Erik Ishmael: Sociology Of The Life Of Child Soldiers

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Ishmael’s experiences of being traumatically separated from his childhood family, becoming a child soldier for his own survival, and his experience with re-socialization after being rescued by UNICEF is possibly quite similar to the traumatic stories of many of “about 250,000 children employed in armed factions worldwide” (Taylor 869).
Sociology of the life course effectively assesses what happens to these children when they are separated from their familiar families and surroundings. I believe the following information explains the transition of the children from their family lives to that of child soldiers. “The changes result from individual and societal events and from transitions into and out of social roles. Life-course sociology is
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Erik Erickson (psychologist who argued that people go through certain stages of social development from birth until later life) said that the earlier stages are more distinct and linked to biological development compared to the later stages. Stage 5 of his 8 stages is identity vs. role confusion (ages 12 to 18). “At this stage children are somewhere between youth and adulthood. It is here that they must learn their own sense of where they stand in the world—a sense of identity”. “When the “normal trajectory” in someone’s life is interrupted, when the person breaks with society’s expectations of established life stages, it is referred to as a turning point” (Rohall 164). So in the child soldiers’ circumstances, it was a turning point in their young lives and consequently; they were extremely confused in their own identity. Live events had caused significant changes in the course of their lives and when they were in rehabilitation, they became social isolates, unable to establish any relationships with those trying to help them and often became rebellious to those trying to rehabilitate …show more content…
It appears extremely important in the re-integration process that family tracing is important to emphasize family and community links in the process of transition to civilian life. This aspect of re-integration helps to protect the children from recruitment, retribution, abuse and stigmatization, but this doesn’t always go well, as a demobilized child soldier is no longer the child he or she was before recruitment, and both the child and the family have to adjust to new roles. There may also be concerns about whether a family or community will accept a child soldier if he or she was involved in killings or atrocities. The reintegration of child soldiers faces a challenging process of reconciliation and mediation and takes a great deal of time and must allow for an appropriate process of acceptance.
A young person may simultaneously face difficulties related to their own internal memory of what they experienced, while struggling with an external environment in which they experience community stigma” (NIH Public Access 10). This study found that family and community acceptance was associated with higher levels of adaptive/prosocial attitudes and behaviors with the child soldiers as was the case for Ishmael

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