A Framework for Understanding Poverty Ruby Payne, PhD, Aha Process Inc, Highlands TX.

77562, 2005 Bridges Out 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. • Generational 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 exceptions • 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 educators 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 emotional 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 skill or talent Some Statistics about Poverty

Immigrant children are twice as likely to be poor as native born children. particularly in negative situations. etc. • Support Systems: Having friends. who are nurturing to the child. • Physical: Having physical health and mobility. 34. • Knowledge of Hidden Rules: Knowing the unspoken cues and habits of a group. 31. immigrant children are at a greater risk of being poor. • Relationships/Role Models: Having frequent access to adults who are appropriate. Children under six living in female led homes have a poverty rate of 53.6 percent. • Emotional: Being able to choose and control emotional responses. • Spiritual: Believing in divine purpose and guidance. For children under 18 it was 17. and who do not engage in selfdestructive behavior. Poverty-prone children are more likely to be in a single parent family.7% o African Am.• • • • • • • • The poverty rate in 2003 for all individuals was 12. and give birth during teen years. . Regardless of race. There are external resources.3 percent The foreign born population has increased by 57 percent since 1990 to 30 million. Poor inner-city kids are seven times more likely to be victims of child abuse or neglect.7 percent which is more than five times the rate for children in married-couple households (9.6% o Caucasian 14. Percentage of children in poverty by race: o All Races 17.7%).3% o Hispanic 29. 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. and backup resources available to access in times of need.5 percent.. poor children are more likely than non-poor children to suffer developmental delays. • Mental: Having the mental abilities and acquired skills (reading. For parents of children who work full time.5% o Native Am. and for children under 6 it was 20. drop out of high-school.1% o Asian 12. computing) to deal with daily life. family. writing.9% Definitions: • Financial: Having the money to purchase goods and services.

Traditions and history most important. Believes in choice.Hidden Rules among Classes Hidden rules are unspoken cues and habits of a group. achievement WEALTH One-of-a-kind objects. invested. Love and acceptance conditional and related to social standing and connections. Emphasis is on social exclusion. Love and acceptance conditional and based largely upon achievement Work. Label important. Financial. Language is about negotiation Tends to be patriarchal Sees world in terms of national setting. Emphasis is an selfgovernance and selfsufficiency. but not particularly for economic groups. Sense of humor is highly valued. Distinct cueing systems exist between and among groups and economic classes. Achievement is highly valued. Future most important. Social inclusion of people he/she likes. To be conserved. Clothing valued for its quality and acceptance into norm of middle class. Decision made partially on basis of tradition and decorum. MIDDLE CLASS Things To be managed. Can change future with good choices now. political. Crucial for climbing success ladder and making money. spent. Love and acceptance conditional. Is for connections. based upon whether individual is liked Survival. Believes in fate. Is for acquisition and stability. Casual register. Noblesse oblige. Key question: Was it presented well? Presentation important. Hidden Rules Among Classes POVERTY POSSESSIONS MONEY PERSONALITY People To be used. political. Key question: Did you like it? Quality important. Necessary tradition for making and maintaining connections. Decisions made against future ramifications. pedigrees. legacies. Clothing valued for its artistic sense and expression Designer important. Present most important. Formal register. Formal register. Language is about networking Depends on who has money Sees world in terms of international view. Key question: Did you have enough? Quantity important. social connections are highly valued. Is far entertainment. social connections SOCIAL EMPHASIS FOOD CLOTHING TIME EDUCATION DESTINY LANGUAGE FAMILY STRUCTURE WORLD VIEW LOVE DRIVING . Clothing valued for individual style and expression of personality. Financial. Decisions made for moment based on feelings or survival Valued and revered as abstract but not as reality. Cannot do much mitigate chance. Language is about survival Tends to be matriarchal Sees world in terms of local setting. This is generally recognized for racial and ethnic groups. relationships.

