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Poverty in Childhood

Poverty in Childhood Essay Sample


Poverty has often been characterized as the deprivation of the basic human needs. As a rule, poverty is viewed as a materialistic issue, which means that the lack of financial wellbeing leads to poverty. Nevertheless, the impact of poverty on human life is more than the absence of the financial stability. This phenomenon has an effect on many other important aspects of human life, such as perception of the world, person’s confidence, achievements, or principles. Researchers believe that poverty in childhood has a great impact on child’s further development and wellbeing. During childhood, a person is more sensitive to those things that surround him/her and those situations in which he/she participates. Poverty during the childhood predetermines a person’s life position, whether he/she could achieve a success or not. Some people believe that poverty is a negative phenomenon which has only negative consequences on the child’s development. However, it is not an absolutely correct point of view; in some cases, poverty in childhood becomes as an impulse for changes. A person, who experienced severe poverty during his/her early years of life, will do everything possible to avoid it in his/her future. Such people are more adapted for severe conditions of life and overcome the challenges easier than other people. According to this fact, poverty is a very controversial issue; it may bring both negative and positive effects to a child’s further achievements. Thus, poverty in childhood can be viewed as the negative phenomenon which limits the children's opportunities, or vice versa, as an impulse that makes a person more ambitious and more successful in the future.

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The Effect of Poverty on Child’s Achievements

In order to provide a detailed answer on the impact of poverty on children, it was decided to analyze two articles which will provide the insight about the specifics of this issue. The first article under discussion is titled “The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit” written by Gordon B. Dahl and Lance Lochner and published in 2012. The authors state that almost every sixth child in the United States lives in poverty. The high rate of poverty increased the necessity to determine the consequences of poor growing up conditions on the children’s future success. Those children who live in poverty have, as a rule, very adverse environment at home; they have to face numerous challenges, which have an impact on children’s development. Moreover, the losses of jobs by parents, illnesses, or constant moving to new places also have a negative effect on a child’s wellbeing.

In this article, the authors provide the research which has to explain the connection between poverty in childhood and low achievements, as well as the general failure, of those children who were growing up in poverty. The goal of this research was to identify how the increasing of family profit affects child’s achievements, especially in reading and math. The federal programs, such as EITC, were adopted in order to help families with two or more children that live in poverty. The program predetermines the additional benefit of more than10 percent of the annual family income. The research shows that the additional income, even in 1,000 dollars, has the encouraging effect on children who are growing in a poor family. The achievements in math and reading increased by 6 percent in those families who received the additional 1,000 dollars a year during the period 1987–1999 (Dahl & Lochner, 2012). Moreover, in families that received 2,000 dollars a year, the average score of their children has increased by 10 percent. According to these results, the authors came to a conclusion that a family income has a considerable effect on children’s achievements. Hence, it can be said that the improvement of life conditions, which directly depend on a family income, leads to the long-term improvement of children’s achievements.

The second article “Social and Cultural Determinants of Child Poverty in the United States” was written by Sri Ranjith and Anil Rupasingha and was published in 2012. The goal of this article is to define the role of cultural and social factors on the determination of child poverty. According to John Knneth, poverty is the result of the technological advance and is influenced much by the free market economics. The goal of the government support programs is not to take children out of poverty, but to provide the adequate nutrition and conditions for  effective education and wellbeing.

The problem of child poverty is not limited only to social or economic factors. One should understand that child poverty is influenced by mental and moral wellbeing. The consequences of child poverty are clear, but the causes of child poverty still require a more detailed analysis. The authors of this article want to present the idea that child poverty is not only the lack of the material wellbeing (Ranjith & Rupasingha, 2012). Moreover, even those child support programs have only the temporary effect on children’s development. The thing that is necessary to understand is how the concept of poverty is viewed by children and their parents. For instance, some parents who experience rough times and lack of money are used to blame the society or other people for their impossibility to achieve the success. Hence, those children who live in such environment will view challenges as the results of someone’s influence on them. In other words, if he/she faces difficulties, he/she will search for an excuse to explain why he/she cannot cope with these difficulties. On the other hand, those children who were also growing up in poverty, but their parents did not view their poverty as the result of some social or economic injustice, have more chances to become successful in their future lives. In a family where parents accept challenges, but do not try to find excuses why it is so difficult to overcome financial difficulties, children learn that difficulties are only a part of life, and one should put efforts to cope with them.

According to this fact, it can be said that this article views poverty not as an economic issue, but as a social and even moralistic one. People are the ones who determine their belonging to poverty; thus, they are able to cope with it or to blame others for their problems. Children learn this lesson, acquire a life position, and use it further in their lives.   

In my opinion, a family’s wellbeing, especially the financial wellbeing, predetermines a child’s success. According to this fact, those children who receive the financial support, show better results than earlier. Their achievements were much influenced by their family's social position and income. This phenomenon means that there is a direct connection between poverty and the child’s success. I think that a family that can provide the adequate conditions of life for its children has more chances to see them prosper and confident in what they do. On the other hand, if a child grows in poverty, it means that he/she will receive little inspiration from his/her family. Finally, the poverty has a great influence on a psychological state. The constant poverty depresses a child, while the parent’s achievements only motivate him/her to do the best.

Nevertheless, poverty is not the crucial factor that influences a child. In fact, the parents’ attitude has a bigger effect on a child’s wellbeing, while poverty is the measure of this attitude. In other words, if parents do not view poverty as their biggest barrier for better life, they will not ensure their children that if he/she is poor then he/she cannot be successful a priory.  Unfortunately, this stereotype can make a child less confident in his/her capacities. If parents do not believe that they can make a difference, they can hardly ensure their child that he/she can do it in his/her life. On the other hand, there are children who were growing up in poor families, but they can achieve better results. This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that the parents' motivation and inspiration has a crucial role for the child’s future, despite the fact that a family was poor. Nevertheless, it contradicts with the fist article’s statement, which asserts that the more family receives, the more children are successful in what they do. Hence, if one takes into consideration the second article, he/she can state that poverty is a problem, but people’s attitude makes this problem significant or not. Thus, the issue of poverty in childhood still has many angles, and each of them can provide adequate arguments that connect poverty in childhood with the children’s development.

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As a conclusion, it can be said that childhood poverty is considered to be one of the most important issues for the society. Even the developed countries have a high rate of poverty among children. However, poverty is not only the result of financial problems; it is also the aspect that may have a serious impact on children’s development and achievements. For instance, if a poor family receives the additional financial support from the government, this leads to the positive shifts in the children’s development. They start learning better and getting better grades. However, poverty is not limited only to being the absence of materialistic wellbeing. One should also take into account the social aspect and the influence of parents on their children. According to this theory, parents’ behavior and their attitude to their low income predetermines children’s further success and wellbeing. Some people believe that their impossibility to achieve certain financial wellbeing is the result of economic, political, or other factors, and they have little responsibilities for their own condition. Other parents view poverty as a result of their own failures, which are necessary to accept and overcome. Children view parents’ attitudes as a right life position and act the same way in future when they face difficulties. According to this fact, poverty in childhood does not always have a negative impact; sometimes, it has the opposite effect and makes children achieve more with fewer opportunities. 

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