A_Framework_for_Understanding_Poverty_rev_5-10

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A Framework for Understanding Poverty

Ruby Payne,
PhD,

Aha Process Inc, Highlands

TX. 77562, 2005





Bridges
O
ut of Poverty


Ruby Payne, Phillip DeVol, Terie Smith, Aha Process Inc, Highland TX 2001




Notes By Stan Rowland

Rev 5/23/10


I originally did notes on
A Framework for Understanding Poverty

which

is an
excellent book to understand poverty and
worth owning for
review.

Since then I
have read an older version of their book
Bridges Out of Poverty

which adds some
additional insights. Both books contain much of the same content therefore I
decided to include both as one set of notes.


Some Key Points to Remember



Poverty is relative. Poverty or wealth only exists in relationship

to known
quantities or expectations.



Poverty occurs in all races and in all countries.



Economic class is a continuous line, not a clear cut distinction. Individuals
are found all along the continuum of income and they sometimes move on
the continuum.



Gene
rational poverty and situational poverty are different.

o

Generational poverty is being in poverty for two generations or
longer.

o

Situational poverty is a shorter time and is caused by
circumstances.



Poverty

is based on patterns
,

but all patterns have except
ions



An individual brings with them the hidden rules of the class in which they
were raised.



Schools and businesses operate from middle
-
class norms and use

hidden
rules of middle
-
class.



We can neither excuse nor scold them for not knowing the rules. As
e
ducators we must teach them and provide support, insistence
,

and
expectations.



To move from poverty to
middle
-
class

or from middle
-
class to wealth, an
individual must give up relationships for achievement for a period of time.

To do this one needs emotiona
l resources and stamina to draw upon.



Two things that help move one out of poverty are education and
relationships.



Four reasons one leave poverty are:

o

It’s too painful to stay

o

A vision or goal to shoot for

o

A key relationship with a role model

o

A special sk
ill or talent


Some Statistics
about

Poverty



The poverty rate in 2003 for all individuals was 12.5

percent
, For children
under 18 it was 17.6

percent
, and for children under 6 it was 20.3

percent



The foreign born population has increased by 57

percent

sinc
e 1990 to 30
million. Immigrant children are twice as likely to be poor as native born
children. For pa
rents of children who work full
time, immigrant children are
at a greater risk of being poor.



Regardless of race
,

etc
.
, poor children

are more

likely th
a
n non
-
poor
children to suffer development
al

delay
s
, drop out of high
-
school
, and
give
birth during teen years.



Poverty
-
prone children are more likely to be in a single parent family.



Poor inner
-
city kids are
seven

times more likely to be victims of child
a
buse or neglect.



Poverty is caused by inter
-
related factors:

o

Parental employment status

o

Earnings

o

Family structure

o

Parental education



Children under
six

remain particularly vulnerable to poverty. Children
under
six

living in female led homes have a poverty
rate of 53.7

percent
which is more th
an

five times the rate for children in married
-
couple
households (9.7%).



Percentage of children in poverty by race:

o

All Races

17.6%

o

Caucasian

14.3%

o

Hispanic

29.7%

o

African Am
.

34.1%

o

Asian


12.5%

o

Native Am
.

31.9
%


Defi
nitions:



Financial: Having the money to purchase goods and services.



Emotional: Being able to choose and control emotional responses,
particularly in negative situations.



Mental: Having the mental abilities and acquired skills (reading, writing,
computing)

to deal with daily life.



Spiritual: Believing in divine purpose and guidance.



Physical: Having physical health and mobility.



Support Systems: Having friends, family
,

and backup resources available
to access in times of need. There are external resources.



Relationships/Role Models: Having frequent access to adults who are
appropriate, who are nurturing to the child, and who
do
not engage in self
-
destructive behavior.



Knowledge of Hidden Rules: Knowing the unspoken cues and habits of a
group.