Choice is hardly ever considered. • Importance for non-verbal/kinetic communication. • Ownership of people. Time is flexible and not measured. Failure at anything is the source of stories and belittling comments. • Oral language tradition with little reading ability. • Mating dance is about using the body in a sexual way and verbally and sub-verbally complimenting body parts. A job is about making enough to survive. • Negative orientation. How these Characteristics Surface in Adults from Poverty • Getting mad and quitting their job • Working hard if they like you . • Survival orientation. • Belief in fate. Touch is used to communicate. when one can merely survive then respite from survival is important. • Time occurs only in the present. setting goals and planning ahead are not part of generational poverty. • Sense of humor is highly valued as entertainment is one of the key aspects of poverty. Discussions center on people and relationships. Life is one way or the other. Being proactive. no middle ground. The TV is almost always on. • Identity tied to lover/fighter role for men. • Polarized thinking. Destiny and fate are major tenets of the belief system. • Matriarchal structure with the mother being the most powerful position in the family. Options are hardly ever examined. • Significance of entertainment. Many of people in poverty are unkempt and cluttered. There is little room for the abstract.FORCES HUMOR entertainment About people & sex About situations About social faux pas Characteristics of Generational Poverty • Background noise. • Identity is tied to rescuer/martyr role for women. • Lives in the moment and does not consider future ramifications. • Importance of personality. no matter what the circumstances. • Importance of relationships. The future does not exist. People are possessions. • Lack of order and organization. Individual personality is what one brings to the setting because money is not brought.

actively distrusting organizations and the people who represent the organization. enjoy a sense of humor. Men socialize with men. They see organizations as dishonest. and takes no crap. usually saying exactly what is on their mind. Need emotional warmth from boss and colleagues in order to feel comfortable. Using survival language Not emotionally reserved when angry. using their personality to entertain. . Require a level of integrity from management. Women with children tend to stay at home and have only other female relatives as friends. and love to tell stories. is a lover. Role Models and Emotional Resources • A System is a group in which and individual have rules and relationship. Exhibiting possessiveness about people they really like. Men have two social outlets: bar and work. and women with women. • Poverty is rarely about a lack of intelligence or ability. • An individual operating in a dysfunctional setting is often required to take an adult role as a child where they become caught between being dependant and independent. • Many individuals stay in poverty because they do not know there is a choice. A real man is ruggedly good-looking. preferring to settle issues in verbal or physical abuse. What This Means: • An education is a key to getting out of and staying out of generational poverty.• • • • • • • • • • • • • • Not using conflict resolution. physically can fight. Extreme freedom of speech. A real woman cares for her man by feeding him and downplaying his shortcomings. Showing favoritism for certain people and giving them preferential treatment. • Being dysfunctional is the extent to which an individual cannot get their needs met within the system. • All systems are dysfunctional to some extent and a system is not equally functional or dysfunctional for each individual within the system. Need a greater amount of space to allow for uniqueness of their personalities. Very independent Periodically need time off or arrive late due to family emergencies. • Schools are virtually the only place where students can learn the choices and rules of middle-class.

. By establishing long-term relationships. To move from poverty to middle class one must tradeoff some relationships perhaps for a time in order to achieve. not necessarily about change. discipline is about penance and forgiveness. The key is to teach in discipline a separate set of behaviors. mental. and triumphs. o By increasing their achievement levels through appropriate instruction. apprenticeships. and or time constraints. It is critical that those working with the poor help to build these support systems. How can you provide emotional resources when they have no access to an appropriate role model: o Through support systems o By using appropriate discipline strategies and approaches. Discipline In poverty. All three are part of a continuum. • Provide information and know how • Provide temporary relief from emotional. • Help the people have positive self talk which they listen to in times of stress. • Discover options during problem solving. o By teaching the hidden rules they need to move into another class o By helping them identify options. with those who are appropriate. disappointments. Support Systems There are seven general categories of support systems: • Coping strategies which are ways in which one copes with daily living. Behavior Related to Poverty • Laughing when disciplined which is a way to save face in a matriarchal society. Two anchors of an effective discipline program is having structure and choice. financial. tragedies.• • • To become a fully functioning adult one moves developmentally from being dependent to independent to interdependent. o By teaching goal setting. ones that will help them survive in work situations. • Help people develop procedural self-talk which helps them talk themselves through a task. and mentoring. • Create connections to other people and resources they can turn to. To do this requires emptional resources and stamina.

