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Sins of the Father

By Carolyn Scott, 2004 4:22 minutes

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Recommended for Year 9, 10, 11. Caro explains the secondary impact of war on the wives and children of returned servicemen. Alcoholism and violence marred Caro's family life. Her father suffered from some of the long-term effects of war on ex-servicemen, which include anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), paranoia and depression, and dealing with the psychological fallout became a lifelong journey for her and her siblings. She fears for the soldiers who are currently engaged in war, as well as for their families.

Collection Telling Tales: Arts Access Art Day South Project

What is the impact of war on the next generation?

Caro introduces her story by saying: “I have three brothers and two sisters. None of us have children. We grew up with a father who was a violent alcoholic.”

  • Why do you think none of Caro’s siblings have children of their own?
  • What suffering did her father experience in World War II?
  • What was common among the men who returned from war?
  • How did this affect the children in the short term? In the long term?

There is an old adage, ‘History repeats itself’.

  • What happened to Caro’s friends who went to the Vietnam War?
  • What are Caro’s fears at present?
  • When did Caro’s siblings come out from the shadow of war?


Choose one of the following disorders that Caro refers to. Investigate the prevalence of the disorder in our community, its symptoms and treatments, and organisations and services that help sufferers and their families.

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Acute anxiety
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder