How It’s Always Been: 6 Signs That You’re Being Neglected

Most people are so used to pretending they’re okay in front of everyone, that nobody notices their struggles. But when you’re dealing with six school projects in the morning, and taking care of your baby brother at night; or when you want to go to school but you’re out in the streets looking for a job or for food—nothing is easy. If you’re facing one or more of these situations, then you know how it feels.

1. Your parents cannot provide for your food, water, medicine, and/or shelter because:

a. They are heavily influenced by drugs or alcohol.
b. They have a mental illness like autism or serious emotional problems like anxiety and depression.
c. They have a physical illness or disability such as deafness, blindness, cancer, etc.
d. They just don’t have enough money to support the family.

That’s why you have to help your family in some way, for example by getting a job, because they can’t provide for your basic needs.

2. You can’t go to school or finish schooling because you don’t have enough money.

Your family may be doing all that they can, but you still don’t have enough to pay for school. Whether you want to or you have to study to make a better life, you can’t because you have other more important priorities to take care of, like getting food and shelter.

3. You’re usually bullied and teased for being smelly or dirty.

In school or outside home, other people notice that you don’t take care of yourself well. You often get sick and have a lot of bruises, sores, or wounds. Your hygiene needs a lot of work and so does your body and physical health.

4. Your parents or caretakers threaten or shout at you a lot.

Whatever the reason, shouting and fighting in the house isn’t something new to you—but it bothers you more than they know. 

5. Your parents or caretakers don’t spend time to look after you.

For some reason, your parents or caretakers often have little time for you. You may just be given allowance money and shelter, but you have to deal with everything else on your own. You buy your own food, budget your allowance, go to school and other places by yourself, without your parents knowing or asking you about it. Sometimes, you may even have to go from a friend’s house to another because you have no permanent place to stay in. Although it might make you feel independent, dealing with things on your own and basically fending for yourself is no piece of cake and isn’t as cool as it sounds.

6.Your parents or caretakers say terrible things to put you down.

Sometimes, although not always on purpose, they say things that really hurt your feelings and make you feel bad about yourself. It’s possible that they curse at you; embarrass you by insulting what you say; mock the way you talk; or have unreasonably high expectations pushed on you too far that it makes you feel worthless and unloved. 

Now what?

Even if you’re just having doubts or you’re already sure that you’re being neglected in these ways, it’s a good start to tell someone about it. Asking for help— knowing who to ask, and what to ask, can be hard, but it’s a big step to start fixing things.

Letting someone else know your situation might worry you about what they’re going to think about you afterwards. It’s natural to feel this way, but it’s more important to know that it’s not your fault. More often than not, it could really feel like it is, but you have to know that it’s not. Everyone, especially young people like us, all have the right to be properly taken care of.  

You could start by talking to a trusted friend or adult, or to your school counselor. Try telling them you have something you’d want to talk about in private. It’s not really important how you go about it. Just share to them what’s worrying you, or what’s going on and how you feel about it. 

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about it with someone you know, there are many other services that offer support. 


These websites help young people learn more about neglect and its effects. They also have suggestions on how to deal with neglect and who to ask for help about it.

Making it Through

It’s really important to have someone you can talk to about your feelings and problems. However, it will also help to have ways of coping with neglect when you’re by yourself.

1. Be honest with what you need and do something about it. 

It’s okay to accept that you need support, whether financially or emotionally. Your story may be unique, but other people also have similar problems you’ll be able to relate to. When you accept that you need something, it will be easier to ask for it. If you want to finish schooling, look for scholarships offered by your community or your school. If you need financial support, ask what your school or local government can do to help you. If you need protection, ask help from a trusted friend, most preferably an adult or counselor, as soon as you can. 

2. Try dealing with neglect by learning more about your parents or caretakers.

Usually, parents or caretakers who neglect their child were also neglected when they were younger. It’s not really that they’re taking revenge for their painful childhood, they might also just be struggling to give love and care because they did not experience it themselves. Understanding this can help divert negative feelings to compassion. Despite this though, your needs should still be met. Understand them so you won’t get buried by stress, but make sure you find someone to help you provide for your needs. 

3. Be honest with your feelings, but not completely shattered by them. 

Slowly, learn to know if you’re feeling something positive or negative. It’s okay too if you can’t describe how you feel. Just knowing and accepting that you do feel something, whatever it is, will help release those bottled-up emotions. Again, telling someone about it can help, just to release that steam from your boiling kettle. 

Whatever it is you’re facing right now, it isn’t something you have to deal with alone. I personally believe that it’s amazing how you’ve made it, how you’re so strong. But just because you’ve managed so far, doesn’t mean you have to keep on going the way you do. Sometimes, asking for help is the best way to finally start changing how things have always been. Your personal problems are not something to be ashamed for. They are serious problems that have to be dealt with responsibly and as soon as possible, because you deserve to be taken care of.