Life Skills KNEC Notes – Diploma
Topic 1: Introduction to Life Skills
Definition of Life Skills
Life skills are “abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life” (WHO, 1994).
Life skills promotes development of positive attitudes and behavior; knowing how to cope with stress; knowing how to identify, analyze and resist the negative effects of gender discrimination and, in turn, developing positive gender attitudes; making informed decisions on matters that affect people and practice healthy behaviors; as well as acting positively and effectively when confronted with difficult situation
Benefits of Life skills
- Health benefits
Life skills education addresses the combination of psychological and social factors that contribute to healthy behavior
The implementation of life skills education in schools addresses the needs of all children
The promotion of personal and social skills is an important aspect of health promotion intervention that aim to empower the individual to promote his/her own health as well as the health of others and of the community
- Education Benefits
Life skills education introduces learner-centered and interactive teaching method which can have a positive impact on:
- The relationships between teachers and pupils o young people’s enjoyment of learning
- Teacher’s job satisfaction
- Rates of drop outs and absenteeism from school
Life skills have impact on the teaching of academic subjects
There are indications that life skills education can have positive impact on academic performance.
- Social benefits
Life skills education helps to clarify the needs of young people growing and so result in less delinquency among adolescents
- Cultural Benefits
Life skills education helps to clarify the of young people growing up in modern societies Life skills education is of particular value to young people growing in multicultural societies
- Economic Benefits
Life skills education, and skills promoted, appear to be amongst the ones most highly valued by the future employers of young people
Early prevention can be expected to reap maximum rewards in regard to healthy society, especially since the health and social problems prevalent today have at their root at component a human behavior
- Political Benefits
Life skills education addresses the needs of the child as specified in the United Nations Convention on the a Rights of the Child
Categories of Life Skills
Life Skills can be categorized into three major categories: Communication and Interpersonal Skills, Decision Making and Critical Thinking Skills, and Coping and Self-Management Skills (WHO, 2001).
Living values and our lives
Living Values are the principles of life that have been adopted in the international education approach, which focus on children of all ages, genders, cultures & religions. They encompass all values of common or universal humanity.
The twelve common living or universal values are:
- Peace: Peace is the original quality of the self. In its purest form, peace is inner silence. It consists of positive thoughts, pure feelings and good wishes to have peace you need patience. When you are peaceful, you create an atmosphere of peace. Peace in the world can only be realized. When there is peace in the minds of man.
- Love: Where there is love, there is a world. Love looks on all with a vision of equality. Love is all giving without any thought of a return. A heart that has love is able to accommodate. The whole universe and still has space for more. Selfless love is truly unlimited; it forgets and forgives the weakness and sees only beauty and specialties in everyone.
- Respect: This is about placing value on the life and existence of self and others.
- Tolerance: The ability to tolerate situations enhances quietness and internal happiness. Tolerance enables a person to accommodate various circumstances.
- Responsibility: every person has a role to play in this world. Responsibility requires each individual to perform their duty diligently and as required.
- Humility: Humility is dedication to the extent that no acknowledgement is sought for the self. Humility allows you to learn. There is great strength in humility. It never holds on to anyone for support. Everyone bows down to those who bow down first.
- Honesty: Speak with honesty and you will get a chance to learn. The one who is honest will speak about themselves first, not about others. Others won’t get impressed by your words.
- Cooperation: It is based on faith, love, trust and understanding. It is not a bargaining game, in which one person’s success is achieved at the expense of another’s Real cooperation takes place when there are good wishes and pure feelings for each other.
- Happiness: There is happiness when each moment is used in a worthwhile way. Happiness is such nourishment that it can transform a person, from weak to powerful, it makes difficult things easy heavy things light. To remain happy and share happiness with others is the greatest act of charity. No matter what happens, your happiness should not be lost.
- Simplicity: Simplicity is identifying and being comfortable with those elaborate circumstances which shape our lives without worrying or making matters complicated.
- Freedom: Freedom starts in the mind. Understanding the self is the key to freedom. The more one understand the self, the easier it is to be liberated from waste. Freedom means to be uninfluenced, Unaffected and to be at peace with the self. True freedom is to experience the true essence of one’s being and that is peace.
- Unity: Unity is harmony within and amongst individuals. It is built from a shared vision and for the common good. Unity is appreciating the values of each Individual and their unique contributions.
Understanding the living values of humanity helps in enhances awareness of values and value-based systems of learning in the community.
Living values helps learners to understand their worth and purpose in life. It promotes integrity and peace in the society.
Living values education also enhances individual development and cultural heritage by emphasizing positive values.
Awareness of living values is necessary for humanity to flourish for a long time.
Relationship between life skills and living values
Life skills are supported by living values. A person with humility and tolerance develops the life skills of being sociable and relating well with others. Happiness also enhances the development of life skills such as positive interpersonal relations and emotional strength. Furthermore, developing living values is necessary in promoting collaboration and teamwork skills. A person who has unity and love is able to work effectively with others in teams. Think of other ways in which values and life skills are interrelated, such as developing the skills to manage stress b adopting the values of humility and tolerance.
