Resilience in the Lives of Children of War



A developmental analysis of “children of war” ought to be simple: “war is bad for children.” However true this statement may be, it is insufficient for anything more than a moral judgment. In this chapter we provide a developmental analysis of the lives of children who experience war from the perspective of resilience in the face of trauma. Our approach grows out of an understanding of the role of trauma in the emotional and spiritual life of youth immersed in the public social violence of war (as opposed to the “private” violence of conventional domestic abuse and community crime). Our core thesis is that the experience of trauma is so powerfully implicated in the dynamics of public social violence—as cause and effect—that no efforts to prevent and ameliorate its effects will be effective if they do not address this core issue. While no recipe or algorithm for program and policy development is possible, we can provide a series of conceptual “tools” that professionals and policy makers addressing the impact of war on children and youth can use in this effort. We begin with the concept of trauma.


Traumatic Event Delinquent Behavior Traumatic Experience Violent Youth Child Soldier 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Director of the Center for the Human Rights of ChildrenLoyola UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Center for the Human Rights of Children, Developmental PsychologyLoyola UniversityChicagoUSA

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