Adults who perceive a lack of parental love as a child could be more likely to suffer anxiety-related issues.
That was the main finding from a study by the Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy (SICH), which looked at 100 clients with social phobia or agoraphobic-type anxiety over a three-year period. There were 81 out of the 100 who believed their parents never loved them, or removed their love (through divorce, death or working away) before the child was 13.
When parental love was removed the child had feelings of low self-worth, and felt ‘not good enough’ when they grew up. This can lead to anxieties such as fear of driving on motorways, or fear of crowded places. Where parental love never existed (through not showing affection, for example, or where one of the parents was never around) the child lacked confidence, particularly in social situations. This can carry on to adulthood and manifest as fear of public speaking or fear of being the centre of attention.
The sample of clients analysed by SICH is obviously self-selecting, as they all chose to come for hypnotherapy to alleviate their anxiety. But the survey does give some idea of how lack of love can affect the development of a child. SICH says parents should listen to their children, show affection, play with them every day, and stick to boundaries.