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Running head: Signature Assignment 6.

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Signature Assignment: The Effects of Economic Status and Violence on the Socialization of
the Child
Ma. Elena Bush
Fresno Pacific University
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The Effects of Economic Status and Violence on the Socialization of the Child

The American Psychological Association declares that Socioeconomic status or SES “…is

a consistent and reliable predictor of a vast array of outcomes across the life span, including

physical and psychological health.” ("Violence & Socioeconomic Status," n.d.). According to

UNICEF, “All children have the right to protection from violence, regardless of the nature or

severity of the act and all forms of violence can cause harm to children, reduce their sense of self-

worth, affront their dignity and hinder their development.” ("Violence - UNICEF DATA," n.d.).

The two subtopics “Outcomes of socialization and effects of economic status” and “Effects of

violence on the socialization of child” are both important factors in the socialization of children.

Economic status and violence could negatively affect the children’s quality of life and derail them

from their full potential, unless there is early intervention, or “strong positive influence and a safe

place to go to”, it can change the negative outcome in the child’s life (Lee & Ludington, p. 109,

2016; Osofsky, p.784, 1995). Economic status will be discussed first in this paper followed by

violence and its effects.

The article, “Effect of Family and Community Background on Economic Status” (1990)

states that “parental outcome (especially parental poverty), race and parental community welfare

use to be especially strongly associated with children’s economic outcomes…that emphasize the

importance of family and community influences.” (Corcoran, Gordon, Laren, & Solon, p. 366,

1990). The study among siblings from the same economic background and following their

progress into adulthood and how their lives turned out, were discussed in the article. They found

out that “men raised in poverty is more prone to living the same way as their parents who are

dependent on government assistance.” (Corcoran, Gordon, Laren, & Solon, p. 365, 1990).
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The statistical data in the article pointing towards the “negative effects of the low economic

status environment such as lack of motivation by parents and self-reliance being passed on to the

children” (Corcoran, Gordon, Laren, & Solon, p. 366, 1990) may not be necessarily true if the

child have an outside perspective perhaps in school or mentors outside the home. If the child can

see that there are other ways of doing things and not just rely on the government’s help, perhaps

they could make better choices in life.

In Weinger’s article, “Economic status: middle class and poor children's views” (2000),

states that “As income inequality intensifies the society becomes more divided, preoccupied with

status and prejudice and excluding subgroups who grow more isolated, estranged, alienated, and

resentful toward the mainstream (Wilkinson, 1996, p. 10)” (Wienger,, p. 136, 2000). The study

discussed in the article showed how detached most of the children from the upper class were from

the plight of the lower class children, although they had some idea about the living condition but

they could not truly empathize. The children from the lower class had more positive things to say

about the upper middle class lifestyle on how pleasant it must be to have what they need when

they needed it and not to worry where the next meal will come from; they even associate wealth

with happiness.

The sad truth is that low economic class and violence goes hand in hand. Low income

families could only afford to live in neighborhoods that are prone to violence and crime.

According to Osofsky’s article, “The Effects of Exposure to Violence on Young Children” (1995),

states that “The high rates of exposure to violence for children growing up in some inner-city

neighborhoods with pervasive violence have been well documented… children witness

approximately 10% to 20% of the homicides committed in Los Angeles.” (Osofsky, p. 783, 1995).
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These negative experiences distracts the child from enjoying their childhood, which are precious

time that could have been spent learning; engaging and exploring the environment. Instead,

children living in the violent areas had to live in fear, and would not spend time outside of the

home for the fear of getting hurt.

Lee and Ludington’s article “Head Start’s Impact on Socio-Emotional Outcomes for

Children Who Have Experienced Violence or Neighborhood Crime” states that “…children who

are exposed to violence are at greater risk for lower cognitive outcomes and for physical health

problems (Afolayan 1993; Graham-Bermann et al. 2010; Miller et al. 2012a; Wuest et al. 2003).”

(Lee & Ludington, p. 500, 2016). According to Osofsky, “Clinically, the negative effects of

witnessing violence range from temporary upset in the child to clear symptoms of post-traumatic

stress disorder (PTSD).” (Osofsky, p. 782, 1995). Clearly the harmful effects of children’s

exposure to violence should be acknowledged so it can be prevented, and children could be

protected from it.

In thinking about the children, their economic status and how this affects their future, as

teachers or caregivers we should be cautious of labels and judgement. It does not necessarily mean

that if they grew up poor, that they will turn out to be non-contributing members of society. It also

does not mean that children born with silver spoons in their mouths that they will be over achievers

and successful in life. Weinger states that “Middle-class children who cannot appreciate the real

hardships of a life in poverty may think that it is easy to get out of poverty, and hence blame the

poor for their disadvantaged position.” (Weinger, p. 144, 2000). One cannot truly understand how

the other person’s struggles are until they walk in their shoes, and children will not be able to learn

this until they are taught. A teacher’s job is to teach what children do not know.
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It is important that the children from different economic class should have an opportunity

for a closer encounter with each other’s way of life, so they can have a different perspective. The

common saying that experience is the best teacher, epitomizes this situation. Children first learn

from their parents and loved ones on how to behave in different situations. Some children may

not have good role models. If they don’t have other positive influences in their lives, they might

carry on the bad associations; not just with regards to how they perceive economic or social status,

but in every aspect of life: may it be manners, social interactions, or relationships with friends and

loved ones.

The position of being a teacher or caregiver, especially in the field of early childhood

education, is an important role. As teachers or caregivers, evidence shows that we can give these

children the proper tools for socialization such as: positive and kind words, modeling empathy,

tolerance and acceptance. Embracing our differences and celebrating our uniqueness are qualities

that are important for a child to learn, and this should be the goal that we want to achieve as their

first teachers.
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References

Corcoran, M., Gordon, R., Laren, D., & Solon, G. (1990). Effects of family and community

background on economic status. American Economic Review, 80(2), 362.

Lee, K., & Ludington, B. (2016). Head Start's Impact on Socio-Emotional Outcomes for

Children Who Have Experienced Violence or Neighborhood Crime. Journal Of Family

Violence, 31(4), 499. doi:10.1007/s10896-015-9790-y

Osofsky, J. D. (1995). The effects of exposure to violence on young children. American

Psychologist, 50(9), 781.

Violence & Socioeconomic Status. (n.d.). Retrieved from

http://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/violence.aspx

Violence - UNICEF DATA. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-

protection/violence/

Weinger, S. (2000). Economic status: middle class and poor children's views. Children &

Society, 14(2), 135-146.