Children and War
Teaching Recovery Techniques (Manual)
Children and women are increasingly the victims of contemporary warfare. In countries as diverse as Bosnia, Rwanda, Kuwait, and Cambodia, civilians - including children - are the direct targets of violence. As the nature of war changes, professionals who work with children in war-affected countries have sought to find new ways to help them. It is now recognized that early help for children in how to cope with the stresses of war can be beneficial and may prevent later problems from developing. When whole communities are affected, it is often a priority to provide assistance for large numbers of children as quickly as possible.
This manual and accompanying workbook will help you do just that. It is the result of our combined years of direct experience of working with child survivors of war, and their teachers and carers, in diverse cultures. It is designed to help you teach children in a step by step practical way to develop some skills and techniques which are helpful in coping with the psychological effects of war and violence. In this introduction, we give a brief outline of the normal and common psychological reactions of children who have survived war. Based on this, the manual is then divided into four sections.
Each of the first three sections is intended as a guide for you to lead five two-hour group teaching sessions with up to 15 children of eight years and older. The first two sessions deal with intrusive thoughts and feelings: problems such as bad memories, nightmares, and flashbacks. The third session deals with children's arousal: their difficulties in relaxing, concentrating, and sleeping, for example. The fourth and fifth sessions deal with avoidance: children's fears, and difficulties in facing up to reminders of the war.
Each section starts with a summary of the principles and ideas behind the techniques, and then proceeds with a set of practical instructions and activities for you to carry out with your group, as well as tasks for children to carry out as homework. A fourth section contains information and interventions to help children who have been bereaved. An additional section contains guidelines for running a parallel parents group.