A child’s comprehension of poverty is limited by the issue’s complexity, which stems from a wide range of factors. Engaging in discourses about poverty with children is crucial, although it’s challenging to do so.
Wrapping your arms around this talk may be a challenge if you are a parent who rarely thinks about food or a warm place for your child to sleep.
Some students may not grasp why they receive free meals at school, while others may not know why a homeless person is soliciting donations. When it comes to the impoverished, people have many preconceptions about them.
Why Talking About Poverty Is a Good Idea
As time passes, your child will begin to wonder why some individuals don’t have as much money as others.
One in five youngsters in the United States is projected to be living in poverty. These youngsters have working parents, but their low incomes and uncertain jobs keep them from making enough money to make ends meet.’
Food insecurity and homelessness are common problems among children your child’s age.
Your child may hear you say something like, “Eat your broccoli. In other areas, some starving children would love to eat this.” There are a lot of misconceptions about those who are poor. There are a lot of people in our neighborhood who are struggling to make ends meet. He may develop a better idea of what it means to be poor if you share your own experiences with him.
Poverty can have long-term effects on children. The following are some of how poverty has an impact on families:
- Lack of access to quality education is a significant barrier for children from low-income families.
- Problems with behavior: A child’s social and emotional development is harmed by poverty. In poor families, children are more prone to have behavioral issues.
- Problems with physical health: Higher rates of asthma, obesity, problems with language development, and an increased risk of accident are all associated with child poverty.
- The toxic stress associated with poverty increases the likelihood of psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia.
- Poverty is the most severe threat to children’s well-being, and the effects can last a lifetime.
Teaching your child about poverty is a great way to instill empathy and teach them to care about the plight of others. The more your youngster knows about the plight of the poor, the more likely he will be to empathize with those who are impoverished.
Look for Chances to Discuss the Topic
Avoid bringing up poverty by accident; instead, look for ways to bring it up naturally. As a result, you can discuss it in greater detail.
Talk to your youngster about why you’re providing canned goods when there is a Thanksgiving food drive at school. If there’s a holiday gift drive, mention that some families may not be able to afford gifts.
Prepare for Difficult Questioning
Eventually, your youngster will discover that his peers or neighbors are living in poverty. Be ready to answer queries like:
- Why does Anna always wear the same outfit to school?
- What gives this woman the right to beg for money from strangers?
- What’s up with that guy’s lack of footwear?
- Because Zack claims to get free lunch at school, I’m curious why.
As soon as your youngster starts asking questions, you know he’s ready to learn more. Make sure your responses are acceptable for his age.
Children in elementary school can benefit from simple explanations.
Money and economics are foreign concepts to children. Innocent viewers may wonder, “Why don’t their parents go to the grocery store and get them more food?” after a commercial portrays children going hungry.
Poverty is best explained to children aged 5–8 in basic terms. Some folks aren’t able to afford food or a home of their own since they lack the means.
If someone isn’t making enough money, there’s no need to go into great detail. Disabilities, substance misuse, and the state of the economy can all wait until a child is in the tween or adolescent years before they are discussed.
Engage the next generation in a dialogue about the underlying causes of the issues.
Understanding some of the causes of poverty can be learned by tweens and teens. Consider the following examples of causes of poverty:
- The gap between the rich and the poor is widening at an alarming rate.
- a scarcity of well-paying employment
- a scarcity of knowledge
- Healthcare and child care costs are soaring.
- Drug and alcohol abuse go hand-in-hand with mental health issues.
- The poverty that lasts for generations
Talk about the impacts of poverty as well as the causes. Explain the government’s assistance programs and the resources available to those in need, but be honest about the challenges people face while trying to escape poverty.
Pay Attention to the Communications You Make
Even if you’re not aware of it, your actions and inactions will impact your child’s understanding of poverty. Explaining why you don’t hand out money, for example, if you pass by a panhandler without making eye contact, is essential to your child’s understanding of the world around them.
Say, “I prefer to purchase meals for them rather than offer them money.” As an alternative, explain that you’re donating money to programs that help the homeless get food and a place to sleep.
Additionally, it’s crucial to avoid delivering the impression that hard labor is the only path out of poverty. If you tell your child things like, “I work hard so that we may live in a wonderful house,” your child may conclude that those who live in poverty are lazy.
Enlist the Aid of Your Child
A charitable donation may not teach your child much about being a good human being. He may be unable to see a solution to the problem of poverty because of his lack of prior experience.
Make your youngster a part of the process of giving away some of his old toys or clothing. Give some thought to how he can choose which items to donate in order to assist other children with parents who may not be able to purchase toys and clothing for their children.
As part of your food drive, take your child shopping with you. When you go grocery shopping for a food drive, bring your child along. To help those in need, ask him to select canned or dry goods that you may donate to those in need.
The more children understand that they can make a difference, the more likely they will go out of their way to help others.
Inquire about the Security Measures You’ve Put in Place.
If you bring up the subject of poverty with your child, they may get apprehensive. If you run out of food or become homeless, he may be concerned about your safety. As a result, you must disclose any safety measures you’ve taken.
If you find yourself in a tight spot, you might always rely on a close friend or family member to provide you a helping hand.” For those who can’t afford food, explain that the government has programs to support those in need.
As an adult, you know that even the finest measures aren’t entirely safe. Although you may never experience a situation where you and your family find themselves in dire straits, we all face the prospect.
Make your children feel safe and secure by reassuring them they have your undivided attention and commitment.