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Child Soldiers - Wounded for life.

Kids are more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, and as they are generally seen as inessential in the eyes of most, there is less of an incentive to invest in their recruitment and upbringing. The idea of recruiting children is superior in certain fields to that of recruiting adults since children are typically more obedient and listen to authorities without questioning their control and command.

Most of the kids are kidnapped or forced into the army. Individuals who are poor or who have been forcibly separated from their families and who live in close proximity to war zones are particularly at risk. In other cases, young people may enlist out of a sense of responsibility to defend their country or out of a desperation to secure a steady income and food supply. Children are not just used as soldiers, but also as cooks, guardians, and messengers in the army. Sexual abuse is a problem for many of them, especially young females.

A child's life is forever changed by war. Insecurities and worries plague them from the time they are young. Wars cause famines, which forces people to survive in abject poverty. They lose out on formative years of schooling and, tragically, many will find their parents emotionally unavailable or dead during those formative years. Child soldiers are more susceptible to emotional distress under these circumstances.

Not only education but a child's moral growth is also stunted if he or she is a member of an armed group. Child soldiers, in contrast to the norms and morals of their society, are taught to steal, battle, and kill. So many of these kids learn to deal with their problems by resorting to violence, and they grow up to be antisocial and troublesome adults.

Those who suffer from antisocial personality disorder often lie and manipulate to get what they want. They have little regard for the feelings of others and can act on impulse or recklessly. It's possible they'll engage in criminal behavior without any remorse since they miss out on their essential educational years.

People with a diagnosis of disruptive behavior disorder struggle to manage their behavior. They have a reputation for being hostile or apathetic toward those in positions of authority, which contributes to their negative image. Their misbehaviour might include anything from fighting and rule breaking to violence, theft, and property destruction.

In other words, child soldiers are left deprived of education and there is a continuum of both illnesses. Neither forced fighting nor being manipulated by adults help children grow up to be well-adjusted members of society.

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This is such an important topic! Psychiatric and psychological studies have shown that war leaves enduring episodes in children and adolescents. According to an article, they suffer from conditions such as anxiety disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, dissociative disorders (disengagement in the external world, depersonalization, derealization, numbing, catatonia), behavioral disorders (especially aggression, asocial and violent criminal behavior), and alcohol and substance abuse, more than their counterparts – in countries not torn by war. Thus, it is imperative that they are provided with the psychological care that they desperately need.

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I feel like the role of the government, more so than the international actors involved, is prevalent in ensuring that child soldiers are provided help once the conflict is over. Sadly, as you pointed out, a lot of these kids are lured into the trap of becoming militants even before they turn seven or eight. Once they go through the events of conflicts, they never truly recover. I recall watching a documentary a while ago where a child narrated how he was threatened that if made an attempt to run away, his family would be killed. Such children are wounded forever, and are often reported to be suffering from psychological issues afterwards. The only actual solution to halt child soldiers…

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True, most traumas that a person faces as a child stay with him for the rest of his life so it is almost impossible to fully eradicate the affects of the conflict from a child's mind for the rest of his/her life. Strict policies can prove a major aid in improving the condition of these little soldiers.

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Your blog points out one of the most violent consequences of war. These children not only lose their right to education but also their right to live a free life. They are made to undergo these life experience, that are traumatizing for even fully-grown adults. You highlighted how girls are even more vulnerable, which is true but I feel like even young boys are equally vulnerable because in times of war soldiers misuse these children. Children who grow up in such circumstances can have extreme mental and physical health issues. I feel like it is not a case of which gender is more affected by these conditions but rather that both boys and girls are affected in different ways.

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Dania, you have rightly pointed out that be it a girl or a boy, childhood gets ruined. However a little extra damage which I think towards girls is the sexual aspect and how it not only ruins their childhood but their future aswell.

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Another factor that I would like to point out apart from missing years of education, and stunted moral growth is the trauma that plagues the lives of these child soldiers. War is brutal on the strongest of people and these are just children. With so much violence, and death surrounding them, there are bound to be some psychological effects. So, when these child soldiers return, instead of them just continuing on their education from where they left off, a proper reintegration needs to be put in place. These children cannot just go straight from battle field to school. Like the blog mentions that these children usually exhibit certain behaviors and they need to be given the psychological help they deserve…

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you have pointed out such a valid point. children need to be provided with adequate amount of mental help and support for them to overcome the trauma and bounce back to from where they fell.

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