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A skill is the ability of an individual to apply his/her mental and physical power to control the environment. It involves things like thinking, playing and implementation so as to solve social, political, economic and culture problems. These skills are the ability to understand one self, build sound relationships with others, survive under difficult circumstances, act responsibly and safely, and solve problems. It addresses the balance between knowledge, attitude and skills.
As children develop, their life begins to change. Adolescents may develop a variety of life skills to prepare them to face challenges, take up family responsibility, make decisions and think about what they want to be in the future. Life skills education addresses these issues for the benefit of the individual and society at large. Life skills equip adolescents with knowledge and attitudes that should lead to the requirement behavior. They reduce health risk and raise awareness on health and related behavior such as sexual abuse, drug abuse, violence, drunkenness, unwanted pregnancy, sexual transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS. Life skills play a decisive role in helping to prevent these behaviors and enlightening teenagers about these challenges so that they can protect themselves.
The Importance of Life Skills
Life skills are very important because they help develop abilities which are necessary for making life better. Some of the things that these skills enable us to do include:
- Make proper decisions in life on different matters, like friendships, which subjects to study in school and what career to pursue.
- Develop good behavior. Through social skills, a person is able to avoid bad friends and anti-social behavior such as smoking, drug abuse, abusing alcohol and getting into premature sexual relationships.
- Increase love and understanding for other people because of good social skills.
- Respond effectively to different situations. Through life skills, a person is able to handle unfortunate occurrences such as divorce, death of friends or relatives, examination pressure or any form of harassment or intimidation.
- Maintain peace and order. Negotiation skills enable people to solve their problems peacefully. This helps prevent conflict.
- Understand the environment and ways to fit in it because you have skills to solve any problem around you. It also helps to maintain the culture of your community.
How to Use Social Skills
Social skills help a person to know and live with others peacefully. They give a person knowledge and ability to live a better life with other people in the society. Social skills consist of the ability to form good relationship with other people, make good friends, show empathy, exhibit peer resistance, negotiate effectively and have effective communication. We can use social skills in the following ways:
- Forming relationship with other people – This skill enables one to know how to behave in each relationship. It helps a person to behave properly according to the prevailing situation.
- Making good friends – A person can use this skill to make good friends. Good friends are those who: (i). Respect and assist us, our parents, relatives and elders (ii). Go to school and school rules. (iii). Assist each other when in problems (iv). Correct each other when one misbehave
- Showing empathy – this is the ability to feel what others are going through, especially when they are experiencing problems. This social skill enables one to understand other people’s problems and show feelings. It enables a person to take part in finding out ways to solve other people’s problems.
- Exhibiting peer resistance – A person who have proper social skills is able to resist bad influences from his/her peers or friends. Such a person does not do things that are unacceptable to society, for example fighting, prostitution, theft and truancy.
- Displaying effective communication – Proper communication can be used to establish good relationships with others people. It is through effective speaking, writing and listening that a person can establish relationships with others.
- Problem – solving – This is the social skill that enables a person to make a proper decisions in difficult times.
Consequences of not Applying Social Skills
Failure to apply life skills can lead to problems. Some of these problems are:
- Improper choices: People may make wrong choices in their education and future careers. A person may find him/herself make wrong choices by studying subjects which he/she cannot fit in.
- Bad behavior: People may develop bad behavior. For example, the youth may not respect their parents, teacher and elders, due to negative peer pressure. They may also get into drug abuse or stealing.
- Conflicts: Conflicts can occur due to lack of negotiation skills. Such conflicts could be among students, in families, in communities or between countries.
- Poverty: Poverty may occur or increase due to lack of proper decision-making in the society or country. Lack of creative skills to bring about development.
- Poor leadership: Lack of good communication between leaders and the citizens can lead to poor leadership.
- Lack of empathy: Lack of empathy may lead to increased suffering for those who have problems as those who do not have problems may not understand their circumstances.
Write `T` for true statements and `F` for false statements
- Life skills enable a person to know what to do at a certain times and what not to do.
- Individual life skill is the ability of an individual to know himself or herself.
- Self- awareness enables a person to understand others in various circumstances.
- The ability to handle emotions which enables a person to control his or her feelings is among of individual life skills.
- Social skills give an individual the knowledge and ability to live according to the needs of the society
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