Topic 2: Self-Awareness
Life Skills Can be categorized into Three Groups:
Skills of Knowing and Living with One Self
Awareness Self-awareness is the ability to appreciate oneself, including the strong and weak points of one’s character. It is the knowledge of one self in terms of what one can do and what one cannot do. This realization enables one to take action and make choices and decisions which are consistent with one’s abilities. This enables people to:
- Recognize the weak and strong aspects of one’s behavior
- Recognize the weak and strong sides of one’s own thoughts and abilities
- Differentiate what one can do or can’t do by herself/ himself
- Recognize things which cannot be changed, and accept them.
- Recognize whatever people may say, each person is different and should value himself or herself for being unique
- Recognize one’s own unique talents
People need to have a clear sense of their identity, understanding of past experiences and influences, culture and family background. Proper understanding on oneself enhances the ability to use other life skills effectively. Self-awareness helps individuals get better aquatinted with their feelings, emotions, attitudes, hopes, dreams, physical bodies, who they are, where they are going, how to get there, and it gives them ability to cope with challenges they are likely to encounter in their lives.
Some Values associated with self-awareness skill include:
Topic 3: Self-Esteem
Definition of Self-Esteem
Self-esteem refers to how an individual feels about personal aspects such as appearance, abilities and behavior and grows on the basis of their experiences of being competent and successful in what they attempt. It enables an individual to evaluate his or her self-worth. This is determined by how one values him or himself in terms of physical and psychological status. How one feels influences his or her actions towards others. This is largely influenced by the person’s socialization with family members, friends, teachers, peers, and others.
Signs of a Person with High Self-Esteem
Self-esteem refers to how an individual feels about personal aspects such as appearance, abilities and behavior and grows on the basis of their experiences of being competent and successful in what they attempt. It enables an individual to evaluate his or her self-worth. This is determined by how one values him or himself in terms of physical and psychological status. How one feels influences his or her actions towards others. This is largely influenced by the person’s socialization with family members, friends, teachers, peers, and others.
Signs of a Person with Low Self-Esteem
- Difficulties in speaking up one’s mind
- Feeling guilty and saying “I’m Sorry” always
- Always following what others are doing or saying, e.g. wearing what others wear.
- Not being able to make independent choices
- Doing things or buying gifts excessively for others
- Having negative perception about yourself
Importance of High Self-Esteem
- Being yourself and always staying happy with purpose, goals, values and vision of life
- Enables someone to appreciate different opinions, leading to positive relations with others.
- Leads to the ability to express oneself and enables a person to defend their actions and stand by their principles.
- Enables people to face their challenges and overcome them
- People with high self-esteem do not fear uncertainties, and reduce anxiety and stress in their lives.
- People with high self-esteem develop resilience to help them deal with the ups and downs of life.
- Getting along well with others and maintaining relationships without needing approval.
Factors that Enhance High or Low Self-Esteem/factors that affect self-esteem
- Parents/family: the general atmosphere in the family contributes more to people’s view of themselves than any event. The parents input carries a considerable great weight on development of self-esteem
- Physical appearance: people formulate a mental image of themselves from the praises or ridicule of others regarding their appearance. This includes height, weight, complexion, symmetrical features of the face and body.
- Education: people tend to formulate a metal picture of self-based on their success and failure in the eyes of significant others
- Friends and Peers: one of the pillars of self-esteem is acceptance. Peer may confirm what one has been taught at home. The nicknames and jokes about each other can hurt, thus affecting ones self-esteem. They cut deep and chop at positive aspects of self-image.
- Culture: As adults, people are constantly searching for approval and security in their relationships with others.
- Stereotyping: stereotype is a form of discrimination
- Authority Figures: constant put-down can affect ones personality negatively, while affirmation of one’s performance and positive criticisms will enhance one’s self-esteem
- Significant others: many people will glow when they feel and know they are loved for who they are. The opposite of this e.g. constant criticisms will affect one’s self esteem negatively
- Engaging in self-defeating behavior patterns: these block achievements of a possible meaningful life. People then choke under pressure and make poor decisions that entrench focus on negativity.
Effects of Low Self-Esteem
- Poor self-esteem distorts the massages people receive from others, and the way people interpret events in life. It filters out the positive message and leaves people feeling negative about themselves
- Unhealthy Relationships are common because one is unable to relate with people without fear of rejection
- Poor choice of marriage partners is also common e.g. A very educated man who has poor self-esteem may choose to marry a woman with very inferior education so that he can be able to control her
- Low self-esteem can result in constant feelings of fear and guilt that can be very crippling to one’s advancement in life. They may never realize their full potential due to fear
- One can develop personality disorders.
- One is generally unhappy
- Vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV &AIDS, physical and emotional abuse
- Indulgence in drug abuse.
Ways of boosting Self-Esteem/Ways of building positive self-esteem
- When people grasp their self-worth, they are empowered with confidence and courage to handle life difficulties.
- People can learn that they have the potential to be rational. They have the capacity to make appropriate choices, they are emotional beings – they have the ability to feel; they can act on what they have heard; and have eternity within themselves.
