People usually say that a child is a product of their environment. I believe that poverty, wealth, addiction, or abuse, what we see and what is around us has a major affect on who we become. Not everyone agrees with this but there is some truth behind it. I’ve tried to break down the areas that can set the stage or define who we are or who we’re going to be.
Single Parent Homes-Being raised by a single parent can have its advantages and its disadvantages. For example If a person is being raised by a single mom they can learn what it means to be responsible, how to be focused, how to put other people before your self, and how to raise children alone. It also teaches you to take the initiative and you can learn how to be self sufficient. In this way you pick up the reigns and move forward without depending on anyone else. However this can be a catch 22 because if the single parent meets someone that they’d like to settle down with, they had been self sufficient for so long that they may not know how to let someone help them. And handing over the reigns to someone else may be very difficult. Another negative would be lack of time being spent with your children. In order to provide, you have to work, but unfortunately working more than one job may be necessary depending on the financial needs of the family. If the parent is away for the majority of the day, the child may feel lonely and possibly unloved. This isn’t the case for every family. I was personally raised in a one parent household and I grew up feeling very loved.
Foster Care-Being in foster care for any length of time can have a profound effect on who a person becomes. At times, news stories or front page headlines shock society on what has happened in a foster home at the hands of foster parents. Some children are loved but others are abused and neglected. If this is the case, the child can grow up and not know how to express love to other people and they too can become an abusive parent. In addition the person may struggle with feelings of not being wanted by their biological parents. However, for every horror story that I’ve heard, there are twice as many success stories and not all foster children grow up in a negative environment.
Addiction-Drug and alcohol addiction are quite common in our society. It’s a parents job to raise their children up the best way that they can. Unfortunately many adults struggle with some type of addiction. For a child to see this kind of behavior they may grow up thinking that this is a normal way to live. Having an occasional drink may not be a cause for concern but living with a parent that is addicted to drugs or alcohol usually sets the stage for their own drug and alcohol abuse. It’s a learned behavior and some children are predisposed but not all children follow the same path as their parents.
Economic Status-In today’s economy many parents aren’t able to provide for their families in the way that they would hope to. Not having or having too much money can have an affect on children. For the child that grows up in a home that is wealthy they may not value or know how to appreciate hard work because things are just handed to them. Or as some people say, the children are “spoiled”. On the other hand the child that is growing up in poverty may not know what it feels like to be secure. They may be worried about whether or not they’ll have a meal that day or if they’ll have a pillow to lay their head at night. This can usher in fear, worry, and anxiety which may be carried into adulthood.
Abuse-Child abuse is everywhere. Whether it’s in the form of physical or verbal it does happen in many homes across the United States. When a child is raised in a home where child abuse occurs it’s common that they grow up not knowing how to model good behavior to their own children or even abuse them as well. Some fall into drug and alcohol addiction and they have extremely low self esteem which trickles into their relationships with others.
Every family has it’s problems and although I’m not an expert, I do believe that how we are raised determines who we become. We aren’t given a choice of where we live or who our parents are, but as adults we can make a choice to create a positive environment for our own children. An environment that fosters, love, security, and compassion.