Impact of childhood exposure to aggressive environment

International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression: 'We cannot just say children are the future pillar when they are not secure enough to shape their lives'.

ByOlivia Gurumayum

Updated 4 Jun 2020, 10:06 am

International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression on June 4, 2020
International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression on June 4, 2020

Childhood days are always the best! But, have we ever question if every child in this whole
wide world have the best childhood life. How privilege for those who can happily narrate the boundless world of childhood days. There are numerous pictures of children posted on social media or on social networking sites depicting different lifestyles of children across the globe. One such picture grabbed the attention of many that could be the best exemplar on how childhood shapes the mental status throughout his or her life. A photograph of a Syrian child raising her hands in surrendering position as she mistakes the camera for a gun when the Turkish photojournalist Osman Sagirli was using telephoto lens. Here, what we can learn is a behaviour of a child can be influenced by the environment they exposed. The mistaken identity of the photographer and the lens as a man with gun will impact huge on the child’s life, psychologically. Children tend to imitate faster from those around them or from their elders. To most children, who they become is the impact of what they have seen in their childhood phase. A child may pick up a gun if he or she has been brought up in a war prone zone or born and brought up in a rebellious prone area. For them, gun is the solution to any kind of problem and very less likely to indulge in societal norms. They tend to have different mindset or find delinquent behaviour compare to a child brought up in a stable area.


Many innocent children have been the victims of war, sexual violence, abduction, human
trafficking, physical, mental and emotional abuse, etc that would have to pay heavy burden
on later period of their lives if not taken care at the earliest. Frederick Douglass who was an African-American statesman and a leader of abolitionist movement, who escaped from
slavery once wrote, “it is easier to build strong children than to raise a broken men”. A
childhood experience and exposure is where the development of individuals’ role and
behaviour begins. A child living under authoritarian environment tend to be conflicted,
irritable, and moody. They tend to have negative outcome and function poorly in social
and cognitive. Adverse childhood experience often leads to social, emotional and cognitive impairment. They tend to adopt health-risk behaviour that affect the health condition of an individual and towards social life and feel worthless of their life.
On the contrary, we cannot always blame on the environment for the delinquency of an
individual. For instance, Malala Yousafzai, who survived gun shot by Taliban gunmen for
going to school, became an inspiration to many for her brave struggle to fight against all odds to get education and lead a better life. But, her family was her biggest supporter in all thick and thins of her life. Apart from the financial support she gain the emotional support which is more important from her family and from the world made her much easier to turn the table in her favour. Like her, there might many children who truly want to fight against all odds to lead a better life but prevailed by the environment they live in. Many children of her age have become victims of human trafficking. They tend to become vulnerable as most of them come from poverty, unemployment, displacement, lack of knowledge or broken families. It can have severe impact on the victim’s life forever physically, emotionally and psychologically.

Apart from above mentioned scenario, Parenting style is one of the most important things in shaping one’s life in any situation. It is also said that parent-child relationship is always a
bidirectional that have affect on each other’s behaviour. Parents play an important role in the development of one’s behaviour and life. It is also important for parents to give proper
attention and care at the right time. Aggressive parenting style could also make a child a victim of aggressive environmental exposure. Raising up and growing up in a conflicting
environment can be challenging for both parents and child. It can lead to mental health issues and can become delinquent towards one’s life and to the society. With one’s experience it can either have an adverse effect or can transform into a better future. Domestic violence is also another form of exposure to aggressive environment. Exposure to violence can not only harm the child’s emotions but also in academic, mental health or could even engage in criminal behaviour in their adult life.


After an emergency special session on the question of Palestine, the General Assembly,
“appalled at the great number of innocent and Lebanese children victims of Isreal’s act of
aggression,” that decided to commemorate June 4 as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression by United Nations. It was established as a focused on victims of the 1982 Lebanon war with the purpose on expanding acknowledgement of the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and
emotional abuse given the commitment to protect the rights of children guided by the
Convention on the Rights of the Child. We cannot just say children are the future pillar when
they are not secure enough to shape their lives. It is not only for the benefits of the family but also for the society. It is important to prevent child exploitation in any forms, involved in
criminal activities and exposure to aggressive environment. It is important to understand the impact of cruelty or abuse done to them.

(The views expressed in the article are the writer's own)


First published:


aggressive environmentchild rightschildhoodChild's behaviorInternational Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression

Olivia Gurumayum

Olivia Gurumayum

Special Contributor, IMPHAL, Manipur


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