- Acquiring new choices: to be made when negative circumstances come as part of rebuilding process
- Learning to forgive those who hurt us in the past is another part of rebuilding process
- Praise/acknowledging effort.
- Practicing healthy habits
- Setting goals and pursuing them.
- Grooming well and maintaining good physical appearance.
Topic 4: Stress Management
Definition of Stress
Stress refers to the reaction of a body to changes in the environment that requires adjustment or response. Human bodies respond to changes through emotional, mental and physical reactions. Stress can be positive to keep us alert and ready for changes in life; but when the body is exposed to continuous challenges without rest it leads to negative stress, which can be the cause of tension and depression. The body reacts automatically to physiological changes that cause stress through the nervous system.
Causes of Stress
Stress can be caused by various factors that lead to changes and responses of the nervous system. Some causes of stress include:
- Growth and development
- Peer pressure
- Poor communication with relatives and friends
- Poor time management
- The need to belong to a social group
- Exposure to significant pressure
- Having worries about something – causing mental stress
- Exposure to uncertainties such as job insecurity, business risks, etc.
- Going through overwhelming challenges and responsibilities
- Being unable to control the situation
Effects of Stress
Stress has significant effects or outcomes on the body, mind and soul. When someone faces significant stress, the body reacts by releasing hormones through the nervous system. Such hormones causes the person to fight or take off. This is called “fight or flight” reaction. This can cause the heartbeat rate to increase, the breathing to be faster, and muscles to become more tensed. A person can also start sweating. The body usually recovers from such temporary reactions (acute stress) Short-term stress results in mild health issues such as:
- Lack of concentrating
- Difficulties in sleeping
- Stomach upsets
If the stress persists for a long time, it may result to more serious health problems:
- High blood pressure
- Heart diseases.
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Heart Attack
- Loss of sex drive
- Fertility problems
Copying With Stress
The strategies of copying with stress include:
- Communicating effectively
- Positive attitudes towards self
- Sharing our feelings with others
- Exercising regularly
- Seeking social support
- Eating balanced diet
- Removing the source of stress
- Seeking counselling
- Accept situations that you can’t control
- Be assertive and proactive rather than being reactive
- Use relaxation techniques such as yoga
- Manage your time effectively
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
Forms of Positive Stress
Positive stress is referred to as eustress. It includes different forms such as:
- Falling in love
- Changes in life such as an upcoming wedding/marriage
- Beginning something or a new process
- Experiencing new things in life such as pregnancies
Values Associated with Positive Stress Management
Topic 5: Coping With Emotion
Definition of Emotions
Emotions refer to the strong feelings experienced by a person emanating from personal circumstances and moods or relationship with other people. It is an instinctive feeling that is free of reason or logic. One’s feelings are determined by a person’s senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Accordingly, the process of coping with stress entails managing one’s inner feelings, especially when faced with negative feelings such as anger, sorrow, sadness, shock and anxiety.
Good and Bad Feelings
Some of the good feelings that a person may experience include:
Examples bad feelings include:
Causes of Good and Bad Emotions
Good emotions are often caused by certain factors such as:
- When one reaches or achieves their goal
- Family support or unity
- Self-improvement or satisfaction
- Acceptance in a group which brings sense of belonging
- Experiencing or living with good health
- Fulfilment of personal wishes or expectations
- Effective time management
- Clean and conducive environment
Meaning of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to the ability to understand and manage one’s emotions positively to reduce stress, communicate, and relate well with others.
It is also the ability of a person to identify their emotions and those of others, and being able to respond positively to such emotions.
Emotional intelligence can be seen when someone is has high self-awareness and understands their feelings. High emotional intelligence is also characterized by calmness, taking control of situations and thoughts, appreciating the feelings of others, taking criticism positively, not overreacting to issues, showing authenticity, praising others, giving meaningful feedback, forgiving others, and apologizing.
Feelings Which Can Lead to Risky Behavior
Bad feelings can sometimes lead to self-destruction. When someone experiences some emotions, they can react negatively. Here is a list of feelings that can lead to risky behaviors:
- Sadness: when someone is sad, they can commit suicide or hurt others
- Excitement: When excited, a person can overindulge in things such as celebrations through drinking making noise.
- Bitterness: Bitterness can cause someone to take revenge and harm others.
- Anger: Anger can also cause damages to property, self, or others.
Ways of Coping with Negative Emotions
- Not being over-reactive to issues – being patient and calm
- Do not keep remembering things that cause negative emotions – get negative emotions out of your mind and focus on positive emotions.
- Being reasonable is another important way of coping with negative emotions – accept that there are situations you cannot change.
- Relaxation – participate in relieving activities such as walking, talking, and reading. Such relaxing habits keep you off negative feelings.
- Do exercises regularly to lower your stress levels.
- Forget about the past, believe in yourself, and focus on how you can improve your future.
Values Associated with Emotional Intelligence
- Respect: due regard for the feelings of others
- Tolerance: openness to differences and diversity among people
- Humility: lowliness of the mind – modesty
- Peace: freedom from disturbance – calmness.
