The research that will be done will focus mainly on children and poverty. It seeks to study how poverty affects children development; in order to successfully do this, it will deal with questions like; how is poverty related to development of children? Does severity of poverty amongst children vary in terms of sex? Does family structure determine the level of poverty amongst children? The hypotheses to be tested include; poverty has multifaceted impact on the development of children, the level of poverty amongst children is also determined by the family structure and most poor children come from poor families.
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The sample size to be used in the research is 150 (n=150), research assistants and professionals will be used in the whole process of the research activities. The preferred data collection technique will be triangulation in which both quantitative and qualitative techniques will be combined and questionnaires and interview will be the main means of collecting required data. The data will then be analyzed and report generated for consumption.
The research process is designed in terms of introducing the problem of poverty amongst children, carrying out literature review to determine what other research activities have revealed about experience of children in relation to poverty. Furthermore, the research process will be carried out in such a manner in which it adheres to social research principles and ethics.
Poverty is one of the major world concerns especially when it comes to developing economies; it is an issue that many poor children encounter face to face and the price that they pay is unbelievably very high. It is estimated that every year, a large number of children are admitted into schools and the children enter the schools with many challenges arising from factors such as poverty, which the teachers are not able take care of as needs.
Even so, the definite meaning of poverty has never been agreed upon. Some scholars have defined poverty in terms of monetary ability while others have viewed poverty as the lack of capacity to meet the basic needs of life. The significance of poverty has attracted the attention of many governments and multinational corporations. These governments and organizations have always set targets by which poverty should be reduced, particularly to ensure that most children do not suffer because poverty itself. The measurement of poverty level has always assumed the United States of American dollar as the standard of measurement (Khayum, 2003).
Poverty has a very serious implication on children who are deemed not yet ready for productive engagements in economic issues. Meanwhile, it is important to note that even though poverty has significant effects on the lives of children, the individuals who constitute children or an individual who can be referred to as a child is not well defined. In as much as their may be psychological and biological aspects indicating that one is a child, such as cognitive development and body development, the age of being a child is set constitutionally by different nations. Countries have different ages that define the level below which an individual may be considered to be a child. The fact that the right meanings of poverty and children are not well defined makes the inter-link between poverty and children a complex relationship (Khayum, 2003).
One may ask why poverty is linked to children yet it should be the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that children get basic needs. The fact is that as much as it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that children get their needs, the inability of the parents and guardians to provide these basic needs to children defines the poverty statuses of the families as whole; but the poverty affects children directly as they require much for their development such as schooling, medication, clothing and shelter.
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It is known and acknowledged that as adults suffer the consequences of poverty, children are the most hit since they are not economically productive and are not able to engage in any way in economic development activity to take care of their basic needs. Therefore, children suffer the effects of poverty by default when their parents and guardians are not able to take care of their basic needs and no one comes to their aid. It is like a custom that children who are born in poverty must just remain poor; for instance, this is witnessed in the caste system in the Indian culture. Such cultural beliefs have played a major role in keeping the children to believe that they are to be poor and hence such scenario jeopardizes the ambitions and dreams of the children to be successful in life (Singh, 2005).
There are several research studies that have been conducted on poverty but very little have been done on how poverty affects children. The research activities have mainly focused on poverty in general and have not actually done much in relation to how children experience poverty in life as they grow into adults. In order to feel the gap, this research study intents to thoroughly examine how poverty is related to poverty.
In fact, the research itself will be important in finding out how poverty affects children and how these effects are far removed from those that affect any other person in the society. Specifically, the research will be crucial to organizations and government institutions planning to participate in poverty eradication, particularly in developing countries. Moreover, the importance of the research is that it will also open a new front for research to be conducted on how poverty relates to children paying attention to gender.
The research questions that will guide the study process are:
- How is poverty related to development of children?
- Does severity of poverty amongst children vary in terms of sex?
- Does family structure determine the level of poverty amongst children?
Several researches that have been done in relation to children and poverty have explored different aspects of effects of poverty on children life in relation to poverty. Researchers all over the world have done a substantial work on how poverty affects health and nutrition (cite reference here. Whenever you discuss research, you need to cite it).. It has been found through research that children from poor families suffer a lot of nutritionally related diseases and conditions like kwashiorkor and marasmus.
The findings also indicate that most of these children live in the world’s poorest countries and villages. Moreover, researchers have found out that even amongst poor nations, there are relatively poor families that are not able to cater for their children’s basic needs; hence, the severity of nutritional problems arising from very poor families far outmatch the ones within relatively rich families.
A number of research findings have also indicated that the well being of every child is intricately linked to the functioning of the family in which he or she is being brought up in relation to socio-economic resources which are limited; these findings also indicate that the daily socio-economic challenges can significantly negatively affect the mental health of parents. The negative effects as demonstrated in the parents, in turn, are reflected in the problems and challenges in the children’s own adjustments spanning various facets of social-emotional development.
