect, we raise awareness about the diverse ways individuals may experience neglect, hopefully inspiring to understand more what is needed. Moreover, this awareness-building process hopefully empower you to make a difference.  Everyone deserves not only to be seen and heard but also to receive the care and attention necessary for a healthy and fulfilling life. I am international psychologist in Netherlands and I am excited to introduce you with this topic! Let's begin!

Medical neglect


doctor medical neglect
  • Occurs when caregivers fail to provide necessary medical care for a child's health conditions. This could be subdivided to refusal of vaccinations, neglecting routine check-ups, or failing to address chronic health conditions.

  • Neglecting Mental Health Care: Involves disregarding a child's mental health needs, such as ignoring signs of emotional distress, anxiety, or depression, and not seeking appropriate professional help.

  • Non-compliance with Treatment Plans: Occurs when caregivers do not adhere to recommended treatment plans, medication use or follow-up appointments.

  • Ignoring Signs of Developmental Issues: Neglecting to address signs of developmental delays or concerns, such as speech or motor skill delays, hindering early intervention and support.

  • Lack of Health Education: When caregivers do not provide essential health education to a child, such as teaching hygiene practices, fostering a healthy lifestyle, and promoting general health awareness.



Nutritional neglect


food preventing nutritional neglect

  • Poor Diet: offering a diet that lacks calories, fluids and essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins,

  • Failure to Address Dietary Restrictions or Special Needs: neglecting to accommodate dietary restrictions, allergies, or specific nutritional needs

  • Failure to Address Eating Disorders: ignoring or neglecting individuals with eating disorders, which can have severe consequences on their physical and mental health.


Shelter neglect


houses shelter neglect

  • Inadequate Housing Conditions: This involves living in accomadation that do not meet basic standards of safety, cleanliness, and habitability. Examples include overcrowded living spaces, living in high-crime neighborhood, lack of heating or ventilation, and exposure to environmental hazards.

  • Unsafe or Unstable Housing: People living in homes that are structurally unsound or at risk of collapse. This could include inadequate foundations, deteriorating structures, or homes located in areas prone to natural disasters.


Clothing neglect


clothes clothing neglect

  • Unhygienic Clothing: Wearing dirty or unwashed clothes

  • Lack of Seasonal Clothing or clothing for activities: Not having access to clothing suitable for different seasons can be a form of neglect. Wearing clothing that is unsuitable for specific activities, such as inadequate sports attire.

  • Wearing Tattered or Damaged Clothing: Clothing that is torn, worn out, or in disrepair may not provide adequate protection or coverage, leading to exposure to the elements or physical harm.


Collectively, these forms of neglect reveal the diverse ways children may face challenges that impact their physical and mental health. Unfortunately, not alll families have possibilities to prevent physical neglect and ensure adequate conditions. By recognizing and understanding shelter, food, medical, and clothing neglect, I strive to foster awareness, empathy, and proactive intervention. Everyone deserves to live a life marked by safety, nourishment, healthcare, and dignity. In the upcoming blog post, I will delve into yet another critical aspect – types of emotional neglect, further expanding our understanding of the complexities of childhood maltreatment.


If you or someone you know is navigating the dealing with the consequences of childhood physical neglect, I am here to support you, as a psychologist, I provide therapy online and in person in Veldhoven, Netherlands for those experiencing various types of traumas. Let's continue this important conversation together!


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