Hidden Rule
s
among

Classes

Hidden rules are unspoken cues and habits of a group. Distinct cueing systems
exist between and among groups and economic classes. This is generally
recognized for racial and ethnic groups
,

but not particularly for economic groups.


Hidden

Rules Among Classes



POVERTY

MIDDLE CLASS

WEALTH

POSSESSIONS

People

Things

One
-
of
-
a
-
kind objects,
legacies, pedigrees.

MONEY

To be used, spent.

To be managed.

To be conserved,
invested.

PERSONALITY

Is far entertainment.
Sense of humor is
highly valued
.

Is for acquisition and
stability. Achievement
is highly valued.

Is for connections.
Financial, political,
social connections are
highly valued.

SOCIAL
EMPHASIS

Social inclusion of
people he/she likes.

Emphasis is an self
-
governance and self
-
sufficiency.

Emphasis is on social
exclusion.

FOOD

Key question: Did you
have enough?
Quantity important.

Key question: Did you
like it? Quality
important.

Key question: Was it
presented well?
Presentation important.

CLOTHING

Clothing valued for
individual style and

expression of
personality.

Clothing valued for its
quality and acceptance
into norm of middle
class. Label important.

Clothing valued for its
artistic sense and
expression Designer
important.

TIME

Present most
important. Decisions
made for
moment

based o
n feelings or
survival

Future most important.
Decisions made against
future ramifications.

Traditions and history
most important.
Decision made partially
on basis of tradition and
decorum.

EDUCATION

Valued and revered
as abstract but not as
reality.

Cruc
ial for climbing
success ladder and
making money.

Necessary tradition for
making and maintaining
connections.

DESTINY

Believes in fate.
Cannot do much
mitigate
chance.

Believes in choice. Can
change future with
good choices now.

Noblesse oblige.

LANGUAG
E

Casual register.
Language is about
survival

Formal register.
Language is about
negotiation

Formal register.
Language is about
networking

FAMILY
STRUCTURE

Tends to be
matriarchal

Tends to be patriarchal

Depends on who has
money

WORLD VIEW

Sees world in
terms of
local setting.

Sees world in terms of
national setting.

Sees world in terms of
international view.

LOVE

Love and acceptance
conditional, based
upon whether
individual is liked

Love and acceptance
conditional and based
largely upon
achievement

Lov
e and acceptance
conditional and related
to social standing and
connections.

DRIVING
FORCES

Survival,
relationships,
entertainment

Work, achievement

Financial, political,
social connections

HUMOR

About people & sex

About situations

About social faux pas



Characteristics of Generational Poverty



Background noise.

T
he TV is
almost always
on
,

no matter what
the
circumstances.



Importance of personality
;

Individual personality is what one brings to the
setting because money is not brought.



Significance of ent
ertainment
;

when one can merely survive then respite
from survival is important.



Importance of relationships.



Matriarchal structure with the mother being the most powerful position in
the family.



Oral language tradition with little reading ability.



Surviva
l orientation. There is little room for the abstract. Discussions
center on people and relationships. A job is about making enough to
survive.



Identity tied to lover/fighter role for men.



Identity is tied to rescuer/martyr role for women.



Importance for no
n
-
verbal/kinetic communication. Touch is used to
communicate.



Ownership of people. People are possessions.



Negative orientation
;

Failure at anything is the source of stories and
belittling comments.



Belief in fate
;

Destiny and fate are major tenets of the
belief system.
Choice is hardly ever considered.



Polarized thinking. Options are hardly ever examined. Life is one way or
the other, no middle ground.



Mating dance is about using the body in a sexual way and verbally and
sub
-
verbally complimenting body par
ts.



Time occurs only in the present. The future does not exist
;

Time is flexible
and not measured.



Sense of humor is highly valued as entertainment is one of the key
aspects of poverty.



Lack of order and organization. Many of people in poverty are unkempt

and cluttered.



Lives in the moment and does not consider future ramifications. Being
proactive, setting goals and planning ahead are not part of generational
poverty.


