Children of conflict
They need a helping hand
Childhood took place
Among fairies and were tigers
When hills were yours to tumble
Before they became soldiers’ barracks
And dreaded chambers of torture. ( Robin S. Ngangom)
Children come into the world with no worries or concern for their safety and survival. They enter the world itching to explore, driven to discover and investigate everything. But we paralyze them and halt their progress. Over the last ten years, two million children have been killed in conflicts throughout the globe. Over one million have been orphaned, over six million have been seriously injured or permanently disabled, and over ten million are suffering from serious psychological trauma. At the same rate children in Kashmir are suffering as well. A study by UK-based child rights organization, Save the Children, has revealed that estimated population of orphans in Jammu and Kashmir is 2,14,000 and 37 percent of them were orphaned due to the armed conflict.
Now do we have nothing to offer to our young ones except violence, hatred and death. It is commonly acknowledged that children who see violence are at increased risk for psychosocial and mental health problems. The present generation children in Kashmir also show a high level of trauma because of the war that they have come to interact with since their childhood. Terror and violence causes psychological damage, the extent of which varies from child to child, affecting their social and emotional development. The cognitive development of children is also harmed during war, as skills such as literacy, numeracy and critical thinking are delayed. There is direct impact on children not only physically but socially and emotionally as well.
War affects every aspect of a child's development. Children affected by armed conflict can be injured or killed, uprooted from their homes and communities, internally displaced or become refugees, orphaned or separated from their parents and families, and subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation.
Adults need to help children feel safe at a time when the world seems to be a more dangerous place to live in. Parents and teachers in particular must help youngsters understand current events factually and how events do or do not impact their lives, and how to handle their emotional reactions. The degree to which children are affected will vary depending on personal circumstances. Children who have suffered a personal loss from, or had firsthand exposure to terrorist acts or military actions will be much weaker and easily hurt emotionally. All children, however, are likely to be affected in some way by conflict or violence.
For many, the guidance of caring adults will make the difference between being overwhelmed and developing life-long emotional and psychological coping skills. Teachers and caretakers can help restore children’s sense of security by modelling calm and in-control behavior, which will give them a sense of self-esteem, self confidence and self control. It is crucial to provide opportunity for children to discuss their concerns and to help them separate real from imagined fears and to develop their cognitive competence – a reasonable level of intelligence or realistic planning. Teachers should create an educational climate, which should be emotionally positive, open and supportive and appropriate role models which encourage constructive coping; an active coping style rather than a passive approach – a tendency to look to the future rather than to the horrible past.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 26 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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