How Former Child Soldiers are Being Helped.

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Life after War: Child Soldiers

How is a child soldier life after living a nightmare?

Imagine being 7 years old and abducted by extremely violent rebels while your father’s hands are being cut and your mother is being raped; all of this while your entire town is burning and your friends and neighbours are being chased and hunted like animals. Not to mention that the ‘’revolutionary forces’’ members are enjoying the show with big smiles on their faces. Do not get scared yet, this is only the beginning of a nightmare in which many children in Africa live. Although the U.S. army and some other important forces are doing a good job rescuing the children involved in African conflicts, another big problem emerges; how to re-introduce child soldiers back into society. This problem leads us to the starting question, how is a child soldier life after living a nightmare?

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Studies of the journal Child Development show that both, wartime experience and post-war family and social environment impact the mental health outcome of the children. The first study followed 150 former child soldiers from Sierra Leone for two years after that country’s civil war ended. The results demonstrated that ex-child soldiers had a tendency for depression or aggressive behaviour. Scientists found that the age in which children started fighting was a determinant factor in depression, the younger the more severe depression. For aggressive behaviour, rapes and exposure to severe violence were considered the most influential factors.  The second study was ...

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