Being Poor and the Effect It Can Have On You
The impact of poverty on a family can pack a powerful punch. Parents may feel guilty that they cannot provide adequately for their children, and each new day brings with it a fresh dose of guilt and a new chink in the armor meant to protect their self-esteem. Their self-confidence begins to erode as they find it harder and harder to put food on the table. Tension and stress in the family run high.
Children may feel embarrassed at school if other students know of their situation, and may even have to put up with some bullying about it. They may also feel jealous of their friends who are not dealing with poverty and are perhaps even resentful at their parents for letting the situation get to where it is.
This is why many parents and children in low-income families face depression and suffer the effects of it.
Sometimes Enough Is Not Enough
No matter how good a person is with managing their money, sometimes there is simply not enough to go around. Luckily there are Social Services programs to help families get enough food and to keep their electricity and heat from being disconnected, but the emotional scars that people bear from being poor run deep.
Families can, and do, recover from poverty, but children may have memories all of their lives about standing in the lunch line at school and having to let other children hear them say that they were on the “free lunch” program. Or maybe they can’t forget that they were teased for not having the latest kind of sneakers or that the toys they had were knock-offs of the ones everyone else had. Children may be resilient, but that doesn’t mean that they can just shake off the negative comments that they at one time had to deal with every day.
There are specific issues that come with being poor, issues that are sometime unavoidable. A few of the more common ones are:
Malnutrition — This is the most common issue among those who are poor. Even though there are food stamp programs across the country, the allotment a family receives may not be enough to buy enough of the more nutritious foods that people need to stay healthy. Being able to buy enough food in general also can be a problem. Parents may go without so that their children can have enough to eat. In turn, the parents become underweight and may suffer from other physical illnesses as a result.
Health — Health issues are constantly present in families who are struck by poverty. Besides the unhealthy side effects that come with not getting enough, or the proper foods, to eat, there are always colds to catch, infections to heal, teeth that need fillings and possibly more serious diseases. Any and all health issues can be prohibitively expensive, sometimes even for those who have health insurance. But family members who are poor, often must suffer through an illness that might have been nipped in the bud with early, and proper, treatment.
Education — Many people living at or below the poverty level may not be able to get a proper education because they can’t afford to buy proper clothes or school supplies, or even get to school. Other times, children may have to drop out of school so they can work to help support the family.
Understanding the Hardships
Hardships endured by low-income families are likely the primary source of anxiety and depression among family members. When parents are depressed, they are less able to be supportive of their children, and children may then begin to feel neglected and develop self-esteem issues of their own. With constant worrying about how to provide food, clothing and shelter for their children, it is understandable why a poverty-stricken parent may behave differently towards their children than parents of more privileged families, without even realizing it.