6 Characteristics of uninvolved parenting with examples

uninvolved parenting

Based on tedious research sessions covering a wide range of parenting subjects, renowned child psychologist Diana Baumrind developed three types of parenting. Fellow psychologists Maccoby and Martin suggested adding a fourth parenting style in a later stage of the study. The four types of parenting styles concluded were authoritative parenting, authoritarian parenting, permissive parenting, and uninvolved parenting.

Each family has its unique relationship between a child and their parents: child-rearing and nurturing impact their behaviour, reactions, thoughts, and personality development.

Parents may often think that children must be provided for. But as research shows, it is not “what” you do for your children, but “how” you do it that impacts the child’s development. In a rush of life, it is quite possible to develop an uninvolved parenting style.

A better understanding of your parenting style can be gained by doing a comparative study of different parenting styles, which helps you assert the right parenting technique for your offspring.

What is Uninvolved Parenting?

Uninvolved parenting or Neglectful Parenting method is characterized by little to no attention to the child’s needs and requirements.

Parents who resort to uninvolved parenting techniques tend to not ask for much from their children, and they are often inattentive, carefree, or even totally neglectful.

To bring the concept of parenting style in perspective, Baumrind conceptualizes parenting as a spectrum. On one axis, you could either be too demanding or too unresponsive. On the other hand, you could be too accepting and too unaccepting. If you have an uninvolved parenting style, you are likely to be neither too demanding nor too responsive.

Developing an uninvolved parenting style is much more likely if a parent is overloaded with work, challenged by mental health problems, or has been raised in a neglecting household themselves. Such parents may find it difficult to create a bond with their children.

Despite their good intentions, they provide little love, affection, or support to their children.

Similarly, they don’t place many demands upon their children. There is rarely any guidance or expectation aimed at the children, and the parents seldom set rules.

uninvolved parenting type

6 characteristics of uninvolved parenting style

Here are the characteristics of an uninvolved parenting style. Remember, these characteristics may only be applicable if the majority of them are experienced frequently in the long term.

  • A lack of emotional attachment to their children.
  • Too busy with their own problems to spend time with their children.
  • Supervision and guidance are minimal or non-existent.
  • Absence of disciplinary rules in the household or regulating misbehavior.
  • Lack of warmth, affection, and a general detachment with their children.
  • Choosing not to participate in school events or parent-teacher conferences.

A phrase known as

free-range parenting describes parents who allow their children to go places such as a playground unsupervised.

It is not the same thing as uninvolved parenting.

As a term for parenting, “free-range” only describes one aspect of this practice, namely monitoring a child outside of the home. A report like this does not give insight into whether the parent addresses the child’s needs or shows warmth toward them.

Behavioral incompetency is the basis of uninvolved parenting, and this is why free-range parenting should not be confused with uninvolved parenting.

Uninvolved Parenting effects on a child

Many articles and reports have been made about a child’s condition due to uninvolved parenting style effects, leading to intense criticism and awareness.

Effects on Emotional development due to Uninvolved parenting

Such children would also find it difficult to regulate and manage their emotions. Again, this would adversely affect their social desirability. If a child feels they are not accepted, they may develop a sense of inadequacy and worthlessness. This could further impede their social life beyond family. They may remain anxious and fearful and find it extremely difficult to trust other people.

Effects on Cognitive development due to Uninvolved parenting

Although there is not sufficient evidence for a direct association between parenting styles and academic achievement, parenting styles have been found to be correlated with academic self-concept. In absence of proper guidance and encouragement at home, a child can either lose interest or set unrealistic standards to win a parent’s recognition.

Effects on  Social development due to Uninvolved parenting

The child may take on similar parenting styles, in the future, if they have been subject to uninvolved parenting. Children who live in households that lack order or rules may also struggle to follow the rules elsewhere. They are, then, more likely to become non-conformists and develop a general disregard for law and social order. Children sought approval from parents. In absence of such recognition, they may develop low self-esteem. This might subject them to bullying and boycott from peers.

