Home is where the heart is. It truly symbolizes everything central to human existence. Over the years, few things have captivated the heart, mind, and soul of people as much as the concept of homeownership. Buying a home has become a symbol of success, a sign of having made it into society and also a source of security, stability.
Yet, propelled by urbanisation and employment opportunities, past several decades has given popularity to rental homes. When moving to a new city for employment, rather than buying a house people preferred renting a house. Doing so allowed them to stay close to work place as well as the flexibility to move as required without being tied to an asset. While this works out well for the adults, the same cannot be said about children. In this article, we explore what children may miss out on as the as the result of living in a rented accommodation.
An opportunity to develop a broader view
One of the greatest lessons that homeownership teaches children is the sense of a greater worldview. It provides glimpses into what their worldview should or rather should not just be limited to. For instance, homeowners have a greater incentive to participate in local activities or even civic life. Research has found that homeowners are more likely to vote during elections than renters3. In addition, owners also tend to actively participate in bringing about change in their local communities. Children who grow up under these conditions are generally more prone to think outward about what is best for society; as opposed to limiting themselves to their home or their family.
Creating a sense of stability and rootedness
Homeownership offers a child more stability for obvious reasons. Not having to move every few years or a child bereft of the fear of being evicted grows up being more grounded. This sense of ownership leads to greater confidence and the ability to pursue life dreams even though they may seem unattainable. The home stands as a base from where all dreams can be achieved - “win or lose, at the end of the day I can go back to the safety of MY home.”
Another facet of a child’s stability is the impact it has on their school life. Children who see constant changes in school as a result of moving residence are generally less confident and socially awkward4. This can be in part due to the challenge with becoming acquainted with their peers, unfamiliarity with teachers, or just coming to terms with their surroundings. By the time a child does eventually come to terms with their new surroundings, it may be time to move on. On the other hand, a child who grows up knowing that at the end of the school year they will return, come what may, grows up self-assured and headstrong. They are also less distracted and can expend all their energy on school activities. A number of studies have shown that children of owners generally tend to do better in school than children of renters.
Developing stronger bonds
Children relate to homes a lot differently than adults. For most adults, a home is considered as an asset that grows in value over time. For children, it’s a more emotional experience that inculcates a lot of what surrounds them with memories overtime. In this sense, children of owners have a greater incentive to maintain the property and its surroundings than renters. Numerous studies have shown that children of homeowners participate in the outdoors more actively. There is also evidence to suggest that participation in maintaining and uplifting public spaces is more inherent among homeowner children5.
In addition to a great education, the greatest gift a parent can give their child is a safe and secure home. A home can bring about a transformative change in how a child sees themselves and the community around them. Next time when you look at a home, remember that it goes way beyond just the physical building and consider the years of memories attached to it.
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