Influence Of Low Socioeconomic Status On The Early Childhood

The negative impacts of low socioeconomic status are exceptionally significant to the early years of childhood because of the characteristics of this early stage, and the child’s general lack of ability to care for themselves. Campbell’s 1995 study suggests that the early stages of childhood development, marked by the struggle for autonomy according to Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, require a certain amount of caregiver involvement. Moreover, according to Erikson’s theory of developmental stages, a child that did not receive adequate care from their parents or caregivers could not achieve the trust aspect of the first stage, trust versus mistrust. The instability frequently marked by low socioeconomic status would instill a child with anxiety and lack of trust.

While intervention programs, like Head Start, provide an important educational service to low-income families that can help improve cognitive, behavioral, and emotional outcomes for children of low socioeconomic status, infants and toddlers do not qualify for the services and are therefore likely to be exposed to lower quality care before they can attend these programs. Therefore, although a child of a low socioeconomic status family may be cared for by an individual outside of their home, they are still likely to receive care home-based care that is similar to their own home. This shows that low socioeconomic status affects not only the quality of care that children receive at home but additionally in a childcare environment outside of their home.

Children from low socioeconomic status families are more often abused than children of high SES. Moreover, Gil’s 1977 study found that the abuse that children of low socioeconomic status families endure is the most likely to produce severe injury or fatality, as opposed to the abuse experienced by children of higher SES. In his 2009 study, Wulczyn found that young children are most likely to experience abuse during significant life events, such as the addition of an infant to the family. This may be because of the increase in stress experienced by individuals undergoing significant life changes. Additionally, Wulczyn found that younger and inexperienced parents most commonly commit acts of abuse against their children during these stressful life events. Wulczyn also explains the abuse that young children of low socioeconomic status may experience is positively correlated with higher rates of substance abuse by parents. The abuse of substances by the parents of low SES children may be related to the higher levels of stress produced by low socioeconomic status. Nevertheless, low socioeconomic status negatively affects adults, and their ability to parent effectively. Mistreatment of children can have long-term psychological effects and the behavioral outcomes of children are greatly affected by the manner of parenting performed by their caregivers. Stable and authoritarian parenting, which also takes a child’s thoughts and feelings into account, is more likely to result in well-adjusted children than authoritarian or permissive parenting styles. Children are taught to express anger through physical violence through the behavior that their caregivers model.

Low socioeconomic status can provide an environment that is not conducive to the proper cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development of young children. This is related to the higher amounts of stress and abuse, and the lower amount of parental involvement frequently seen in families with low socioeconomic status. Individuals of low socioeconomic status are less likely to be highly educated and have secure employment status that those with a higher socioeconomic status. Additionally, low SES is associated with parenthood at an early age, as well as single-parent homes, both of which could be factors in a family’s high levels of stress. It is important to note that low socioeconomic status does not definitively mean these behaviors and responses will be shown. Educational programs and assistance may be necessary for the majority of families of low socioeconomic status so that their children are able to properly develop cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally.

09 March 2021
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