Common Effects on children due to Uninvolved parenting

  • The child may feel lost and directionless if they do not receive adequate guidance. As a result, they become perplexed with the growing inability to come to simple conclusions and depend on others more than any individual.
  • Having the kid not feel loved can have detrimental effects on this development.
  • The child may take on similar parenting styles if he has been subject to this kind of parenting.
  • Children who live in households that lack order or rules may also struggle to follow the rules elsewhere.
  • Children who feel separated and unloved are more likely to turn to substance abuse, and parents who abuse substances may increase this risk.
  • When adults are not present to supervise and guide a child’s development, the kid may struggle to develop his personality to its full potential.
  • Physique disorders such as depression can develop in children who experience neglect and ignorance on a large scale.
  • While growing up, emotional expression can be extreme for these children for various reasons, including fear, anxiety, anger, etc.
  • The kids may have to rely on themselves to care for themselves if they are not properly nurtured and cared for; losing their innocence might result.


ALSO READ:  4 other Types of parenting styles 


Parents with an affinity towards uninvolved parenting typically come from dysfunctional families where neglectful or uninvolved parenting was the norm.

It is common for neglected parents to suffer from mental health problems, including mental illness and alcohol dependence. Another cause of people becoming neglectful parents is a pre-existing history of substance, sexual, mental, or physical abuse.

According to researchers, many addicted parents were raised by their addicted parents themselves (up to 83%) and neglected during their childhood (up to 55%). People who are addicts are more prone to choose mates with substance abuse or other mental health disorders.

Consequently, they are more likely to become neglectful if they have similar traits to antisocial personalities.

Neither parental involvement nor discipline are discernible between the child and the uninvolved parent. An uninvolved parent largely lets their kid do as they wish without imposing any rules and regulations- not because they are doting or concerned, but because they are not concerned enough to exhibit a sense of attention.

The lack of interaction can negatively affect a child’s development and encouragement during their growing years and adolescence.

Examples of Uninvolved parenting Style

Neglectful parenting

Staying busy with work

As service sectors are booming and increasingly employing people, both parents could be working. In this case, children are more likely to remain in absence of parents. While this itself does not mean that parents are uninvolved. However, it is imperative to acknowledge that the child has felt your absence. This would mean that you would compensate by giving sufficient time to the child at home.

Not paying attention

Your child may come to you to show a sketch they have made, or simply ask you questions out of curiosity. On such occasions, a parent may ignore them. A parent might find it unimportant to engage with the child in their activities, but it is a common gesture of seeking approval and recognition. Therefore, neglecting the child’s efforts frequently would mean that you have cultivated characteristics of an uninvolved parenting style.

Not encouraging frequently

Simply being aware of the child’s presence is not enough. A parent may have provided for the child, for example – a separate room, toys to play with, food, and clothes. But children require constant feedback from parents. It would be useful to monitor how often you – ask your child about their likes and dislikes, tell them what you think about their performance at school or a game, and speak words of encouragement. For example, “Well done! I am so proud of you!”

Unaware about the child’s company

Uninvolved parents are often unaware of who their children meet, play with, and speak with. A child may find, for example, their teachers more comforting. On the other hand, it is also likely that the child has found an unproductive and unhealthy company. Such children are also likely to be exposed to illicit substances and immoral activities due to the absence of a sense of accountability.

No domestic rules for sleeping and hygiene

The domestic environment at home would appear disorderly if parents resort to uninvolved parenting. Children may not have a set schedule for meals, going to bed, and staying out. Sometimes parents think that they are permissive and have given complete autonomy to their children. However, for effective development, children need to function within boundaries. This not only gives a sense of safety but also protects children from challenges for which they are not yet prepared

Not accompanying the child to schools, games, or concerts

Parents may let their children participate in school, sports, and cultural activities, but they do not accompany them. For example, you may have frequently missed your child’s football match at school. The mere presence of a parent gives immense courage and confidence to the child. Whereas, finding you absent may reduce their confidence and the value they have attached to the activity. It is important to note that parents may miss a child’s game due to multiple reasons. However, if you consider such activities secondary to your priorities, it might mean that you have been uninvolved.


While there is a lot of scope for research in the area of uninvolved parenting, psychologists have pointed out the necessity for parents to identify their parenting style. Especially in urban families, where both parents are likely to be working professionals, children might be left with little to no time with them on the daily basis.

However, it is useful to understand that an uninvolved parenting style has multiple reasons to emerge in one’s personality. For this reason, it would be best to seek professional help for both children and parents. As you would remember, parenting is a spectrum and parents must tailor their style of parenting based on their children’s needs.

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