How these Characteristics Surface in Adults from Poverty



Get
ting

mad and quit
ting

their

job



W
ork
ing

hard if they like you



N
ot us
ing

conflict resolution, preferring to settle issues in verbal or
physical abuse.



Us
ing

survival language



N
ot emotionally reserved when angry, usually saying exactly what is on
their mind.



E
xtreme freedom of speech
,

enjoy a sense of humor, using their
personality to entertain
,

and love to tell stories.



V
ery independent



Periodically need time off or
arrive late

due to family emergencies.



Need emotional warmth from boss and colleagues in order to feel
comfortable.



Requ
ire a level of integrity from management, actively distrusting
organizations and the people who represent the organization. They see
organizations as dishonest.



Exhibit
ing

possessiveness about people they really like.



Need a greater amount of space to allo
w for uniqueness of their
personalities.



Show
ing

favoritism for certain people and giv
ing

them preferential
treatment.



Men socialize with men, and women with women. Men have two social
outlets: bar and work. Women with children tend to stay at home and hav
e
only other female relatives as friends.



A real man is ruggedly good
-
looking, is a lover, physically can fight
,

and
takes no crap.



A real woman cares for her man by feeding him and downplaying his
shortcomings.


What This Mean
s
:



An education is a key t
o g
etting out of and staying ou
t of generational
poverty.



Poverty is rarely about a lack of intelligence or ability.



Many individuals stay in poverty because they do not know there is a
choice.



Schools are virtually the only place where students can learn the

choices
and rules of middle
-
class.


Role Models and Emotional Resources



A System is a group in which and individual have rules and relationship.



Being
d
ysfunctional is the extent to which an individual cannot get their
needs met within the system.



All sy
stems are dysfunctional to some extent and a system is not equally
functional or dysfunctional for each individual within the system.



An individual operating in a dysfunctional setting is often required to take
an adult role as a child

where they become ca
ught between being
dependant and independent.



To become a fully functioning adult one mo
ves developmentally from
being
dependent to independent to interdependent. All three are part of a
continuum.



To move from poverty to middle class one must tradeoff

some
relationships perhaps for a time in order to achieve. To do this requires
emptional resources and stamina.



How
can
you provide emotional resources when they have no access to
an appropriate role model:

o

Through support systems

o

By using appropriate di
scipl
ine strategies and approaches.
By
establ
ishing long
-
term relationships, apprenticeships,
and
mentoring
, with those who are appropriate
.

o

By teach
ing the hidden rules they need
to move into another class

o

By helping them identify options.

o

By increasing t
heir achievement levels through appropriate
instruction.

o

By teaching goal setting.


Support Systems

There are
seven

general categories of support systems:



Coping strategies which are ways in which one copes with daily living,
disappointments, tragedies
,

an
d triumphs.



Discover options during problem solving.



Provide information and know how



Provide temporary relief from emotional, mental, financial
,

and or time
constraints.



Create connections to other people and resources they can turn to.



Help the people ha
ve positive self talk which they listen to in times of
stress.



Help people develop procedural self
-
talk which helps them talk
themselves through a task.


It is critical that those working with the poor help to build these support systems.


Discipline

In p
overty, discipline is about penance and forgiveness
,

not necessarily
abou
t
change. The key is to teach in discipline a separate set of behaviors, ones that
will help them survive in work situations. Two anchors
o
f an effective discipline
program is having
structure and choice.


Behavior Related to Poverty



Laugh
ing

w
hen disciplined which is a way
to save face in a matriarchal
society.



Argu
ing

loudly
with those perceived in authority
. Poverty is participatory
and their culture distrusts authority therefore t
hey see the system as
dishonest and unfair.



Angry response which is based on fear which may be related to loss of
face.



Inappropriate or vulgar comments as they do not know how to react in
other ways appropriate for middle
-
class society.



Physically fight w
hich is
necessary to

survive in poverty. They only know
the language of survival and
k
no
w

nothing about conflict resolution.



Hands always on someone else because touch is important.



