Consequences of Stress on Children’s Development

The stressor I chose to discuss in my life would be hunger. When I was living with my biological mother from birth until the age of six, there were many days and nights that we went without food. My mother was married to my stepfather at the time and she had seven children at home and she was sick on top of all that. She did not work and neither did my stepfather. I remember that we would go some days without food and we would drink water or milk to fill us up. The refrigerator had little to no food in it and the cupboards rarely had any food. It was a struggle  to find food for us to eat. Sometimes we would eat spoiled bologna and molded bread by removing the molded bread. Back then I did not understand the struggle and how hard it was for my mom to take care of seven children with no financial support or any type of support from anyone.  Sometimes it was so bad that my brother was so hungry that he ate lard straight from the can. I use to walk to school and I would be so hungry but I would not tell anyone. At breakfast and at lunch I would sneak food in my book bag to take home and share with my brothers and sisters. By the time I was six we removed from my mother not because we were not being fed properly or going to school hungry, but because of my stepfather. My stepfather raped and fathered a child by my older sister who was twelve at the time and he beat my brother so bad he had to go to the hospital. My mom was in and out the hospital so she could not take care of us. Back then I was upset that they took us because I did not want to leave my mom, but since I have grown I now know that it was the best thing to happen. When I was placed into foster care, I never went a day without eating home cooked meals or having snacks in between. The social workers provided my foster parents with a supplement check every month to make sure that I was clothed and fed daily. I began to open up and talk to people and play with other children all because I was feeling better and was not experiencing hunger anymore. God has a plan for everyone in there life and sometimes we have to go through hardship and pain just to see the light at the end of the tunnel. God knew that if I was to continue to go down that path of hunger that I would probably not be here today or I would be on the street somewhere not knowing who I am. I am grateful, thankful and blessed that God kept his arms around my family and I in our hard time. My mother is no longer with us now but I know that she did all that she could do for us even up until she passed away two years ago. Not everyone who experiences hunger or malnutrition get to have a second chance of life but by the grace of God he spared my life to give me a second chance.


poverty-and-hunger1ghana-flag-2 hunger

The country that I chose to talk about is Ghana. Ghana is a country that has been suffering from poverty, natural disaster, disease, and hunger. “According to a study of hungry young children in Ghana, many become depressed or mentally impaired adolescents, although few became delinquents-perhaps they lacked energy”(Berger, 2012, p.226). A 2012 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis identified poverty as the leading cause of food insecurity in Northern Ghana (World Food Programme, 2015). It is sad that so many children go hungry everyday not knowing when their next meal is going to be. I found on a website 10 facts about hunger in Ghana, that “At least 45 percent of the population live on less that US $1.25 a day” (UN World Food Program, 2015). Even though Ghana has been struggling for so long with hunger they are climbing their way out of poverty and hunger. In the article Ghana has MDG success; Focus on agriculture must continue, states that “By 2006, Ghana was the first African nation to have nearly halved the number of people living in extreme poverty” (2012). “The biggest impact on reducing hunger and poverty is achieved when governments focus on supporting the small-scale farmers who grow the majority of staple foods consumed locally”(Ghana has MDG success, 2012). Through different partnerships and organizations, the children of Ghana will have a future in education and the rate of hunger will continue to decline because of the payout for the agriculture. The CARE and Cargill company will partner up with Ghana and six other countries to “focus on reducing chronic hunger, improving nutrition and empowering rural communities to address issues such as child labor and access to education”(Cargill and CARE, 2013).


Berger, K. S. (2012). The developing person through childhood (6th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Ghana has MDG success; focus on agriculture must continue. (2012). Appropriate Technology, 39(4), 46-49. Retrieved from

World Food Programme. (2015). Retrieved May 30, 2015, from

UN World Food Program. (2015, February 2). Retrieved May 30, 2015, from

3 thoughts on “Consequences of Stress on Children’s Development

  1. Dionna,
    I am so sorry to hear your mother died and you had such a rough early childhood. Thank God that HE kept you! I grew up really poor as well. However, my mother made sure we always ate, even if she just cooked some beans. I hated beans for a long time but I do eat them a little now. I thank you for bringing awareness to the extreme poverty in Ghana. I did not know half of their population are in that condition. It truly is unfortunate.


  2. Dionna,

    My thoughts are with you. It hurts my heart to know that there are people out there that go to bed hungry. I work in an Early Headstart program and we are required to give b’fast, lunch and a snack before they go home. We are not allowed to withhold food. We are encouraged to offer seconds, thirds and even fourth’s if necessary. After all, we may be the only solid meals they get every day.


  3. I am sorry to hear about your mother my condolences and also for the rough grow up you had. Thank you for being the awareness of the hunger that is going on in Ghana. Its always good to give back in whatever way that you can. I always admire my aunt for always having her house open and love to feed people. My aunt was the type of person and before she had something to eat she made sure that everybody else ate first even if just met you for the first time she always felt to put others people needs first.


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