Topic 6: Empathy
Definition of Empathy
Empathy is being able to understand the feelings of other people and appreciate their positions or ideologies.
It can also be defined as putting oneself in the shoes of another.
Moreover, it is the ability to sense and share the emotions of other people – being able to imagine or consider the feelings and thoughts of other people in certain situations.
Empathy falls under the cluster of social awareness in the field of Emotional Intelligence.
Importance of Empathy
- Understanding other people’s feelings helps the subject of empathy to feel relieved or feel as though some burden have been removed off their shoulders.
- Promotes effective communication
- Allows room for feedback and improvement
- Helps people to demonstrate their understanding of others.
- When you understand that someone has a certain feeling, e.g. when a child is sad, you can be able to determine what they are going through in their home, e.g. if their mother is ill.
- Empathy helps someone to know what to do or how to react to certain situations involving interactions with others.
- Empathy helps people to share the same feelings that other people feel, helping them to find the right solution in given situations.
- Empathy is important in building trust because one is able predict the reactions of teammates by empathizing with them.
Difference between Empathy and Sympathy
Empathy refers to understand and share the feelings of other people as though we have the same feelings ourselves. Sympathy entails being able to take part in the feelings of others, e.g. feeling sad when someone else is undergoing a misfortune.
Empathy refers to the ability to project one’s feelings onto another object. Sympathy involves a focus on tastes and opinions, e.g. when you feel sympathy for a character in a movie.
Situations Requiring Empathy
- During the death or loss of a loved one
- When infected with HIV & AIDS
- When one loses a job or being jobless
- During illness or a pandemic
- In any other life-threatening situation
Values Associated with Empathy
- Love: having strong feelings and giving without the need for something in return.
- Respect: being positive towards oneself and towards others.
- Peace: freedom from disturbance – calmness.
Topic 7: Assertiveness
Definition of Assertiveness
Assertiveness is a confident behavior; it is the ability to state your feelings without anger or being passive. It involves standing for your rights without offending others.
Assertiveness is an essential skill in communication and social interaction. An assertive person is able to defend their rights and those of others calmly and positively.
Characteristics of an Assertive Person
An assertive person has the following characteristics:
- They express their feelings and thoughts freely
- They are able to develop and retain meaningful relationships with others.
- Understand and defend their rights boldly and calmly.
- They are able to control their anger and talk about their feelings in a reasonable manner
- They are willing to compromise with others
- Show self-respect and respect for others
Steps to Being Assertive: Assertiveness Training
- Assertiveness is used with excessive shy people or withdrawn individuals. It often used in groups
- The major tenet of assertiveness training is that a person should be free to express thoughts and feelings without undue influence.
- The client is taught that everyone has the right (not obligation) of self-expression. The client then learns the difference among aggressive, passive and assertive actions
- A client tells the counselor at the beginning what the objectives are, for example, to be able to speak out in a job interview.
- The counselor gives the client both positive and negative feedback about present behavior.
- The next step involve the modeling of the desired behavior and the client role playing of the behavior observed.
- The counselor then reinforces the behavior and helps to shape the clients
- Finally the client is given assignments to be completed between sessions.
- It is important that assertive behavior should be shaped gradually in order to keep the client reassured.
Tips for Being Assertive
- Make the decision to become positively assertive – commit to being assertive rather than being aggressive or passive
- Focus on communicating openly and honestly.
- Listen actively to understand other people’s points of view.
- Accept that having a different point of view does not mean you are right and other people are wrong.
- See others as your friends rather than enemies when handling conflicts.
- Practice assertiveness.
- Always stay calm, breathe normally, look at the other party in the eye, maintain face contact, and speak with confidence.
- Use “I” statements such as “I think”, “I believe,” etc.
- Be honest in saying how you feel and don’t make others feel guilty.
Importance of Being Assertive
- Enables the person to control themselves effectively
- Helps reduce or avoid stress
- Enhances the ability to resolve conflicts positively and in a calm way.
- Helps someone not to be afraid of saying their disagreement or opposing points of view
- Helps people to have confidence in themselves and in others.
- Improving communication skills
- Achieve improved job satisfaction and performance
- Enhance win-win situations
- Promotes honest relationships
- Improves decision making and problem-solving skills
Difference between Assertiveness and Aggressiveness
|Thinking your needs don’t matter at all||Recognizing that your needs matter as much as anyone else||Thinking that only your needs matter|
|Not talking, not being heard||Talking and Listening||Talking over people|
|Trying to keep the peace||Making sure things are fair for you and others||Looking out for yourself|
|Allowing oneself to be bullied||Standing up for yourself||Bullying others|
|Not saying what you think||Expressing your points clearly and firmly||Shouting, aggressing, and violence|
|Damages relationships – people respect you less||Builds relationships – people know where they stand||Damages relationships – some people don’t like aggression|
|Damages one’s self-esteem||Builds your self-esteem||Damages other people’s self-esteem|
Difference between Peer Pressure and Peer Influence
Definitions of Peer Pressure and Peer Influence:
Peer Pressure: Peer pressure is pressure from one’s peers to act in a way that is acceptable to the others in the same group.
