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How parental absenteeism and ignorance may impact your child?

Parental absenteeism refers to the absence of a parental figure in a child’s life. Reasons for such absences are commonly divorce, death of a parent, out of wedlock birth, child fostering and migration.

In early childhood (especially in infant care), parental care is one of the factors that develops thecognitive and non-cognitive abilities of a child.

What is infant care?

It refers to social welfare services that support nursery facilities and fostering from home. Infants are being taken care and nurtured in a safe and healthy environment. They have lessons that develop their physical and psychological aspects.

What are cognitive abilities?

Cognitive skills are progressive improvement of learning skills. Those are referred to as attention, memory and thinking.

Children are able to process sensory information around their surroundings, and later, learning how to evaluate, analyse, memorize, compare and understanding the cause and effect.

Certain cognitive skills are related to a child’s genetic makeup, but most of the cognitive abilities can be taught and practice with the right activities.


Learning to pay attention helps children to concentrate on one task or conversation. It is important, as paying attention is involved in the development of their future learning.

Children who are 5 years old and younger commonly have attention span that last about 15 minutes.

To develop this ability, parents and teachers are to point out things that are uncommon or of importance. Children are then encouraged to talk and discuss with them or in their playgroup.

Specific questions can be asked to prompt complex thinking, to improve their ability in describing their thoughts and to pay more attention to things around their environment.


Memory helps children to remember the knowledge they learnt and experienced. Those knowledges create a foundation for children to build on in their future learning.

Children who are 5 years old and younger commonly have difficulties in short and long term memorization.

Songs or music that are memorable, rhymes, interesting sentences and sayings can help to improve their memory retention when the children are dealing with lots of information.

Such activities help children to organize their thoughts and remember what they learnt easily.


Having capabilities in reasoning out tasks and finding solutions to problems are part of thinking. Children will be able to determine if they have accomplished their task, or if they require help.

Reading stories is one of the common methods to encourage children to think. Children are able to determine if they understand the story or if they need to repeat in order to gain more information to understand better.

Pictures can be use for children to study and understand the underlying meaning. Without words, children will be taught to read non-verbal cues, to observe the actions done and improve their complex thinking.

What are non-cognitive abilities?

Non-cognitive abilities are personality traits, goals, characters, motivations, and preferences. Various behaviours are represented by non-cognitive abilities, which are related to cognitive measures. For example, intelligence or general cognitive ability.

Persistence, motivation, temperament, attention, communication, confidence and self-esteem have been characterized as non-cognitive abilities.

Importance of parental care in early childhood

Research has shown that parental absenteeism will negatively impact a child’s development in health, behaviours, and school performance.

In a longitudinal study, children are found to have lower educational chance when their mother is absent from their life.

Data suggested that children are prone to develop emotional and behavioural problems from the lack of parental care.

Depression among children are found to be higher from the absence of parents.

However, certain research suggest that effects from parental absenteeism are not always negative. It depends on the characteristics of the child and 9their family members.

Consequences of parental absenteeism in early childhood

Children and infants are found to have delay developments without their mother’s presence.

However, children and infants have lesser risk in their development being delayed when their mother is present, despite being taken care by others.

Absences of the father does not impact the child or infant’s development.

A study have shown that parental absenteeism negatively impact their child’s academic achievement, development of non-cognitive abilities, self-assessment on behaviours and satisfaction in life.

Female children are found to be more affected by parental absenteeism compared to the males.

Parental ignorance is known as uninvolved or neglectful parenting. Parent are not responsive to the child’s needs, while making little to no demands to their children. Commonly appear to hardly any emotional involvement with their child.

Parents who are uninvolved may provide food and shelter, or even bare minimum. Certain parents may have limitations, such as curfews.

Characteristics of uninvolved parenting

Parents in this category hardly respond to their children’s needs. They commonly are not affectionate and supportive to their child. Rules and guidances are often not offered, as well as parental love.

