Peterson on emotional neglect and being a bad playmate

Peterson is amazing. Emotional neglect, summarized in two pages, harshly. This quote comes from 12 Rules for Life (download from LibGen):

Children can be damaged as much or more by a lack of incisive attention as they are by abuse, mental or physical. This is damage by omission, rather than commission, but it is no less severe and long-lasting. Children are damaged when their “mercifully” inattentive parents fail to make them sharp and observant and awake and leave them, instead, in an unconscious and undifferentiated state. Children are damaged when those charged with their care, afraid of any conflict or upset, no longer dare to correct them, and leave them without guidance. I can recognize such children on the street. They are doughy and unfocused and vague. They are leaden and dull instead of golden and bright. They are uncarved blocks, trapped in a perpetual state of waiting-to-be.

Such children are chronically ignored by their peers. This is because they are not fun to play with. Adults tend to manifest the same attitude (although they will deny it desperately when pressed). When I worked in daycare centres, early in my career, the comparatively neglected children would come to me desperately, in their fumbling, half-formed manner, with no sense of proper distance and no attentive playfulness. They would flop, nearby—or directly on my lap, no matter what I was doing—driven inexorably by the powerful desire for adult attention, the necessary catalyst for further development. It was very difficult not to react with annoyance, even disgust, to such children and their too-prolonged infantilism—difficult not to literally push them aside—even though I felt very badly for them, and understood their predicament well. I believe that response, harsh and terrible though it may be, was an almost universally-experienced internal warning signal indicating the comparative danger of establishing a relationship with a poorly socialized child: the likelihood of immediate and inappropriate dependence (which should have been the responsibility of the parent) and the tremendous demand of time and resources that accepting such dependence would necessitate. Confronted with such a situation, potentially friendly peers and interested adults are much more likely to turn their attention to interacting with other children whose cost/benefit ratio, to speak bluntly, would be much lower.