Poverty destroys childhood. It’s the harsh truth. It destroys their childhood, it destroys their hopes and dreams, it destroys the person they could be, and it destroys their communities as a whole. Being raised in poverty places children at a higher risk of a wide range of problems. Poverty makes them more vulnerable to the exposure of environmental toxins, inadequate nutrition, maternal depression, parental substance abuse, trauma and abuse, violent crime, divorce, low-quality child care, and decreased cognitive stimulation. Amongst others, the destructive effects of poverty on children are most obvious when it comes to its impact on their education, health and their social and emotional development.
- Poverty and child health
Numerous studies have revealed that, children living in poverty are more likely to have poor health along with chronic health conditions. Premature and low birth weight is more common among children born in poor families and they are more vulnerable towards developing illnesses later on, such as respiratory diseases. Premature death is also more common among children born in poor families. Children in poverty do not have access to health care nor the financial resources to cover their medical expenses. This in turn leads to them not being able to get proper immunizations and check-ups to monitor and ensure their good health.
As adolescents, studies have revealed that poor youth are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, such as personality disorders and depression. They are also found to be more likely to become pregnant at a young age, given their lack of access to birth control and safety measures. They therefore also stand at a higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Poverty and child education
Being raised in poverty also has its effects on the levels of educational attainment of the child. According to many studies conducted, it was revealed that children from poor families are one-third less likely to complete high school than those children not living in poverty. They are at a higher risk of being school dropouts at an early age. This is mostly due to instances such as frequent moves, the lack of parental involvement, lack of transportation to school, unplanned teenage pregnancy, child marriage, and a high risk for becoming involved in crimes.
Children from poor families find it harder to cope at school also because they are first generation learners who do not have or cannot afford adequate tuition aid. Families in poverty most often end up stopping their children from going to school and send them to work in unskilled labor to add to the family’s income. Children are almost always given up by their parents for loans they may have taken from money lenders that they cannot repay. Children then forced to become bonded laborers, changing their life forever.
- Poverty and child social and emotional development
Children being raised in poverty have significant challenges with social and emotional development. Often times, they are at risk for developing both behavioral and emotional problems such as impulsiveness, disobedience, difficulty getting along with peers, amongst others. Living in poverty is also correlated with lower self-esteem. Poverty places an enormous challenge on each child and makes it much harder for them to develop normal emotions to cope in stressful environments. Children raised in poverty tend to have a poor control over their emotions and their impulsivity often leads to delinquent behavior.
Poverty robs children of all the joys of childhood, and if the children never receive help, it goes on to impact life their life as a whole. Love One More strives to make a difference to raise children and families out of poverty through sponsorship. You can help by sponsoring a child for $35 a month. For less than $1.25 a day, you can change the life of one child by bringing them out of poverty, changing their entire life, for a lifetime.