How do children experience war and what coping assistance do they need from adults? What can we do to raise children in war torn times.
According to a report by the London based International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, an estimated 300,000 children in more than 80 countries are participating in armed conflict. I personally feel that children experience war because adults bring them into this conflict. Professor Henninger mentioned in his post, “Culture plays a big part,” in how children around the world experience war. Children are seen as innocent and many times are used as undetectable threats in war zones because who would suspect that a child is carrying a bomb or other various weapon devices such as hand-grenades and high powered guns.
According to my research on this topic, children are used to having a safe haven and during war safety cannot be a permanent item, which is what children will need. The class text mentions that children’s memory is affected by not so pleasant images of being around a war zone, children can become desensitized to violence which could cause children to display violent behavior; reasoning on moral issues are affected, plus numerous other issues such as anxiety and depression are items children experience during war.
It is unfortunate during war time in various areas, young girls can become victims of rape and often young girls are used as “Soldiers wives” in various foreign countries (Garbarino, Kostelny & Dubrow 1998), where they are made to live in slavery and care for the soldiers every need, which includes intimate needs. This is why some of these young girls become pregnant and are then often time abandoned while the solider finds a new young female victim. Research has shown that once these young girls have babies, they seen as outcast and cannot return back to their regular family unit, due to most family members have been killed due to war zones. Young female and male children both experience major disruption to their family unit.
I have seen on new reports where children became instant orphans and most likely saw their parent or parents murdered during war and then the child is left to care for themselves or many times they may have to care for other siblings. Young males may lose their fathers permanently due to war and this loss may place this young man as the “Head of household”, where their maturity level is not consistent (Weisenmiller) with taking over such as important role for the family.
Coping Assistance for Children of War
How children will experience war is also based on how the adults around them handle the situation. For example, if the parent is able to be with the child by offering comfort during such a climatic time and by being upfront with the child or children of what is happening, this will help ease the anxiety caused by war. The United Nations in the past held special sessions on how to deter the affects of war on children who live in war zones on a worldwide level. Special curriculums have been set-up in many war torn countries to allow children to either discuss, draw, or play act events that occurred to them during war, so they share their story and not hold things in, which could cause more stress in their young life.
Assistant for children involved financial backing, which many times under developed countries do not have the mean, so international help organizations cans step in and provide the children with the physical and psychological help they would need to recover. Children need coping assistance that will help provide their basic everyday needs such as food, shelter, reassurance of safety and assistance with social development. Social programs such a UNICEF, Salvation Army, Red Cross, along with family, friends and the community will help children cope during times of war.
When a child is raised in war torn times, they need to feel valued and make them become part of the community again by assisting in keeping them in school, healthy, have food and water available. Children need truthful information provided to them during war times because it is very important that they have an understanding of what is happening around them. Overall, support from parents, the community, friendly nations is important in helping to raise children during war time, and also help the child keep a sense of childhood when war issues arise.
Berk, Laura E. (2009), Child Development Eight Edition. Pearson Education
Clements, Paul T, Jr., PhD,R.N., C.S. (2001). Terrorism in America: How do we tell the children? Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services, 39(11), 8-10. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/225547648?accountid=828
Garbarino, J., Kostelny, K., & Dubrow, N. (1998). No place to be a child: Growing up in a war zone. Jossey-Bass
Weisenmiller, M. (2007, May 11). Health: Trauma haunts children in war zones. Global Information Network. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/457557903?accountid=8289
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