The current and uncertain economic climate seems to raise concerns for future parents when planning their parenthood. The costs of living have been rising tremendously in the last decades, while the wages have been stagnating or increasing at a slow rate. Taking this economic situation into account, couples may feel concerned about how they be able to provide the basic and necessary elements for their children. Such concerns are also amplified by the recent figures of The Centre for Economics and Business Research, which indicate that the overall costs of raising a child to the age of 21 costs approximately £200,000. The costs have been explained as it follows:
- £74,430 for education
- £70,466 for childcare
- £10,942 for clothing
- £19,000 for food
- £14,195 others
Based on the high costs of raising children, psychologists assume that this may be one of the main reasons why couples delay parenthood or decide to have no children.
Although a child absolutely needs to grow and develop in a prosperous environment, it is necessary to remember that a child needs more than survival elements and rich parents.
Frequently, the cost of child-rearing is being viewed as an investment of funds rather a priceless experience, making couples wonder if it is worth having children or not.
It is clear that the figures are only estimations and they barely illustrate the reality of every single family, and therefore, the main concern should not be on how much funds a child needs to reach the age of 21. Instead, the attention should be focused on the parental involvement, the quality and benefits of it.
Looking at the real situation of raising a child, data indicates that children living in well-developed countries like Australia, UK and USA are at risk of developing poor social and academic skills. Some blame family’s financial background, while others point fingers at teachers, when in fact, the parental involvement has a pivotal role in children’s development. In order to better illustrate this statement, various sociological data indicate that children whose parents are actively involved in literacy and play activities are more likely to develop the right academic skills.
Nevertheless, the beneficial effects of parental involvement goes beyond that. In a continuous changing society, children need to develop social and emotional regulation skills that will help them adapt and function. As such, most psychologists consider that the familial influence and the emotional climate in which a child grows can either facilitate or hinder the development.
Firstly, children acquire social skills through observational learning. Children are more likely to behave and react by imitating parents’ gestures, words and emotional reactions to other people around them. Secondly, parental attachment and parenting style will affect the familial climate and consequently, the emotional development of the child.
As human beings, we are born with the innate desire to become emotionally attached. Since children are vulnerable and sensitive to the environmental factors, they will absorb the emotions around them. As a result, a positive parent-child relationships will promote the development of self-regulatory emotions, enabling the child to cope with distressful situations as well as becoming empathetic of other people’s emotions. On the other hand, a precarious parent-child attachment where the parent is emotionally withdrawn, can have long-term effects on child’s emotional development. Studies suggest that a negative parental attachment is often linked to children’s substance misuse, nonconformist behaviours or mental disorders such as anxiety or depression.
Steps to Be Taken?
It is indeed true that a stable financial climate can create a better environment for children’s physical and educational development. However, it is essential to remember that the emotional climate in which a child learns and develops has a higher impact on his/her well-being. In fact, mental-health professionals and governmental policies stress the importance of parental involvement for children’s socio-emotional development.
Since balancing career and personal life can become a serious cause of stress, parents should receive social support that aims to enhance their abilities to create a healthy relationship with their offspring. Such interventions also help newbie parents to become aware of the benefits of their constant involvement in children’s activities as well as become aware of children’s emotional needs.