Peer Influence: Peer influence is when a peer’s act persuades the others to act in a particular way.
Type of Act:
Peer Pressure: Peer pressure is a forcible act that pressurizes the peers to perform in a way acceptable to others.
Peer Influence: Peer influence is a persuasive act of encouraging others to act accordingly.
Peer Pressure: In peer pressure, there is always a chance that individual identity will be lost, as it is forced to follow what others do.
Peer Influence: There is a less chance of losing individual identity in peer influence.
Peer Pressure: Peer pressure is action oriented, which forces others to do some work.
Peer Influence: Peer influence is a behavioral approach, which helps developing skills of the peers.
Peer Pressure: As peer pressure is a forcible act, whether it is a good act or bad act, it compels one to follow others.
Peer Influence: In peer influence, there is still a choice / freedom for the peers to decide whether to follow or not.
|Peer Pressure||Peer Influence|
|Involves force to pressurize peers to act in a certain way of do something||Persuasive act that encourages people to act in a certain way without the use of force|
|It sometimes leads to the loss of individual identity||Little to no chance of losing individual identity|
|It is action oriented – forced to do something||It is behavior oriented – developing a skill|
|Compels someone to follow pees||One has the choice or freedom to decide|
Values Associated with Assertiveness
Topic 8: Negotiation
Definition of Negotiation
Negotiation refers to the process of discussing issues openly and calmly to arrive at an agreement and understanding between two or more parties. It is a process in which people make decisions or settle differences by holding discussions.
The ultimate end of a negotiation process should be to end a dispute, avoid an argument, and find consensus. In any difference of opinion, each party always looks to assert their position and achieve their interests. However, it is important to apply the principles of fairness and justice to ensure that each party benefits from the outcome of negotiation. Negotiation requires individuals to gain a mutual understanding and benefit, and to establish lasting relationship after the negotiation process.
Importance of Negotiation
Whether as a student or an employee, one needs to develop negotiation skills in order to develop positive interpersonal relationship with people around them. In the job market, you will meet many people with varying interests and needs. You will need to work with them, but at the same time your needs are paramount. How do you ensure that you maintain healthy relations and still benefit from the group?
Here is a list of the advantages of having good negotiation skills:
- To establish positive relations with peers and develop a sense of belonging
- Professional and career development – you will become a better employee if you gain good negotiation skills. You can establish rapport with colleagues, solve problems easily, and make effective decisions at the workplace.
- Solving Conflicts: Negotiation entails calm and proactive discussions, which eventually help team members to resolve their disputes effectively.
- Effective communication: Negotiation helps people to become better and proficient at communication. During negotiation, individuals learn to exchange ideas and information quite effectively to address issues. Through negotiation, you can see through the eyes of others, and through your own eyes as well. As a result, it becomes possible to gain a broader and complete perspective of the situation and gain more information from others. Thus, negotiation helps people to learn how to listen and communicate effectively.
- Problem Solving: You can solve problems affecting you as a team if you have good negotiation skills. In life, individuals will always face interpersonal and professional conflicts that need to be resolved in one way or another. Negotiation helps people to learn effective strategies used in solving the problems they encounter in every-day life.
- Decision Making: Negotiation helps people to make decisions every day. At school, home or work, we are required to make decisions. Most of the times, our decisions affect other people as well. Thus, negotiation helps people make effective decisions affecting teams or organizations.
- Improves self–concept: Negotiation helps people to understand themselves better. By listening to the perspectives of others and reading through their minds, an individual is able to gain an understanding of themselves and the people around them.
- Self-confidence: Knowing to express oneself through the negotiation process leads to self-confidence and high self-esteem.
Therefore, negotiation applies to any situation in human life. We experience negotiation at work, home and school. When a student gets out of school and meets new people in the job market, they need good negotiation skills to be able to communicate, solve conflicts, and relate positively with others.
Situations that Require Negotiation
There are several situations of life that require negotiation:
- Communicating with peers – relating well with peers to avoid peer pressure.
- Pre-marital sex – you need to negotiate well with your partner on whether, why, and how you should engage in pre-marital sex. Mutual understanding is needed to avoid breakage of relationships due to misunderstanding on the issue of sex.
- Drug Abuse: You need to make appropriate decisions when it comes to the use of drugs and alcohol. If you do not have good negotiation skills, you will be misled to engage in drugs. If you are good in negotiation, you will persuade your peers not to engage in alcohol and drug abuse.
- War: Every society faces situations of wars. Communities sometimes come together to discuss and negotiate how to resolve inter-community conflicts and wars. Negotiation is needed to prevent war and maintain peace.
- Internal Conflicts: Negotiation is also needed to resolve internal conflicts at home, school or work. For instance, employees in a company may disagree on how to spend some money. If the team does not agree, the money might end up being wasted. For efficient use of resources, it is necessary for the team to negotiate effectively.