Most research activities that focus on children and poverty have not left out the link between the mother and the child. Research conducted on the psychopathology of parents has been concerned with mothers, who are directly involved with children; the fathers have not well been represented in such research studies. Research has documented high levels of depressive amongst poor mothers during their periods of pregnancies and also during early childhood of their children.
These depressive experiences have potential negative effects on parenting behavior which may orient a child to acquire certain traits. Poor and depressed mother are said to be less attentive than their rich counter parts to their children. Moreover, such parents are more likely than others to be hostile to their children; therefore, some children suffer repressive treatments and hostility from their parents due to poverty. The effects of maternal depression are more pronounced amongst poor families than other families; due to this, it has been found that such women seem to demonstrate high aversiveness in their parenting duties and demonstrate low supportiveness to their children, the behavioral traits of their children not withstanding (Luthar, 1999).
The child lacks quality parental to child interaction due to stress experienced by the mother. Even though fathers are not well represented in these research activities, parallel research outcomes have indicated that fathers also exert significant influence on the life of their children. With respect to this, fathers are expected to provide for their families, especially in developing nations where fathers are still viewed as the soul breadwinners.
In cases where they are not able to provide for their families, they are highly likely to get stressed up and hence divert their attention from children. In this case also, the relationship between the father and the children are most likely weak and children as likely to view their fathers as repressive due to harsh treatment they may get from their fathers (Luthar, 1999).
More research activities conducted in the recent past have also indicated that children born in poor families are highly likely to indulge themselves into substance abuse likely smoking of bhang, opium and use of other illegal drugs and substances; in this case, the focus was also placed on mothers in which it was found that poor mothers who are in themselves abusing forbidden substances are less likely to guide their children against substance abuse, especially those parents who live in the streets mostly found in developing nations; though this is not restricted to the nations.
However, parallel research activities have also indicated that despite poverty children raised supportively and with warmth are most likely to be competent and confident; in this case, it is proven that poverty is not a definite condition for children to experience challenges in life (Luthar, 1999).
Other researchers have also indicated that children who are brought up in low income families are highly likely to experience significantly varied number of problems. These problems are experienced in terms of cognitive development, academics and interpersonal relationship. These children are said to be more likely to repeat their grades or classes, have poor interpersonal relationships and, at birth, are normally lower in weight than children born in relatively reach families.
The intelligence of children raised in poor families is comparatively lower than those raised in relatively rich families. This has been proven through series of studies done with children drawn from relatively rich families and those from poor families (Luthar, 1999).
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According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), millions amongst the children miss a lot during their childhood due to poverty; the UN organization argues that poverty deprives the children of capacity to survive, develop and thrive. It also acknowledges that poverty makes children easy victim of exploitation, violence, abuse, stigmatization and discrimination by others, especially children. According to information by the UNICEF, children experience poverty as the part of environment that interferes with there mental, spiritual, emotional and physical development. Moreover, the experience of children with regards to poverty is also through their hands, hearts and minds.
For instance, when they begin a day without a nutritious meal and or engaging in risky labor the children’s emotional capacity and also their bodily growth are greatly hindered by poverty; hence, poverty is a measure of disempowerment amongst children who are not able to participate in activities that have almost entirely remained a preserve of the children brought up in materially rich families.
More information from UNICEF indicates that research done has proven that living in a poverty environment offers children insufficient stimulation and emotional support to children (United Nation Children’s Fund, 2005).
According UNICEF, children suffer multidimensional poverty; the UNICEF offered funding for a research conducted by London School of Economics and the University of Bristol. The research focused on seven aspects of what UNICEF described as severe deprivation that affects children living in developing countries. These dimensions included sufficient food, proper and appropriate sanitation facilities, safe and clean drinking water, education, health and shelter and access to appropriate information.
The outcome of the research indicates that more than half the population of children living in developing nations undergoes at least one of the severe deprivations. With particular attention to female children, research has shown that where poor families struggle to take their children to school, they have mostly favored male children and therefore neglecting female children who are hence highly likely to drop out of school; the consequence of this is low education amongst female children population in poor regions of the world. Even though campaigns to educate the girl child have succeeded significantly, the girl-child is still marginalized academically (United Nation Children’s Fund, 2005).
Poor families tend to have more children than the rich families. In many cases, the poor families have more children than they can take care of making these children to lack basic needs in life. With respects to this, research has shown that the number of children in a family is a significant determinant of the severity of poverty experienced by an individual child. Moreover, family structure has also been found to be a significant factor that determines the poverty amongst children.
According to a number of research findings, female-headed families in developing nations are poorer than male-headed ones and that poverty is more severe in women and children than males. Even though the main causes of male-headed families have not been well explored through research, research findings have indicated that out-migration by men to other parts of the world or country is the cause of female-headed families; other causes include death and divorce or birth of children outside marriages which is very common in the rural areas of developing nations (United Nation Children’s Fund, 2005).
