Stress is the major cause of parental negligence
Depending on the age children may develop a subsequent phobia towards leaving a parent in even supportive environments like schools and nurseries. The “stressful” life of Dubai is one of the major contributing factors behind why parents forget their children in their cars, a consultant psychiatrist has said, following an incident where a girl in Abu Dhabi was suffocated to death after being forgotten in her parent’s vehicle for six hours.
Dr Shankar S Kuchibatla at LifeWorks Holistic Counselling Centre, said there are several factors behind why parents would forget their own children in the car, some of which include stress, multitasking and being unaware of the risks involved.
“The UAE in general, and Dubai in specific is a 24-hour happening city. Stressful life of parents is definitely a significant factor,” Dr Kuchibatla said. “Prolonged stress and lack of distraction and relaxation may lead to mental burnout leading to such incidents. Other reasons I found was some parents are unaware of risks associated with such behaviours. Some are overconfident and undermine consequences of such actions.”
“One of the significant reasons is that as parents, they are doing multitasking activities. As part of the stress involved in this process, their concentration and attention get affected. This may affect their memory leading to being forgetful.”
Dr Kuchibatla said that some parents may be going through mental health issues, such as depression, which could lead to symptoms like being detached and lost from activities. Other reasons could be lack of proper organisation and time management due to stress, causing burnout in the parents. He believes that in some cases there could also be involvement of sedative medications, alcohol or illicit drugs in excess, which may hamper concentration, memory as well.
“Needless to say some cases may have ongoing child negligence and abuse issues going on for some time, leading to such incidents,” he added.
The doctor pointed out that an incident as such if the child survives, can affect his or her behaviour in the long term. He also said that children may develop certain phobias after experiencing such a traumatic incident. “From a mental health and psychology point of view, this may affect the subsequent attachment style of a developing kid towards his or her parents,” he said. “Kids tend to become clingier towards parents. Depending on the age children may develop a subsequent phobia towards leaving a parent in even supportive environments like schools and nurseries.
“Severity of the incident and age of children may dictate the development of post-traumatic stress disorder and spectrum of anxiety symptoms.”
Parents can also be mentally affected after an incident as such, possibly developing PTSD symptoms and “guilty feelings” due to causing a near-to-death experience for the whole family. “The risks of developing adjustment disorders and anxious presentation towards children’s health are high,” Dr Kuchibatla said.