Cannot follow instructions because they have little procedural memory.
Seq
uence is not used or valued.



Extremely disorganized because or lack of planning, scheduling
,

or
prioritizing as
it is
not taught in poverty.



Complete only part of the task as they have no procedural self talk.



Disrespectful to those in authority because th
ey have a lack of respect for
those in authority maybe because they know no one who is worthy of
respect.



Harm others verbally or physically which is the
i
r way of life.



Cheat or steal, which is indicative of a poor support system, weak role
models and emot
ional resources.



Talk constantly because poverty is participatory.


Registers of Language

(
New)

To understand poverty we must understand language used. There are different
registers which are important which include:



Frozen
:

Is language that is
always the
same as an example the Lord’s
Prayer, wedding vows etc.



Formal:

Is the standard sentence syntax and word of choice of work and
school. It has complete sentences and specific word choices.



Consultative:

Is a formal register when used in conversation but the

discourse pattern is not as quite as direct as a formal register.



Casual:

Is language between friends and characterized by a 400 to 800
word vocabulary. Word choice is general and not specific.
The
conversation is dependent on non
-
verbal assists and the s
entence syntax
is often incomplete.



Intimate:

Is language between lovers or twins.


Findings as Related to Poverty

(New)



Those in poverty do not generally have access to the formal register at
home.



A problem is all SAT, ACT tests for higher education are

in the formal
register.



Most jobs instructions, applications etc are in the formal register.



Many of them do not have the vocabulary nor understanding of sentence
structure



Acquisition of language only happens where there is a significant
relationships be
tween the learner and teacher.



In a job managers want to get right to the point but in poverty many times
information is shared in story form which is not linear. It seems to
managers that they are beating around the bush. The formal register story
starts

at a beginning and goes to the end in chronological order while
those in pover
t
y use a casual register story approach. The story is told in
vignettes.



Formal register needs to be formally taught to those in poverty in order to
get a job while the middle c
lass manager needs to recognize that the
informal register is used by the poor.



Three Types of Voices



Child Voice is defensive, victimized, emotional, whining, losing attitude,
strongly negative or non
-
negative. It can also be playful, spontaneous
,

and
c
urious. Many of the phrases used are
conflict

or manipulative and impede
resolution.



Parental Voice is authoritative, directive,
judgmental
, eval
uative, win
-
lose
mentality, demanding, punitive
,

and sometime
s

threatening. It can also be
very loving and supp
ortive.



Adult Voice is non
-
judgmental, free of negative
,

non
-
verbal,
factual, oft
en
in question format, attitude of win
-
win.


What This Means in Work



People from poverty need to have at least two sets of behavior from which
to cho
os
e, one for t
he street and one for work situations.



The purpose of discipline should be to promote successful behavior at
work.



Teaching the poor to use the voice of an adult, language of negotiation, is
important for their success and can become an alternative for phy
sical
aggression.



Structure and choice need to

be

part of the discipline approach.



Discipline should be seen and used as a form of instruction.


Learning

Teaching is what occurs outside of the head while learning is what occurs inside
the head. Learning is

what is needed in learning for all people
,

both inside and
outside of poverty. There are four parts to learning:



Cognitive
s
tructure is the fundamental way we process information.



Concepts store information and allow for retrieval.



Skills including readin
g, writing, computing,
and
language which make up
the processing of the content.



Content is the

what


of learning, the information used to make sense of
daily life.


People in poverty have cognitive issues which include:



N
o consistent or predictable way o
f getting information
.



They do not have the vocabulary to deal with cognitive tasks.



They do not have the ability
t
o orient objects, people
,

etc
.,

in space.
Direction, locatio
n, object size, and shape are no
t available to them



They do not have the ability
to organize and measure in time.



They do not have the ability of the brain t
o

hold an object t inside their
head and keep memory of the object.



They have poor problem solving ability because they do no t have the
strategies to gather precise and accu
rate data.



They do not have the ability to hold two objects or sources inside their
head while comparing and contrasting them.