• Formal: Is the standard sentence syntax and word of choice of work and school. • Casual: Is language between friends and characterized by a 400 to 800 word vocabulary. . It has complete sentences and specific word choices. Word choice is general and not specific. • Intimate: Is language between lovers or twins. • Most jobs instructions. Poverty is participatory and their culture distrusts authority therefore they see the system as dishonest and unfair. Angry response which is based on fear which may be related to loss of face. Harm others verbally or physically which is their way of life. Findings as Related to Poverty (New) • Those in poverty do not generally have access to the formal register at home. Registers of Language (New) To understand poverty we must understand language used. Complete only part of the task as they have no procedural self talk. ACT tests for higher education are in the formal register. weak role models and emotional resources. Hands always on someone else because touch is important. There are different registers which are important which include: • Frozen: Is language that is always the same as an example the Lord’s Prayer. Sequence is not used or valued. applications etc are in the formal register. which is indicative of a poor support system. Physically fight which is necessary to survive in poverty. • A problem is all SAT. • Consultative: Is a formal register when used in conversation but the discourse pattern is not as quite as direct as a formal register. Disrespectful to those in authority because they have a lack of respect for those in authority maybe because they know no one who is worthy of respect. Inappropriate or vulgar comments as they do not know how to react in other ways appropriate for middle-class society.• • • • • • • • • • • • Arguing loudly with those perceived in authority. Cheat or steal. wedding vows etc. The conversation is dependent on non-verbal assists and the sentence syntax is often incomplete. Talk constantly because poverty is participatory. or prioritizing as it is not taught in poverty. Cannot follow instructions because they have little procedural memory. Extremely disorganized because or lack of planning. scheduling. They only know the language of survival and know nothing about conflict resolution.

demanding. What This Means in Work • People from poverty need to have at least two sets of behavior from which to choose. judgmental. free of negative. . punitive. and curious. There are four parts to learning: • Cognitive structure is the fundamental way we process information. directive. • Teaching the poor to use the voice of an adult. • Discipline should be seen and used as a form of instruction. • Structure and choice need to be part of the discipline approach. win-lose mentality. • Concepts store information and allow for retrieval. both inside and outside of poverty. victimized. language of negotiation. often in question format. Many of the phrases used are conflict or manipulative and impede resolution. Formal register needs to be formally taught to those in poverty in order to get a job while the middle class manager needs to recognize that the informal register is used by the poor. 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 can also be playful. Learning Teaching is what occurs outside of the head while learning is what occurs inside the head. whining.• • • • Many of them do not have the vocabulary nor understanding of sentence structure Acquisition of language only happens where there is a significant relationships between the learner and teacher. Learning is what is needed in learning for all people. is important for their success and can become an alternative for physical aggression. and language which make up the processing of the content. writing. one for the street and one for work situations. and sometimes threatening. • Parental Voice is authoritative. • Skills including reading. strongly negative or non-negative. It seems to managers that they are beating around the bush. factual. • The purpose of discipline should be to promote successful behavior at work. • Adult Voice is non-judgmental. computing. The story is told in vignettes. non-verbal. Three Types of Voices • Child Voice is defensive. attitude of win-win. losing attitude. The formal register story starts at a beginning and goes to the end in chronological order while those in poverty use a casual register story approach. It can also be very loving and supportive. evaluative. emotional. spontaneous.

A successful relationship occurs when emotional deposits are made with emotional withdrawals being avoided. • They do not have the vocabulary to deal with cognitive tasks. • They do not have the ability to hold two objects or sources inside their head while comparing and contrasting them. arrogance Rejecting feedback .. Therefore it is important to develop the following behavior: • Use planning behavior • Control impulsivity • Use evaluative behavior • Explore data systematically • Use specific language. The key to helping people in poverty is to be insistent in what your are helping the poor with. courtesies Clarifying expectations Loyalty to the absent Apologies Open to feedback WITHDRAWALS Seek first to be understood Breaking promises Unkindness. discourtesies Violating expectations Disloyalty. Covey uses the notion of an emotional bank account to convey how relationships are made. • They do not have the ability to orient objects. having high expectations and giving consistent support in helping to develop cognitive strategies. DEPOSITS Seek first to understand Keep promises Kindness. • They do not have the ability of the brain to hold an object t inside their head and keep memory of the object. people. duplicity Pride. location. object size. Direction. and shape are not available to them • They do not have the ability to organize and measure in time. etc. conceit.• Content is the “what” of learning. the information used to make sense of daily life. Support systems are simply networks of relationships. • They have poor problem solving ability because they do no t have the strategies to gather precise and accurate data. Relationships Nine out of ten times when someone moves successfully from poverty to middleclass it is because of a relationship with a mentor or role model who took an interest in them. In all relationships one makes deposits and withdrawals with the other individual in the relationship. People in poverty have cognitive issues which include: • No consistent or predictable way of getting information. in space.

