Effects of Poverty on Children

Effects of Poverty on Children’s Emotion and their Future

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         Poverty brutally affects children’s futures. The families of these children typically have inadequate amounts of food, poor quality housing, and living conditions that will forever affect their future. Some of the major effects on them will be a relationship with their parents which is in constant tension, a poor social life, and an unsafe neighborhood. Young children who are exposed to these conditions will be subject to poor development of their brains and emotions. Depression may be one of the main conditions linked to poverty, but research shows that  children in poverty show more tendencies to start conducting themselves poorly. Effects on their brains will force the children to become accustom to bad habits such as bullying, being cruel, breaking things, cheating, and telling lies. These terrible conditions are all due to the poor development of the brain of the child.

        Dr. Lisa Stochschein, a sociologist at the University of Alberta, states that, "These findings might mean that antisocial behavior is an example of biological embedding--it is possible that poverty early in life helps to set into motion a consistent pattern of antisocial behaviors that are difficult to change once learned." One of the main reasons for this antisocial behavior is the insults from other children. When someone is a young child those insults will have a long-term effect and can trigger a feeling of anger. Dr. Strochschein also has found that if the family is able to recover from poverty, the children’s attitude will make a change for the better. 

         Greg Duncan and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn have conducted studies and found that poverty will leave a mark on children's relationships with other people. When in poverty, there is a greater probability of poor family bonding because of extreme stress in finances. They showed people in that situation are cutoff from a good social life. Also, many people who are living in poverty can associate that with adults who were hostile towards them. Proper child growth requires high self-esteem. Children who live in poverty can feel badly about themselves and can have less of a drive to make themselves better.

         One out of every five children in America is in poverty. In total, there is a massive 134 million children between the ages of 7 and 18 that have never even attended school. That will greatly affect their ability to get a job when they get older and have several other serious side affects. According to a recent study, the brains of impoverished 9 and 10 year olds are severely affected by poverty. In comparison to wealthy children’s brains, the difference is so substantial that an impoverished child’s brain has the equivalent amount of damage that a brain which has undergone a stroke has. Something that severe is extremely hard to recover from and will more than likely stick with them.

         There are charities and government programs that are being formed to help get these children's lives back together. One of those programs is Save the Children. They are a worldwide organization dedicated to making the future of children much better by giving them education, health care, as well as supporting children in urgent, emergency situations.