How Poverty is Affecting Clinton Schools
In Clinton, the poverty rate is 14.3% – slightly higher than the national average. This can cause significant stress on local families, many of whom are paying bills paycheck to paycheck. The implications of this trend don’t stop at overworked parents, however. Children are also feeling the stress. According to a recent study, family pressure, caregiver conflict, and financial strain can all take a toll on a child’s mental prowess.
Study author Chelsea A.K. Duran from the University of Virginia believes that dedication and willpower are the keys to overcoming socioeconomic obstacles. “The motivation behind this particular study,” Duran states, “was a need to better understand the development of self-regulation in the context of poverty. We know that stress in the family environment is a key pathway by which poverty may affect children’s development and their self-regulation in particular.”
The Importance of Self-Regulation
Self-regulation is an important ability in any person. According to Duran, “Self-regulation has been determined to be a strong predictor of well-being and success in many domains of life, such as in school. Educators have long identified self-regulatory abilities, including executive functions – such as inhibitory control – and delayed gratification as important domain-general skills supporting children’s ability to adapt to the demands of formal schooling.”
In her study, Duran examined almost 350 children from low-income families and their primary caregivers. She observed the differences in family processes and how it affected their child’s self-regulatory behaviors. The researchers found that conflict between children and their caregivers impeded executive functioning, while financial strain had a direct negative effect on the development of delayed gratification.
Solutions to the Issue
Providing support to low-income families is the first step towards improving children’s self-regulatory abilities and levels of stress experienced. Clinton residents can apply for a number of state and federal programs aimed at improving the financial stability of households with school-aged children. Some of these programs include:
- The Child Care Payment Program (CCPP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- The Weatherization Assistance Program
Family-based interventions can also help to reduce conflict between children and caregivers. Time with a trained therapist or psychologist can help families to address their internal issues and figure out healthy ways to interact. Therapy can also help children to learn better self-regulatory behaviors at an early age, regardless of their family’s personal or financial situation.
Self-regulatory behaviors such as delayed gratification are an important skill for any school-age child. According to recent research, however, children in low-income and high-stress environments often have trouble developing these abilities. The only way to solve the issue is through intervention, offering both social and financial support to Clinton area families in need.