Social and Emotional Development of Low Income Children

Topics: Developmental psychology, Social class, Erik Erikson Pages: 6 (2119 words) Published: November 10, 2013
Social and Emotional Development of Low Income Children
Growing up within a family living with a low socioeconomic status can have a detrimental effect on a child’s social and emotional development. Some factors that may be affected by a low economic status are weakened family and peer relations, lowered self-esteem, the tendency for aggression, as well as health problems. Not necessarily though does this always have a detrimental effect on children; it may serve constructively as well. A family that deals with hardships constantly when it comes to finances may have a variety of effects on a child’s development. There tends to be a chain of events that may occur, in this type of situation. Parents that experience the pressure from unstable employment, and possibly many debts, may feel that they cannot cope with their financial problems. They then may have the tendency to become moody or depressed, which in turn may cause marital conflict. This marital conflict may disrupt the parent’s ability to be a supporting, involved and nurturing parent. This, according to Davies & Cummings (1998), may contribute to child and adolescent problems, such as low self-esteem, poor school performance, poor peer relations, and behaviour problems such as depression, hostility and anti-social conduct. Trust versus Mistrust

According to Erikson, the first stage of psychosocial development is when a child develops a sense of trust or mistrust depending on the regularity of care, love and affection they receive from their primary caregiver. Therefore, when children feel like they are not being supported and nurtured by their caregivers, they may question the trust that they should have in them, as well as other adults. They may also question why their parents are not able to supply them with the things that they need to get by in life, such as clothing or a safe home, or things others may take for granted such as hydro, water and heat. This again, can question that trust they may have for their caregivers. Low Self-Esteem

Like stated above, these children may not have much clothing, as well as a means to keep good hygiene, which in turn may result in them being ostracized by their peers. These children that are ostracized by their peers obviously end up having problems with making and keeping ‘true’ friends. This in turn can result in a lowered self-esteem for the child. When they feel low about themselves, they frequently may exhibit behaviours such as crying, worrying, fear, distress, or trouble enjoying themselves. Lowered self-esteemed children are also more prone to psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Once depressed they tend to have feelings of powerlessness. When these feelings start to take over the children, they may become suicidal, change their eating and sleeping habits, lose interest in activities that they once enjoyed, as well as have persistent feelings of gloom and helplessness. Along with these feelings of depression these children may start to make poor decisions which can result in withdrawn, anti-social behaviour. Anti-Social Behaviours

Poor decisions that lower income status children may make include skipping school, shoplifting, dealing or trying drugs, or all out aggressive behaviour. These children are more likely to miss out on so much of their schooling, whether it is due to skipping classes or the tendency for their family to move various times and having to switch schools numerous times. They are missing out on the opportunity for intellectual stimulation and success in school. This may result in academic failure. Due to the possibility of academic failure, these children negatively spiral downward and tend to have weaker social skills. They have more likelihood to eventually end up either unemployed as adults, or working dead end, minimum wage jobs, continuing the vicious cycle of living in poverty. Children growing up in a lower income family also have the...

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