Common behaviours of uninvolved parents

A certain set of behaviours are typically observed from parents who are uninvolved in their child’s life. Such as:

  1. Emotionally distant from their child.

  2. Hardly any interactions with their children due to the problems and issues faced by parents.

  3. Hardly or no child supervision.

  4. Little to none on expectations or demands from their children.

  5. Offering little to no warmth, love and affection to their children.

  6. Does not get involve in their child’s academic events.


Free-range parenting is not similar to uninvolved parenting. One distinction between the two are:

Uninvolved parenting – No interest in their children’s life.

Free-range parenting – Express love to their children, attentive to their needs, but provide plenty of freedom for their children to experience consequences of their actions.

Parents who are busy with work are not considered as uninvolved parents. Despite working for long hours and not being present, parents are not uninvolved if they interact with their children on their free time and take care of them.

Causes of uninvolved parenting

Sometimes, uninvolved parenting might be accidental. Various reason may contribute, such as parental experience and stress.

Certain parents used to have their parents being dismissive and uninvolved with them. Where the behaviours are repeated when they find themselves being a parent.

Other times, parents deploy this type of parenting in order to deal with their busy lives. Being hands-off with their children and making their life easier.

However, there are those who struggle with their problems. It starts to deteriorate their relations and involvements with the children, or they are unable to provide support to them. Such examples are being overworked, dealing with depression and substance abuse.

Effects of uninvolved parenting

Children’s social skills and academic performances will be affected with parenting styles. For those who are uninvolved, children typically have poor quality of life. Such as poor cognition abilities, deficits in attachment, emotional skills and social skills.

Children will have difficulties forming relationships with others and not knowing appropriate social behaviours, resulting in misbehaviour.

Examples of other outcomes from uninvolved parenting:

  1. Suffer anxiety, stress, or depression from the lack of family support.

  2. Emotionally withdrawn.

  3. Fear dependence on others.

  4. Higher risk of substance abusing.

  5. Learning how to provide for themselves.

  6. Acting more delinquent during their adolescent period.

How to manage, deal and respond to uninvolved parenting

Uninvolved parenting may traumatize children, where the effects may continue despite being in adulthood. Some may fear repeating such behaviours when they have a child in the future.

In order to combat the fears and stop the cycle, parents may learn more about parenting, take parenting classes, consider having therapy and making efforts to be involved with their children’s life.

Although things cannot be changed from the past, things can be changed from moving forward to manage, deal and respond to uninvolved parenting.

I hope the information available encourage you to bond, interact and be interested in your child’s life.

What matters most to parents? Our most-read articles:

Genesis Childcare 1989, one of the best Tampines Preschool and a good childcare Tampines, advocates that every child is unique and precious who needs to be loved and cherished. In our Tampines childcare, we have developed a curriculum which provides a bilingual learning experience, helps the children to learn the necessary skills and knowledge needed to help them successfully transit to Primary School with ease.

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Teachers from our childcare Tampines or Playgroup Tampines are trained, qualified, passionate, dedicated, enthusiastic, caring and encouraging who love and empower each child to fulfil their potential to the fullest. Our professional team of preschool teachers has a good understanding of child development and learning principles. We apply them efficiently and set the stage to create a meaningful learning experience that supports your child's discovery.

The children in our preschool Tampines get to learn English, Chinese, Maths, Science, Music and Movement, Arts, Outdoor Play and cookery lessons. Our Preschool Tampines also provides balanced and nutritious meals for the children and helps the children to cultivate healthy eating habits.

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If you are looking for a good Tampines infant care or Tampines preschool or Tampines childcare near Tampines Central, do consider Genesis Childcare 1989.

Located alongside our childcare centre in Tampines is our Nurture Infant House. If you are looking for Tampines infant care or infant care in Tampines, do visit Nurture Infant House. It is for infants aged 2 months to 18 months old. You can learn more about our infant care Tampines here.

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Genesis Childcare 1989 (Playgroup to Kindergarten 2)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-63/65 S(520433)

Nurture Infant House (2 to 18 months Infants)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-61 S(520433)

Opening hours: Monday to Friday (7am to 7pm) & Saturday (7am to 2pm)

Public Bus services: 8 / 21 / 28 / 29 / 293


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