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Browsing by Subject "war children"

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  • Helin, Marjut (2011)
    War children were sent away to shelter without their parents to other Nordic countries, mainly to Sweden. The phenomenon was remarkable. During the Second World War nearly 80,000 children were sent from their homes by trains or boats. These children travelled to foster homes where they were placed with new parents looking after them. After the conclusion of the peace, for some months or sometimes years later, orders were given to send the children back to their families in Finland. Returning back to Finland and to their biological parents and families was not always easy. Deep bonds between the children and their foster families were created and leaving caused grief to those small travellers once again. In some cases, distances were created in the relations between Mothers and their daughters. Many had forgotten their Finnish, and returning to school proved difficult. Some of the war children felt rootlessness, a result of being torn away from their family and culture. The aim of this study is to describe how former war children became mothers by themselves, and later on grandmothers. The study also explores how they describe the meaning of the war and their childhood in their own parenthood and what were their experiences of time in foster homes. Seven former war children and three daughters were interviewed for this study. Interviews were biographical. A narrative approach and thematic reading (by Riessman 2008) has guided the analysis of the texts. According to the results of this study, the importance of having your own home , family and security in childhood relationships is significant. Caring and having responsibility for disadvantaged others was important for former war children. What come from the detailed experiences of the 'war childhood' most of all were the difficulties they found on returning to Finland. Some of them had become very attached to their foster parents. There were varying degrees of language problems among the returnees. Some of the interviewees had completely forgotten their native language. Given that, starting the school at home was difficult. They also remembered continuous travelling.When asked on the outcome of their relationship with their biological mother, most interviewees were happy, with a few experiencing some distance in this relationship. Security and being available to protect their children were important in their own motherhood and grand motherhood. In difficult family situations like divorce, they wanted to give their time and support for helping with grandchildren. Another important aspect in family life is interaction between all its members. Talking things through in families and also in War Child Associations was highly valued. However, talking of war childhood had been silenced in some families. In conclusion, the experiences of former war children should take in consideration when difficult situations between parents and children or children's positions in war zones are resolved. War children also have a lot to give for further educational study.