The Reality of Low Income Children
There’s a stigma that comes with identifying yourself or family as being low-income.
But for many children it’s a reality and if those who know about this harsh reality don’t discuss it, then the long lasting effects of poverty will be felt well into adulthood.
Join me as I tackle the dreaded “low income” talk, explain it’s effects and how to overcome them.
Before we get started let me just say that I had a fair childhood and a mother and older
sisters who gave me the moon every chance they could. Many children fare far worse by not having the essentials that they need from day to day.
Being from a low-income family doesn’t mean that your loved ones aren’t trying or doing their best; often times it means that they’re not receiving the help they need.
Many times they’re coming from a similar situation in their childhood that manifested into adulthood. That is why it is important to discuss generational poverty to curb it’s effects.
So, what are some effects low-income children and young adults face? Well, I’m glad you asked because I have a list that describes a few down below:
1. Students from low-income households suffer in school.Children are sometimes ill prepared for school in their early ages; this ripple effect carries on throughout their school career. Too often there is no real emphasis put on school work or studying.
Parents who are low income may work usual hours, long hours, or in poorer conditions just to put food on the table. Sometimes, the last thing on a parent’s mind is asking little Debbie does she have homework. Even if the answer is “No, ma’am” as it often was for me, establishing study habits early will go a long way.
Children need accountability when it comes to homework to build good habits for school and later in life. Parents can start small by sitting down with their child on a day off to go over school work. Getting an assignment calendar from teachers at the first of the year will help parents keep track of what lessons their child is doing week to week.
Parents can then look at the lesson calendar and say, “Well your lesson for this week is fractions so pull out your book and let’s sit down and study for 30 minutes.” I promise you no child wants this but many definitely need it and will wish they got it when they’re older.
2. Socializing. Now, I don’t know if this was statistically proven because I’m just going off my own experiences. However, it makes sense that socializing or developing a social life is effected for children from low income households.
One reason why I think social life suffers is because there’s this unwarranted shame that comes with being financially challenged growing up; as if being a pre-teen or teen isn’t hard enough. Factor in the pressure to fit in and keep up with the trends you can’t afford and you have a recipe for an anti-social or overly social child.
For example, I was put in an advanced class as a pre-teen. I will always remember my classmates as I stayed with them through high school. Learning and socializing alongside them was an eye-opening experience. They shared a lot of experiences that I would never get to be a part of. Small references to cable videos or wearing the latest fashions was something I couldn’t relate to.
Many children miss out on social engagements and experiences because they lack the resources to participate. This can lead to the child being distant or over compensating socially.I think in this case talking with your child about the financial differences they face between peers will alleviate the anxiety they may feel.
3. Future Success. There are of plenty successful people who come from humble beginnings and make it to whatever they consider “success.” However, the notion that “We all have the same opportunities” is bullshit. You may have gone to the same school with someone or lived in the same town but opportunities stemming from the household can vary greatly.
Small feats like getting your first car when you turn 16 or start college is often not plausible for someone from a low-income household. In reality, It may take that individual years and saved money to acquire something that was given to their peers. Small milestones like this have a financial impact for young adults.
Low-income young adults find themselves playing “catch-up” to obtain financial stability and items that could ensure future success. It’s no wonder why many opt to join the workforce instead of tackle the debt of getting a college degree.
Being realistic about the disadvantages low-income children face helps to usher in combative solutions. Encouraging students to discuss their futures will help them to better make decisions based on college,entrepreneurship, workforce or military.
Finding internships designed for High School students will expose them to a different environment and help build confidence that they can succeed in their endeavors.Visit local college campuses for free open houses, allow your child to shadow someone who is in the field they believe they want to go into.
If lil Darryl thinks he wants to be a rapper let him shadow an entrepreneur. Seriously, get your children to think about their futures in a realistic sense because many times the most important question for low-income children isn’t “What do you want to do when you graduate?” But “How do you plan to get there?”
Take a look at this article:
I know that there are many other things that low-income children and parents face but I wanted to keep this post brief to get the main points across.
What you can take away from this is that low-income children need guidance and parental involvement. Learning stress and hardships at an early age can lead to psychological issues that manifest themselves in the future.
The BEST way to combat generational poverty or low-income households is to encourage children to dream bigger, higher, and better. I hope this post helped someone and as always, for any suggestions please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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