A World Turned Upside Down: Social Ecological Approaches to Children in War Zones
Neil Boothby, Alison Strang, Michael G. Wessells, Mark Wessells
Kumarian Press, Incorporated, 2006 - Psychology - 260 pages
When wars are fought in the midst of civilian activity, as they so often are in poorer countries, the effects on children are devastating. They may grow up separated from their families, without adequate health care, or resources, learn to take up a weapon and kill without thought, or may simply never have the feeling of safety. A World Turned Upside Down looks at the experiences of children in war from a psychological perspective, specifically from a social ecologist's view, offering thoughtful observations and dispelling myths about what results from growing up in conflict situations. In contrast to individualized approaches, the volume offers a deeper conceptualization that shows the impacts of war as socially mediated. In this view, it is expected that two children exposed to the same traumatic experience (e.g., attack) may have different reactions and needs for psychosocial support. If, for example, a child were attacked but remained in the care of a mother who provided emotional support and protection, the impacts might be less than what would have occurred had the child been separated from parents and not had the mother's support. Further, psychosocial assistance to war-affected children often occurs not through the provision of therapy by outsiders but via support from insiders. Each contributor has worked extensively with children in war zones in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. They step back from viewing these children as victims of trauma, soldiers, or refugees, and reveal a holistic understanding of their experiences within their families and communities. Knowing these social connections, they argue, helps pinpoint ways of fostering well-being and even reducing further violence.
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