Children living in poverty is a very big issue as over one billion children are living in poverty. Poverty has negative effects on a childs health, cognitive development, social, emotional and behavioural development and educational outcomes. Families who are living in poverty might want to achieve a goal in life however they would not have the knowledge or resources to make this goal possible.
Children who live in poverty will tend to have worse health than children not living in poverty. Their poverty will effect them badly as they are more likely to be injured , be of low birth weight , to suffer from abuse and also self harm and to attempt suicide. Poorer children are less likely to do well at school and are far more like to become poor as adults. Lewis explains this in his theory about the culture of poverty in which children learn to cope with the fact of living in poverty and in the process pass this knowledge on to their children too. Children in this culture will have a sense of resignation and fatalism and a strong feeling of marginality , of helplessness, of dependence and inferiority. Lewis says that by the time that they are 6/7 children have already absorbed the basic values and attitudes of the subculture and are not equipped to take advantage of increased opportunities which may occur in their lifetime. This will effect their learning process alot as they would not feel the need to work or study and also not know how to and just cope with the culture they are living in. Another dysfunctional aspect of a culture of poverty is the absence of childhood. Lewis noted children at an early age were expected to be economically active and to earn their keep and contribute if they could to a family income. This implies a lack of schooling therefore low rates of literacy were common among the poor. This would cause troubles in their education.
Murray says that most illegitimate children are born to women from lower social and in some areas absence of the father is the norm therefore this will affect the childs well being. Illegitimate children will tend to run wild and the lack of fathers results in ”a level of physical unruliness which makes life difficult”. In poverty the children would also not be in a healthy environment as communities become fragmented and people become suspicious of one another. This is not a healthy and happy upbringing for the children to have. If crime becomes more common young children might also imitate older males and take up criminal activities themselves and thus would effect their character development and also their progress in school.
Children living in poverty might also feel socially excluded from the rest of their school mates. Children living in poverty mostly in the middle to old age groups are often unable to participate in social, leisure and different activities organised by the school and might not have the same lifestyle , hygiene or clothes like the other students which will effect their relationships with the other students and make them feel ashamed and excluded. Their lack of income would also be a disadvantage as they would not be able to get the full advantage of their education and would not be able to have an active role in opportunities given to them by the school. Parents living in poverty will have certain restrictions on what material resources they could buy for their children. For example, they may have limited access to high-quality day care, limited access to after school activities, and limited physical space in their homes to create areas and peaceful environments in which the child can work and study in to. They may not own a computer or have the fiscal resources necessary to complete out-of-class projects. This will make a child feel different from the other children who will have own these resources.Even when low income parents do everything they possibly can and work their utmost for their families these limited resources give the kids a huge disadvantage.
Another factor that will affect a child’s education is their mobility. Since parents might not have a steady income the family would not have stable housing. Students move to different places depending on where parents might find a better job or cheaper housing. Therefore if students are moving to different places it would be hard for them to learn a routine and be comfortable in the same place and feel as though they are part of a community. These moves will create a negative academic and social impact on students. This would not help them to make long term friends and socialize and after leaving they would feel apart from their friends which would effect them emotionally. The lack of feeling of a community at school will give the child a negative attitude whilst going there in the morning since its not like a second home to him or her.
People in poverty mostly come from single parent families or in which parents are seperated. This will also effect the childs well being. Absence of a parent figure will cause family conflict in which parents stress will also affect the children and cause them to stress to. Stress adversely affects cognition. Children in poverty are exposed to high levels of familial violence, disruption and seperation. Children might also have to take care of their younger siblings at home when their parent is out working which will make them not experience a good childhood as they would be very busy and can not play or enjoy themselves but instead would have a lot of responsibility given to them at a young age. By not going out with their school mates they will not learn how to develop proper emotions or respond appropriately to others , just by staying home taking care of their siblings they would not get friendly person-to-person interactions. The failure to form positive relationships with people their age at school wll have long-term socioemotional consequences This would effect their school life as they might be stressed and tired during school hours and would not be able to concentrate. Children might also be so busy at home that they would not do the homework assigned to them.
Children in poverty have been proven to have a lower academic achievement. By the time children in poverty are at the normal age of Kindergarten enrolment most of them aren’t ready for kindergarten and don’t reach the normal standards. Children also tend to drop out at early ages. Parents would also not have achieved a high level of education and thus might not encourage their kids to do so well in school. Parents might also not be able to help their child or spend time with them whilst they are studying as they would be too busy working trying to get some income for their family. Parents tend to be overworked, overstressed, and very strict and harsh with their children, using the same disciplinary strategies that were probably used by their own parents. They often lack warmth and sensitivity and fail to form a good healthy relationships with their children. This will make the child feel neglected as they won’t be spending enough time with their parents. When a child is neglected the brain does not grow as much. Parents might also suffer from depression which will also be susceptible to children.
The schools available in poorer areas often have older buildings and poorer facilities. These schools would often have a concentration of social problems such as poor behaviour , lack of parental support , drugs and vandalism. Exposure to community violence and living in an unsafe home neighborhood will contribute to lower academic performance. Children might also get bullied at school by other students and feel singled out because of their differences in their living conditions and resources owned compared to the other children. This bullying will diminish attention spans and increase absenteeism and they would have no motivation to work. These students will stay home due to fear of violence and of what might happen to them if they go to school.
Strong relationships are important in a childs life and it is important that these are healthy relationships and from them they will learn how to act appropriately and react to everyday situations. Children living in poverty often do not manage to learn how to act in a school environment. Students might get frustrated easily and give up on a task easily which will effect their success at school. It is important to realize as teachers that these students come to school with a narrower range of appropriate emotional responses than we think. Children raised in poverty are more likely to show acting out behaviours , impatience and impusivity , gaps in politeness and social graces , inappropriate emotional responses and less emphaty for others. These factors are likely to annoy the teachers however a teacher must be ready to help the student change his or her attitude.
Poor children have problems in their physcial health and are five times more likely to die from infectious diseases. Babies born to low-income parents have lower birth weights. Low birth weight babies have a great risk of dying while infants. At preschool level in attention from parents has a huge impact on how the child would develop his future language skill and IQ scores. Children at age 3 from professional parents were learning new vocabulary at a faster rate than children in welfare families. This could be as parents of these children are less likely to try make conversations to let their children express their thoughts and see their responses. Reading is also another thing that needs to be taught by the primary caregiver it is not something we are born with knowing how to do but we must be taught. We need to learn skills such as phonologcal awareness, fluency, vocabulary, phonics and comprehension. This must be first taught along with the attention, focus and motivation from the primary caregiver. Evidence shows that poverty adversely alters the trajectory of the developing reading brain. Poor children experience more behavior problems such as difficulty getting along with other children, disobedience and impulsiveness. They may have lower self esteem and tend to demonstrate negative behaviors such as bullying, lying, cheating and breaking things.
It is important for teachers to know how to deal with these children that are living in poverty. It is crucial for teachers to realize that these underprivileged children have different needs and it will take them time to get to know the child and assess their needs. The teacher must try to boost the childs moral and self esteem and dedicate time to the child in order for the child to try to have a better school life and have a better well being.