We must find ways to establish relationship that will enable this vital resource to take root and grow. and individual personality. and community. • Identifies strengths and resources already found in the individual. though her main target is children and teenagers through schools. Ruby’s Additive Model can be summarized as follows: • Honors 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. family.In regard to poverty there are also deposits and withdrawals which foster or hinder movement from poverty. school. Ruby Payne has developed the “a ha” process to help people move out of poverty. speech. Deposits Made to Individual in Poverty Appreciation for humor and entertainment provided by the individual Acceptance of what the individual cannot say about a person or situation Respect for the demands and priorities of relationships Using the adult voice Assisting with goal setting Identifying options related to available resources Understanding the importance of personal freedom. Withdrawals Made From Individual in Poverty Put-downs about humor or the individual Insistence and demands for full explanation about a person or situation Insistence on the middle-class view of relationships Using the parent voice Telling the individuals their goals Making judgments on the value and availability of resources Assigning pejorative character traits to the individual The primary motivation for people in poverty’s success will be in their relationships. Dr. Her approach is based on dealing with the positive and helping them to learn how to live in a middle-class society for school and work by understanding middle-class hidden meanings. She uses the knowledge of people in poverty to build an accurate mental model of poverty. Additive Model for Working with People in Poverty Dr. .

Strategies are never developed to restrict. Encourages the development of strategies to respond to all causes of poverty. friends. diseased. but when they meet middle-class society they do not have all the assets or understanding of hidden meanings for middle-class necessary to survive. Most problems are defined in terms of deficit which needs to be changed from blaming the individual to not blaming the individual. deficient. and not to be trusted. partnerships. and ways of building success. individuals must have reactive. strength-based. communitywide approach to change. Cars and public transportation are unreliable and insufficient. but the positive approach also has its critics. To survive in poverty. . Many of the interactions with those in power are demeaning and frustrating. theories of change. People who are working in low-wage jobs and who live at the bottom of the economic ladder. Low-wage jobs come and go. Neither area of research in themselves is accurate and is tightly intertwined. The “a ha” process combines the accurate problem identification with a positive. along with a framework for building resources to succeed. live in an intense and stressful situation. It is reliance on family. replace. To survive. This inaccurate mental model is fed by media reports. program design. For the last two decades discourse on poverty has been dominated by two areas of research that either poverty is caused by the behavior of the poor or is caused by political/economic structures. The availability of human and social capital is also involved. people develop relationships of mutual reliance and they face down problems with courage and humor. The additive model offers insights into how hidden rules of economic class work. But the current mental model of those in poverty is that they are needy. Vulnerability of people living in poverty is very real and concrete. There is a need for accurately naming the problem and then finding solutions. housing is crowded and expensive and much energy is spent in caring for the sick and trying to get health-care. There are models that offer alternatives to the deficit model which build on the positive. and acquaintances who will help you. Identifies skills. sensory and non-verbal skills. or sanction those who exploit the poor.• • • Offers economic diversity as a prism through which individuals can analyze and respond to issues.

characteristics. 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 Decline in social morality Urbanization Suburbanization of manufacturing Middle-class fight City and regional planning 3. Sample topics: Drug trade Racism and discrimination Cash-advance lenders Sub-prime lenders Lease purchase outlets Gambling Temp work Sweatshops Sex trade Internet scams 4. practice choice. political. national. Behaviors of the individual Definition: Research on the choices. Human and Social Capital in the Community Definition: Research on the resources available to individuals. and develop power and influence. domestic violence Planning skills Orientation to the future Language experience 2. and local levels. communities. and businesses. Exploitation Definition: Research on how people in poverty are exploited because they are in poverty. and social policies at the international.Causes of Poverty 1. 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 Spending habits Addiction. . Political/Economic Structures Definition: Research on the economic. mental illness. state. 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 Economic disparity Racism and discrimination The Additive Process: • People in poverty are problem solvers • Stabilizes the environment • Provides support during transition • Build future stories. behaviors.

Communities must build on intellectual capital Quality of life indicators must be monitored and reported regularly in the same manner that economic indicators are monitored and reported. In partnership with people from the middle-class and wealth individuals in poverty can solve community and systemic problems that contribute to poverty. 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. and to build new resources. The rules for a different class need to be added to what is already known about hidden meaning. The community must provide services. to practice choices. to envision new patterns.• • • • • • • • • • • • • • Resources are to be developed by communities. 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 optimal way to build resources is to build on one’s strengths. All three classes of people must be at the table to work out solutions. and individuals. They hold that family structure evolves to meet the survival needs of the family and that they are strengths. families. Strategies must cover all causes of poverty. Using mental models for learning and reasoning allow people to move from the concrete to the abstract. . support and meaningful opportunities during transitions over the long term. Awareness gives people optional ways to stabilize the chaotic circle of life. from the behaviors of individuals to political/economic structures.