Therefore it is important to develop the following behavior:



U
se planning behavior



C
ontrol impulsivity



U
se evaluative behavior



E
xplore data systematically



U
se specific language.


The key to helping people in poverty is to be insistent in what your are helping
the poor with, hav
ing

high expectations and giv
ing

consistent support in helping
to develop cognitive strategies.


Relations
hips

Nine out of
ten

times when someone moves successfully from poverty to middle
-
class

it

is because of a relationship with a mentor or role model who took an
interest in them. Support systems are simply networks of relationships.


Covey uses the notion o
f an emotional bank account to convey how relationships
are made. In all relationships one makes deposits and withdrawals with the other
individual in the relationship. A successful relationship occurs when emotional
deposits are made with emotional withdr
awals being avoided.



DEPOSITS


WITHDRAWALS

Seek first to understand

Seek first to be understood

Keep promises

Breaking promises

Kindness, courtesies

Unkindness, discourtesies

Clarifying expectations

Violating expec
tations

Loyalty to the absent

Disloyalty, duplicity

Apologies

Pride
,

conceit, arrogance

Open to feedback

Rejecting feedback


In regard to poverty there are also deposits and withdrawals which foster or
hinder movement from poverty.







Deposits Made
to Individual
in
Poverty

Withdrawals Made From Individual
in
Poverty

Appreciation for humor and

enter
tainment provided by the
individual

Put
-
downs about humor or the
individual

Acceptance of what the individual
can
n
ot say about a person or situ
ation

Insistence and demands for full
explanation about a person or situation

Respect for the demands and priorities
of relationships

Insistence on the middle
-
class view of
relationships

Using the adult voice

Using the parent voice

Assisting with goal s
etting

Telling the individuals their goals

Identifying options related to available
resources

Making judgments on the value and
availability of resources

Understanding the importance of
personal freedom, speech
,

and
individual personality.

Assigning pejo
rative character traits to
the individual


The primary motivation for people in poverty
’s

success will be in their
relationships. We mu
st find ways to establish
relationship that will enable this
vital resource to take root and grow.


Additive Model for W
orking with People in Poverty

Dr. Ruby Payne has developed

the

a

ha


process to help people move out of
po
verty
,

though her main target is

children and teenagers through s
chools. Her
approach is
based on dealing with the positive and helping them to learn

how to
live in a middle
-
clas
s society for school and work by understanding middle
-
class
hidden meanings. She uses the knowledge of people in poverty to build an
accurate me
n
tal model of poverty.


Dr
.

Ruby’s Additive Model can be summarized as follows:



Hon
ors internal assets of people from all economic classes



Names problems accurately



Identifies the mindsets and patterns that individuals use to survive
different economic environments and provides a vocabulary to talk about it.



Identifies strengths and reso
urces already found in the individual, family,
school
,

and community.



Offers economic diversity as a prism through which individuals can
analyze and respond to issues.



Identifies skills,

the
ories of change, program design
, partnerships
,

and
ways of buildin
g success.



Encourages the development of strategies to respond to all causes of
poverty.


People

who are

working in low
-
wage jobs and who live at the bottom of the
economic ladder
,

live in an intense and stressful situation. Cars and public
trans
portation
are unreliable and in
sufficient. Low
-
wage jobs come and go,
housing is crowded and expensive and much energy is spent in caring for the
sick and trying to get health
-
care. Many of the interactions with those in power
are demeaning and frustrating. Vulnerab
ility of people living in poverty is very
real and concrete.


To survive
,

people develop relationships of mutual reliance and they face down
problems with courage and humor.
It is reliance on
family, f
r
iends
,

and
acquaintances
who will

help you. But the cu
rrent mental model of those in
poverty is that they are needy, deficient,
diseased, and not to be trusted.
This
inaccurate mental model is fed by media reports.


