this is the work I did for impacts on children - it includes a bit about poverty.
hope it helps
Factors that can impact on the lives of children and young people can be social, economic, environmental, and cultural.
• Lack of social/friendship networks.
Children need friendships to develop their interaction, emotional understanding, empathy and social skills. Children who lack these networks tend to feel isolated and therefore isolate themselves more. They may suffer insecurities about themselves and be withdrawn and shy. They may struggle to communicate, share and understand the needs and feelings of others. As they grow older the insecurities may lead to self hated and self harm. They will lack people to confide in or go to for advice. They may find themselves drawn into ‘the wrong crowd’ because they seem welcoming, and as a result find themselves manipulated.
• Poor parental supervision/neglect
Without guidance children do not learn the correct ways to behave. This will cause them to come into conflict at school because they do not know or understand acceptable boundaries. They may be unaware of the dangers they can face in life. They may have a distorted view of their own abilities and may believe that they are allowed to do what they want because they are never prevented. They may believe they are unloved, unimportant and unvalued and as they grow older this could lead to depression and self harm. The lack of boundaries could result in them becoming involved in crime and anti-social behaviour. Neglect could lead to health problems through malnutrition. They may struggle to form social relationships because of their lack of personal hygiene. Poor clothing could lead to bullying and teasing, causing them to withdraw and become isolated.
If the child suffers from illness or disability they may find they frequently miss school, they may then miss large chunks of their education and struggle to achieve. It may cause them to miss out on activities such as sports, which could leave them feeling isolated. These feelings could develop into anger or resentment and may cause them to have behavioural problems. They may be misjudged as lacking intelligence and therefore not given challenges, leading to boredom and perceived disruptive behaviour.
If the child is the carer of a parent suffering illness or disability this can lead to emotional difficulties. The child may struggle to understand the role reversal they are experiencing, viewing themselves as being on a par with adults and more mature than their peers, resulting in them struggling to form friendships. They may become resentful at missing out on their childhood and present challenging behaviour. They may suffer anxiety whilst away from home and worry about their parent, resulting in a failure to engage in their education. They may not fulfil their potential in life as much of it will be dedicated to being a carer. Having a parent with a long term illness or disability could also lead to financial hardship due to lack of employment.
• Criminal or anti –social behaviour
Whether it is behaviour presented by the child, a sibling or parent it could result in the child being taken into care. A parent could be absent for a length of time, if imprisoned, causing emotional stress. The child may perceive the behaviour as normal or acceptable, especially if it is being carried out by the parents and copy it. It may result in a transient lifestyle, as they could be re-housed as a result of anti-social behaviour. This would result in the child suffering a disrupted education and struggling to form long term stable friendships.
The impact of addictions on children can be various. They can suffer health problems, if their mother had a drug or alcohol problem during pregnancy. They may suffer poverty due to lack of employment, or if the addiction is gambling. They may suffer from neglect, abuse or/and violence. If they have younger siblings they may find themselves responsible for their care and therefore may suffer stress and feel isolated. They may feel scared and find it difficult to speak to people for fear of getting in trouble or going into care. They may ultimately find themselves in care if the addictions result in their parents being unable to care for them. They may become involved in crime to support their family. At school they may be disruptive or withdrawn, have mood swings and outbursts of violence.
• Parental separation
This can leave a child feeling very insecure and frightened. They may become quiet and withdrawn. They may become very emotional, clingy and tearful or become violent and abusive. They may feel angry, let down and abandoned. Their work and concentration at school may suffer as a result of any stress and worry they may be feeling. They may suffer poverty as a result of a fall in the household income. They may suffer a dramatic change in lifestyle that leaves them confused.
Economic and Environmental factors
This can result from low income, unemployment, parental separation, illness or disability, addictions, or criminal activities. Children may suffer malnutrition or a poor diet as a result of their parents being unable to afford quality food. This could result in lack of concentration or poor performance at school. They could also suffer other health related issues. They may be the subject of bullying as a result of their clothing or because they do not have the latest ‘must have’ accessories. They will probably miss out on further education due to the costs involved, or as a result of the need to find employment to help support the family.
• Poor housing
One of the side effects of poverty is poor housing. People on low income are often dependent on local authority housing. This may result in overcrowding, for example being housed in a bedsit or home with insufficient bedrooms. This means the child has no privacy, or personal space. They may struggle with homework and course work because of the lack of a quiet space in which to complete it. The housing provided may be of a poor quality – suffering damp or be in disrepair. This could have a detrimental effect on the child’s health – causing asthma or frequent colds and coughs. It will probably be in a less desirable area or could be in an area with social disorder problems. This may result in the children becoming isolated, as their parents may be fearful of letting them out to play or they may themselves become involved in anti-social behaviour and criminal activities.
• Lack of academic achievement
Children whose parents have had a poor education or lack numeracy and literacy skills can struggle at school. Their parents may show little or no interest in their education and as a result they may also lose interest. The parents may not attend school progress meetings so they will have little understanding of their child’s achievements and therefore the child will not receive praise and encouragement to continue. The parents will struggle to support the child in homework and coursework and the child will therefore struggle. This may cause them to get in trouble as a result of uncompleted assignments. They might ‘fail’ in their education, as a result, and struggle to get employment as an adult.
• Religious beliefs and customs
Children may have to attend a school associated with their religion, and may therefore receive a less balanced education. They may struggle to understand other people’s religion or lifestyle choices, if it goes against what they are taught. This may leave them confused or feeling isolated and struggling to interact with the wider community. They may also experience or witness abuse on the grounds of their religious beliefs and customs, leaving them not only confused and isolated but fearful.
• Ethnic and cultural customs
Children may have different forms of attire, causing them to be teased or bullied. Their culture may view interaction between men and women in a different way and the children will struggle to recognise what is acceptable at school as it differs to home. This could cause them to come into conflict with school rules or to be perceived as a trouble maker.
• Transient lifestyle
The child and their family could move around frequently; for example they may come from Gypsy Roma Traveller community. This means their education will be inconsistent and interrupted. They will be unable to form close friendships and lack a support network outside their close family and community.
Although dealt with separately, many of these factors are interconnected; unemployment or low income can lead to poor housing. Poor housing can lead to health problems, which can lead to frequent school absences. They will not only affect the child’s present lifestyle and health, but also their future, right through to adulthood. This pattern could then continue into the lives of their children. Without support and intervention, they and their families could find themselves trapped in a cycle of disadvantage.
Level three diploma guide, handbook