- Juvenile Delinquency: Young people too often engage in delinquent behaviors. This occurs when a person is not able to stand on their own beliefs and take individual responsibility. By following peers and not being able to control emotions, one can be persuaded to engage in crime. However, negotiation can be used by the individual to convince others that crime is not good. This leads to reduced delinquency among young people.
The Negotiation Process:
Negotiation is a process that takes a number of steps. It is necessary to prepare well before negotiation and to discuss calmly during negotiations. Here is a list of the steps taken during a negotiation process:
Preparation: During preparation, the individuals make decisions on where, when and why they will hold a discussion to solve a problem. The negotiating parties should have a timeline on when to start and complete the negotiation. You also gather the facts and information related to the situation. For example, if it is a conflict at school you must know who is affected, what subjects were involved in the issue, and what school rules apply.
Discussion: With the facts in hand, the team can now hold discussions to dissect the information. During negotiation, the parties need to have questioning, communication, and listening skills. Taking notes may at times be necessary to gather the information of others and understand their perspectives. Listening is key. Do not react and assert your position without giving the other person a chance to give their opinion. Empathy is also necessary – put yourself into the shoes of the other person and look through their eyes.
Clarification of Goals: In this stage, the negotiating parties should list down their goals, interests and views from the information they gathered during discussion. The team can then list the above factors in order of priority. Which of the issues you listed is most important? For instance, one of my goals would be to advance in my career, and that could be my first priority factor during the negotiation. So I will put that goal at the top of my list.
Identify a win-win outcome: After listing key goals and interests, you now negotiate for a win-win outcome that is mutually beneficial to everyone. This is usually the best result. Not all your needs will be met, and not all the needs of the other party will be met. But you arrive at compromises where you give up the least important interests to accommodate the interests of the other party. For instance, if your employer negotiates with you terms of employment. You may be required to choose between career training and increased salary because the employer has an interest in reducing expenses. If your priority is career advancement, you give up salary increment so that the employer can spend money in your training and development. This way, you reach a win-win situation where you gain career skills and development while the employer reduces their expenses.
Agreement: Once both sides understand their viewpoints and interests in order of priority, it becomes easier to arrive at an agreement. Each party should be open-minded in order to reach an agreement. The agreement should be clear so that each party knows what has been agreed on.
Implementation of the Agreement: Here it is about implementing what you have agreed. If the agreement is to provide training opportunities to an employee, then the employer should start developing training workshops or training kits.
During negotiation, there are certain strategies and techniques you need to develop:
- Consider the viewpoints of the other party
- Listen carefully
- Appreciate the self-worth of the other party
- Be consistent with your interests and goals
- Avoid indoctrination and hardline – be flexible
- Do not patronize
- Avoid interruptions when others are speaking
- Stay Calm and Rational
- Do not jump into conclusions
- Criticize your views
- Reflect on what you are saying
- Think before you speak
- Avoid blaming people
- Do not make hostile remarks
- Be proactive, not reactive
- Avoid sarcasm and rejections
- Control your emotions
- Be Precise in Your Speech
- Don’t generalize things
- Be specific
- Use the pronoun “I”
- Be fully descriptive
- Focus on the key points and observe time
- Move yourself towards the win-win situation
- Develop a frame of reference
- Clarify the issue being discussed.
- Be open during the discussion
- Take time to establish enduring solutions
- Be positive in your decisions
- Be Positive
- Accommodating, Compromise, Collaborating – Win-Win
Values Associated with Negotiations
Topic 9: Non-Violent Conflict Resolution
This topic is related to the earlier topics of negotiation, coping with emotion and stress, and interpersonal relations. We have already stated that conflicts are common in the life of every human being. Here, we look at how people can resolve conflicts as they arise. First, we will look at the definition of conflict, followed by its causes and consequences. We will also identify the types of conflicts and ways of dealing with such conflicts. This lesson will also highlight the skills needed to manage conflicts effectively.
Definition of Conflict
Cambridge Dictionary defines conflict as “an active disagreement between people with opposing opinions or principles.” It can also be considered as an escalated argument or disagreement about an important issue between two or more people. Another definition of conflict is the clash of interest between two or more parties.
Conflict can be personal, racial, political, or class. Interactions between members of a group may cause conflicts along certain lines, dividing the group into factions according to their differences in opinion.
Causes of Conflict
Conflicts often occur at home, school or work, and they take many different forms. In a multicultural work environment, for example, people may have diverse views based on their geographical backgrounds, social classes, language, age, or culture. When working with other people, you should always take great care when managing conflicts which are bound to interfere with teamwork. The first and most important step of conflict resolution and management is to identify the sources of conflicts.
Here we have identified several causes of conflict:
- Ambiguous and/or missing information: During communication, some information may be incomplete or ambiguous, causing misrepresentation, misunderstanding, and conflict.
- Selfishness of an individual who attempts to maximize their own interest without concern for the interests of others. This prevents, blocks, or interferes with the actions of others.
- Uncertainties, scarcity of resources, and unlimited human wants. Sometimes people disagree as they pursue resources during times of uncertainty.
