How War Affects Children

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Every child deals with wartime experiences differently and most children have been identified as among the most susceptible in the population to the negative effects of trauma. Research shows that the life of a child is threatened not only by weapons, but also by famine and disease caused by the breakdown of agricultural, medical, and social infrastructures in war. In a war situation, for instance, it is nearly impossible to establish socialization conditions that allow social moral development on higher levels. The interaction between children and war is a very complex process. Children differ from adults in their coping with war and violence. Often the negative long-term effects of war are underestimated. Children are exposed to situations of terror and horror during war, experiences that may leave enduring impacts in posttraumatic stress disorder. Severe losses and disruptions in their lives lead to high rates of depression and anxiety in war-affected children. These impacts may be prolonged by exposures to further privations and violence in refugee situations          War doesn’t automatically distress children. When familial and social conditions are not destroyed, children can successfully cope with war. Parents, mainly mothers, are most crucial to reduce a child's distress.  It is important to help children cope in a healthy manner during times of stress and to get them back to a normal routine as soon as possible. Parents and guardians must listen  what the children are saying by showing interest, concern, and sincerity. They must be patient and honest with children and let them express themselves in their own way. Let them make some decisions to help regain control over their environment. Allow  the children to tell and retell stories, including painful details if they want. Ultimately, parents must  provide children an opportunity to resolve their feelings about loss and to say good-bye.

Allwood, M., Bell-Dolan, D., & Husain, S.A. (2002)....
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