The Psychology of Child Soldiers


While it well known around the world that child soldiers are militaristically beneficial, what is lesser known and acknowledged is the psychological effects that being a child soldier has on a child, especially in comparison to adult soldiers. Child soldiers are easily incorporated into warfare because they can be trained by force, brainwashing, or fear, given their ages, sizes, and places in society. Children can be abducted from their homes and forced into recruitment, but often times the children join forces because they have no other choices; they are faced with poverty abuse, or even in an attempt to seek revenge for violence that was performed against them or their friends and family.

Orphans, who were either born with no family, or whose family members were all killed during times of conflict, are the among the highest for recruitment. They are easily nurtured by the militia men disguised as the family that they have either never experienced or no longer have, obscuring their perception of the role of each family member, and their place within the family. But if winning their love through false nurturing fails, often the children will be too consumed with fear to cry out or object to the circumstances in which they find themselves. Whether they ran away on their own due to extenuating circumstances, or they were forced or abducted into the military, child soldiers become dependent upon said military for their food, shelter, and protection-whether or not they like them or agree with them. Because of this, they forcibly obey when commanded as sex slaves, to cook, clean, or carry ammunition.

Being that they are dependent upon the military, they become psychologically attached to the comfort that fulfillment of their basic needs bring. They become very loyal to the adults who surround them; fighting alongside friends and family for a cause they might be too young to understand because they are being led by example, or fighting for the new "family" that the military has created in their minds. These children, however, are often ignorant to the dangers they might face going into battle, or to the results of their actions while fighting in battle. They do not realize that when they pull the trigger on a gun, or cut into another person with a blade of sorts, the person dies. Often, children are under the impression that the person can still get up, denying the fact that they have ever killed, and merely see the person as having fallen down.

With the newer creation of smaller arms and lighter weapons, children are now being better enabled to fight. If children are the future, then the future must be considered sacred, must be saved and protected from this kind of despicable corruption, no longer allowing for children to be taken advantage of for causes they know nothing about, causes which leave them without a children , having grown up too quickly, and lacking any kind of healthy understanding of relationships, family, independence, or education.


Source by Herb Leibacher