- Differences in personalities of individuals: people may disagree as a result of differences in personality and character traits. People have different perceptions and expectations based on their individual attitudes and interests.
- Discrimination: some forms of discrimination such as discrimination against women, racial discrimination, and ethnic disparities may lead to conflict among various groups. For instance, there is conflict between some whites and blacks in western countries due to racial discrimination in society. Conflict between the rich and the poor is also caused by disparities in resource allocation.
- Lack of cooperation: a toxic organizational environment where people don’t comply with the rules may lead to lack of cooperation and conflicts.
- Autocratic management styles: autocracy occurs when the top leaders in society, institutions or organizations enforce decisions, rules and policies without consulting their followers. If the followers don’t agree with such autocratic decisions, conflicts usually ensue.
- Disruptions of workflow, work schedule, and routine tasks in the workplace may cause conflicts among conflicts or between workers and supervisors.
Consequences of Conflicts
Conflicts occur in circumstances where the goals and interests of people are not compatible, and one party or group blocks others from achieving their goals.
Conflict is inevitable in the workplace, at least to some level, because the society or organization has multiple overarching goals and interests.
Some conflicts are good because they push people to improve their performance. Nevertheless, too much conflict may become a hindrance to work and relationships.
There are both positive and negative effects of conflict in society or in the workplace. Positive conflict is referred to as functional conflict while negative conflict is called dysfunctional conflict.
Positive Consequences of Conflict:
The positive consequences of functional conflict include:
- Increased cohesion: Cohesiveness occurs when different groups with competing interests work together. They can bring in their conflicting ideas and interests, and use them positively to achieve common goals.
- Improved quality of decisions: in situations of conflicts, individuals usually try to come up with solutions to their problems. Groups that face conflicts can come together and evaluate alternative courses of action, which can bring more ideas to enhance better decisions, creativity, and innovation.
- Development of Leadership Qualities: when conflicts occur, people engage in discussions and negotiations to find resolutions. In the process, leaders emerge who can effectively lead the team in making decisions to end the conflict.
- Promoting change: Conflict can enhance change. Differences in opinions and beliefs may cause discussions that end up causing creative ideas and new ways of doing things. The new ideas can be an epitome of change, or a shift away from the traditional and conventional order.
- Increased Productivity: it has been established through research that teams with manageable levels of conflicts can produce high quality solutions to problems. When individuals are in conflict, they work harder to find solutions, which often lead to improved performance and productivity.
- Reduces strain: when people don’t agree with each other in terms of norms and values, they can raise their voice and opinions about the issue. As a result, they release some strain that could have otherwise caused stress.
Negative Consequences of Conflicts
If not managed effectively, conflicts may escalate to unmanageable levels, leading to negative conflicts. When people disrespect each other and undermine the interests of others, they cause negative conflicts. The effects of negative conflicts include:
- Mental strain: Excessive conflict may cause tension and frustration among the conflicting parties. This harms both the individual and the group.
- Dissatisfaction: too much conflicts may cause antagonism on some members of the group, leading to loss of motivation. People also become discontented when they are unable to come into agreement on pertinent issues affective them. They then become dissatisfied with their jobs, leading to reduced individual organizational performance.
- Miscommunication: When conflicts occur, people may not speak to each other. Such communication breakdown may cause poor or limited interactions in the workplace. The consequence of poor communication is reduced performance as people stop focusing on common goals and objectives.
- Resignation: People may resign from job or from their social duties if they are not able to agree with the people they work with. For example, if a teacher does not agree on anything with the students, they can become so frustrated that they can quit their job.
- Misperceptions: The perceptions and beliefs of individuals may be distorted by serious conflicts.
- Unhealthy Competition: escalated conflicts can cause heated competition among members of a group. Such competition may hinder progress waste time as people try to resolve the conflict. Competition may also prevent the group from achieving common goals and objectives.
- Dropping out of School: conflicts can cause a student to be frustrated, lose self-esteem, and possibly drop out of school.
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse: people who are not able to cope with the stress associated with conflicts may also engage in drug and alcohol abuse as they try to forget the situation of conflict.
- Committing Suicide: Those who are not able to cope with conflicts may also commit suicide.
Types of Conflict
There are generally two types of conflicts: intragroup conflict and interpersonal conflict. The intragroup conflict occurs when a member of group disagrees with the rest of the team. On the other hand an interpersonal conflict occurs when two people disagree. Other specific types of conflict include:
- Destructive Conflicts: This refers to escalated or unmanaged conflict that has gone out of control. It can jeopardize relationships and social interactions.
- Constructive conflict: This type of conflict refers to managed struggles that leads to changes in human relationships, but does not destroy the relationships.
- Content conflict: conflict that occurs when people disagree on how to address an issue. This is constructive conflict because it motivates people to discuss and generate new ideas and solutions.
- Relationship Conflict: Disagreements between individuals, also known as relational conflicts. They can reduce performance, satisfaction, commitment and loyalty.
- Process Conflict: this occurs when people disagree on how to perform a task – disagreement on methods and process of doing a job. Process conflict can be harmful because it interferes with the job, which might not be completed or can be completed in a substandard way.
