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Higher education is a long-term aspiration with long-term results. So is homeownership. By association, parents who are homeowners therefore communicate to their children a sense that long-term goals, such as successful education, is vital to success in life. This tendency will then incline the children involved towards higher education and the long-term fruit of such labor.
In addition, Taylor also relates self-esteem and self-efficacy to higher education. Academic resilience and success are directly related to self-esteem and competency. Homeownership tends to contribute to a person's self-esteem. It creates the sense of being associated with material value that is the result of long-term investment. Parents communicate this sense of self-efficacy and -- esteem to their children, which also becomes clear when investigating children from families who are financially less privileged than those who own their own homes.
One such study has been conducted by Mistry et al. (2009). The authors focus on the model of Family Economic stress, and how this influences the developmental outcomes for children. According to the research, the economic hardship a family suffers influences a number of factors, which in turn influence the educational outcomes within such families. In other words, the sense of community, life goals, self-respect, and other related factors mentioned above are influenced as much by economic hardship as they are by economic well-being.
Again, this extends beyond the most obviously material outcome of children receiving a lower quality of education as a result of a lack of funding, although this is one of the major contributing factors. Children from families who suffer economically are indeed less likely to enter private schools or tertiary education, mainly as a result of material shortcoming. Other factors are however also influenced, and are potentially more serious in terms of their influence on the growth and development of children, and how these relate to the ability of such youngsters to function in the world as adults.
Factors such as perceived economic pressure, emotional distress, marital relations, and parenting practices are some of the influences that affect the development and education of children. When parents suffer economic stress, they are more likely than not to communicate such stress to their children, whether consciously or not. This stress influences the relationship between parents and children in such a way that the economic situation tends to become the focus of concern. Children who need equipment for school or sports for example are deprived of these necessities by a lack of funding to supply them. This creates a very negative atmosphere around education and its accessibility. Even if children were to grow up and receive bursaries or other types of monetary input towards tertiary education, the attitudes cultivated in this way during their young years are likely to deter them from successfully completing a tertiary degree.
This negativity can then be related to the perception of family economic strain and the resulting effect upon educational development. The stress created by economic strain within the family for example translates to emotional stress, which makes it difficult to perform academically. Parents who are stressed by their financial circumstances tend to be unable to regulate their children's focus and discipline in terms of their studies. Furthermore, in contrast to their homeowning counterparts, the children in such families tend to be less disciplined in terms of their social and financial behavior. Because of the lack of resources, any incoming funding is used towards satisfying immediate needs. Hence no focus towards long-term goals or a concrete value system is developed.
The value system ruling such families tend to be economically driven; finding whatever source of income to provide subsistence for the survival of the family. Factors such as job satisfaction and long-term savings are luxuries that enjoy only secondary importance. This tends to be a cycle that repeats itself over generations.
Specifically, Mistry et al. (2009) applied the Family Economic Stress Model to a sample of Chinese-American families. The authors found a strong correlation between family economic stress and the level of education found within these families. One interesting element was the finding related to economic strain and its link with depressive symptoms. This was found to be stronger in later adolescence in Chinese-American families.
What is important to recognize here is the fact that children are affected by economic strain in the family from a very early age. Unlike homeowning families, these families tend not to incorporate early educational tools in their children's lives. This can be the result of either a lack of funding, a lack of access to such resources, or both. This creates a legacy for the rest of these children's lives.
In adolescence, children form their sense of self in terms of not only their family home, but also in terms of their social environment. To cultivate a sense of meaning in life, some of these children will associate themselves with what they perceive to be the only way out of their financial circumstances. This could lead to criminal activity, and a complete distancing from the educational situation. Lacking any coping mechanisms could lead others to develop depressive and other mental difficulties, which also influence the academic abilities of the children in question.
In conclusion, studying the impact of economic factors within the family on a child's education is vitally important if the social and academic development of children are to be improved over their lifetimes. Such improvement will also have a significant impact on the overall economic well-being of the country, as mental illness and criminal activity will be reduced when academic performance and opportunity are improved for the children from the families concerned.
There is no doubt that the economic situation within a family influences the academic outcomes for the children in such a family. This is influenced by the parental educational level, the availability of funding for educational tools, excellent schools, as well as tertiary education. For families from a high level of economic well-being, the educational level also tends to be high. For lower-income families, the strain translates itself to the entire family situation. The relationship between the parents, as well as between parents and children, can be strained. The attitude towards education can also become negative, as the immediate concern is for procuring the means of survival, rather than the means of success.
It is therefore important to cultivate means of improving the situation for such families, so that the economy of the country can also benefit.
Mistry, R.S., Benner, a.D, Tan, C.S. And Kim, S.Y. (2009). Family Economic Stress and Academic Well-Being Among Chinese-American Youth: The Influence of Adolescents' Perceptions of Economic Strain. Journal of Family Psychology, June, Vol. 23, No. 3. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2761095/
North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. (2000). Socioeconomic Status. Learning Point Associates. Retrieved from: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/earlycld/ea7lk5.htm
Taylor, H.H. (2009). The Reproduction of Class Inequality: Relationships between the Anglo-American Economic Model, Homeownership, and Higher Education. Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences, Vol. 9. Retrieved from: http://www.kon.org/urc/v9/taylor.html[continue]
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