For the last two decades
discourse on poverty has

been dominated by t
w
o areas
of research

tha
t

either poverty is caused
by the behavior of the poor or
is caused
by political/economic structures. Neither
area of research in themselves is
accurate and is tightly inter
twined. The availability of human and social capital is
also involved. Strategies a
re never developed to restrict, replace
,

or sanction
those who exploit the poor.


There is a need for accurately naming the problem and then finding solutions.
Most problems are defined in terms of deficit which needs to be changed from
blaming the indivi
dual to not blaming the individual.


There are models that offer alternatives to the deficit model which build on the
positive, but the positive approach also has its critics. The “a ha” process
combines the accurate problem identification with a positive
, strength
-
based,
communitywide approach to change.


To survive in poverty, individuals must have reactive, sensory and non
-
verbal
skills, but when they meet middle
-
class society they do not have all the assets or
understanding of hidden meanings for middl
e
-
class necessary to survive. The
additive model offers insights into how hidden rules of economic class work,
along with a framework for building resources to succeed.
Causes of Poverty


1. Behaviors of the individual

Definition:

Research on the choices
, behaviors, characteristics, and habits of people in poverty

Sample Topics:

Dependence of welfare

Morality

Crime

Single parenthood

Breakup of families

Intergenerational character traits

Work ethic

Racism and discrimination

Commitment to achievement

Spen
ding habits

Addiction, mental illness, domestic violence

Planning skills

Orientation to the future

Language experience

2. Human and Social Capital in the Community

Definition:

Research on the resources available to individuals, communities, and businesse
s.

Sample Topics:

Intellectual capital

Social capital

Availability of jobs

Availability of well
-
paying jobs

Racism and discrimination

Availability and quality of education

Adequate skill sets

Childcare for working families

Decline in neighborhoods

Declin
e in social morality

Urbanization

Suburbanization of manufacturing

Middle
-
class fight

City and regional planning

3. Exploitation

Definition:

Research on how people in poverty are exploited because they are in poverty.

Sample topics:

Drug trade

Racism a
nd discrimination

Cash
-
advance lenders

Sub
-
prime lenders

Lease purchase outlets

Gambling

Temp work

Sweatshops

Sex trade

Internet scams

4. Political/Economic Structures

Definition:

Research on the economic, political, and social policies at the internatio
nal, national,
state, and local levels.

Sample topics:

Globalization

Corporate influence on legislators

Declining middle class

De
-
industrialization

Job loss

Decline of unions

Taxation patterns

Salary raise of CEO to line worker

Immigration patterns

Econo
mic disparity

Racism and discrimination


The Additive P
rocess
:




People in poverty are problem solvers



Stabilize
s

the environment



Provide
s

support during transition



Build future stories, practice choice
,

and develop power and influence.



Resources are to be

developed by communities, families
,

and individuals.



The optimal way to build resources is to build on one’s strengths.



We must develop resource
-
building strategies in all four areas of poverty
research
:

o

Behavior of the individual

o

Human and social capital

in the community

o

Exploitation

o

Political/economic structures




People build relationships by using the registers of language in which a
person lives. The rules for a different class need to be added
to
what is
already know
n

about hidden meaning.



They hold t
hat family structure evolve
s

to meet the survival needs of the
family and that they are strengths.



Awareness gives people optional ways to stabilize the chaotic circle of life,
to envision new patterns, to practice choice
s,

and to build new resources.



Usi
ng mental models for learning and reasoning
allow
people
to

move
from the concrete to the abstract.



People can be trusted to make good use of accurate information
presented in a meaningful way by facilitators who provide a relationship of
mutual respect.



T
he community must provid
e services, support and meaningful
opportunities during transitions over the long term.



In partnership with people from the middle
-
class and wealth individuals in
poverty can solve community and systemic problems that contribute to
poverty.



All three classes of people must be at the table to work out solutions.



Strategies must cover all causes of poverty, from the behaviors of
individuals to political/economic structures.



Communities must build on intellectual capital



Quality of life

indicators must be monitored and r
eported regularly in the
same manner

that economic indicators

are monitored and reported.