One of the major consequences of poverty in children is death; millions of children die due to poverty. Research indicates that poor families are not able to afford better healthcare services for their children and hence the children end up dying due to diseases that are preventable and treatable. Besides, many children suffer from malnutrition which weakens their body and therefore makes them vulnerable to other diseases some of which are very fatal while others may have lifelong effects on the poor children (United Nation Children’s Fund, 2005: Burnett et al, 2005).
Other researchers have also found out that the rising number of children in poverty has immensely contributed to making classrooms to become more diverse than ever anticipated. This has been found to make classroom activities to be more challenging than usual; teaching and learning processes have increasingly become difficult and those most challenged are the teachers who must ensure the children from poor families perform just like those from rich families do. In some cases, the teachers are forced to act beyond their classroom duties to assist the children through counseling them and giving them extra class tuition to help them catch up (Wolfendale, 2000).
Poverty amongst children can also be traced to cultural beliefs amongst a given community individuals; like the Indian caste system where one cannot be move to a higher caste once born in a lower caste; when a child internalizes such an information, belonging to a higher social class than the one he or she is born does not become part of his or her ambition either in school or daily activities (Kendall, 2007).
The parameters to be measured in the research process are the proportion of the children population adversely affected by poverty issues, the structures of families and how they affect children of various ages.
- Poverty has multifaceted impact on the development of children.
- The level of poverty amongst children is also determined by the family structure.
- Most poor children come from poor families.
Participants. The participants of the research will be selected from amongst the poor families paying attention representation of family structures; they will also be drawn from community workers, children organizations and international organizational agencies specializing in poverty reduction activities. In this case, stratified sampling will be used to ensure proportionate representation from all the chosen areas of concern.
The participants will also include children who are able to give accurate information about how poverty impacts their lives. The study will make use of 150 respondents (n=150). The number may possibly increase depending with the amount of resources available for the whole research process. The research process will require 10 interviewers to help carry out the research study.
Prior to the material day for study and before the recruitment of the participants, the participants will be informed of the main reason for the study and what kind of information the participants will be required to give in relation to the study. It after this is done that the participants will be recruited.
Ethical research standards will be followed to ensure that the research process and findings are credible. The participants will be drawn from willing population and the drawing process will involve stratified random sampling; the choice of stratified random sampling is because the sample population will be drawn from different groups of stakeholders with direct links or concern to children issues and poverty. The participants will be allowed to decide or change their minds regarding their participation; moreover, they will not be forced to provide the information they will not be willing to provide.
Again, the research process will take place at the time when participants are free; in this case, each group of participants will allowedallow the privilege of proposing the time appropriate for them to participate in the study process by either accepting to fill the questionnaires and or getting interviewed. The respondents will also be allowed to withdraw their participations whenever they will deem necessary. This will ensure that the recruited respondents will be completely committed in the research and are willing to offer the required information.
The process of collecting the data may involve recorded of information got from them and this may necessitate tape-recording their voices. In relation to this, consent will be obtained from the respondents to allow voice recording to take place.
The whole process of research will strictly adhere to all principles of social research and methodology. It will deal with measurable parameters to allow for reliability of the whole process. Furthermore, the research process will be closely monitored to ensure that only parameters of concerns are measured with the specified research tools. This will ensure the validity of the whole research process. The research will also make use of knowledgeable research assistants and research professionals who will make sure the research process is not biased in any way and also to limit any errors as much as possible.
The research procedure will utilize triangulation as the preferred method of data collection; this is informed by the fact that triangulation gives the most accurate information when used as the main technique of data collection. The combination to be used in the data collection process includes quantitative and qualitative data. Closed series of questionnaires will be issued to various groups of people within the sample population; meanwhile, interview will be used to extract information from those parents who are unable to read and or write; besides, interview will be most appropriate in the case of getting information from children.
Moreover, there will also be qualitative analysis of records from books and report pamphlets. The interview to be conducted will be guided by the open endedopen-ended questions in a questionnaire and it will be the responsibility of the interviewer to fill such information appropriately into the questionnaires.
After data will have been collected, they will be compiled together and analyzed by a hired data analysis professional. Following the complete analysis of data will be the process of interpretation and compilation of report from the analyzed data information. The utilization of the report will be informed by the purposes and reason of the research study.
Burnett, M. et al. (2005). African voices on development and social justice: Pambazuka news 2004. Kenya: Fahamu/Pambazuka.
Luthar, S. (1999). Poverty and children’s adjustment: Volume 41 of Developmental clinical psychology and psychiatry. New York: Sage.
Khayum, M. (2003). Contemporary economic issues in developing countries. United States: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Kendall, D. (2007). Sociology in our times. London: Cengage Learning.
Singh, E. (2005). Caste System in India: A Historical Perspective. United States: Kalpaz Publications
United Nation Children’s Fund. (2005). The State of World’s Children. Web.
Wolfendale, S. (2000). Special needs in the early years: snapshots of practice. New York: Routledge.