- Affective Conflict: This type of conflict occurs as a result of interpersonal differences and disputes. It leads to suspicion, hostility, and distrust. Thus, it is deconstructive or negative type of conflict.
- Cognitive conflict: It occurs when people disagree in terms of judgment or perspectives when performing a task. This is a positive or constructive conflict which leads to improved decision making and free exchange of information.
Ways of Dealing with Conflict
There are various methods of addressing conflicts before they escalate to unmanageable levels. The three common methods are:
Fight: In this method, people engage aggressively with each other. This can be done through words, litigation, or physical assault. It is a war where there is always no winner or loser. Flight is one of the most damaging responses to conflict. Literally speaking, the person who suffers the most injuries is the loser; but the fight does not solve the underlying issues of the conflict.
Flight: in this approach, conflicting parties walk away from the conflict. One of the actions of people who choose flight is denying everything. In this case, the individual decides to ignore the conflict as if it never existed. On the other hand, running away occurs when one of the conflicting parties avoids the other person and does not want to engage in discussions. This is damaging because the individual may not report to work as he or she tries to avoid seeing their opponents.
Freeze: This reaction method entails doing nothing at all. They neither run away nor fight. In this situation, individuals merely choose to disengage in order to please their opponents. This may look like a solution at first, but the conflict remains unresolved and will continue causing dissatisfaction and discomfort.
Other Methods of Resolving Conflicts:
- Appreciate and accept that a conflict exists which needs to be addressed
- Identify the sources of conflicts
- Evaluate the role of each individual in the conflict – how each party contributes to the conflict and their role in resolving it.
- Being empathetic and having the willingness and commitment to listen to the concerns of the other party.
- Be ready to accept and apologize when you are wrong.
- Develop good communication, problem solving and decision making skills.
Skills Necessary for Conflict Resolution
- Empathy: the ability to understand and appreciate the needs of other people, and putting yourself on the shoes of the other person.
- Seeking Assistance: being able to talk with people about your problems and seeking their help.
- Decision Making: The ability to take appropriate action given alternative courses of action.
- Critical Thinking: this is another important skill in conflict resolution. It entails being able to analyze and evaluate issues objectively to arrive at judgment. This is necessary in order to develop objective solution to the conflict.
- Assertiveness: individuals should be assertive when discussing a conflicting situation so that they can clearly articulate their goals and interests.
Institutions that Resolve Conflicts in Society:
- Courts: Places where legal processes of resolving conflicts occur. It is taken as the last resort to get the judgment of a judge who uses evidence in a litigation process to pass judgment.
- Religious Institutions: Religions organizations such as churches can use their religious norms and principles to address conflicts.
- Committees: these are usually common in communities and organizations where a group of individuals are selected to lead discussions among conflicting parties and arrive at agreements.
Values Related to Conflict Resolution:
Topic 10: Effective Decision Making
Everyone is often confronted with situations that require decision making. Sometimes we must make tough choices in life that have lasting consequences on how personal lives, relationships, and work. Therefore, it is important to learn effective ways of making decisions and how to acquire good decision making skills. This lesson will define what decision making is, its processes, and how to acquire the skill.
Decision making is defined as the process of choosing a course of action by identifying the issue, gathering information, and evaluating the alternative choices. Using a scientific procedure to make decisions is essential because it helps a person to take deliberate and thoughtful action. When a decision is critically thought about before being implemented, it reduces the chances of failure and maximizes the outcome.
Situations that Require Decision Making
Decision making is generally required when making choices of any kind, as long as there are alternative solutions. For example, you may need decision making even when choosing the type of shoes to wear to a function. However, there are situations that require tougher choices than others due to the nature of the problem being handled.
The following is a list of situations that may require decision making:
- Identity issues/developmental crises: sometimes you may reach a point in life where you start exploring yourself. Identity crises may occur when you start realigning yourself with certain groups such as gender or family.
- Drug and alcohol use: Young people often face tough choices when it comes to the use of alcohol and drugs. While wanting to maintain their peer groups, they become persuaded to abuse drugs and alcohol in order to belong to the group. There comes a time when a youthful person has to choose between friendship and avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol.
- Sexually transmitted diseases: People also have a choice to make in regards to sex and sexuality. You have to choose the right approach to sexual relationships such as being faithful to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
- HIV/AIDS: Young people also make decisions regarding the issue of HIV/AIDS. This includes the best way to avoid the disease such as the use of protection or abstaining. If you are sexually active, you can decide to use protection or become faithful to one partner. Otherwise the best decision is to abstain from sex until marriage.
- Delinquency and Violence: you also need to make the right decisions to avoid delinquent behavior or engaging in crime. For instance, you can decide to make the right choice of friends. There is a saying that you are the average of your five best friends. This is to say that if you have five bad friends, you are number three among the bad guys. When they fall, you fall along with them.
- Irresponsible Sexual Relationships: You also need to make the right decisions when choosing partners and engaging in sexual relationships. Irresponsible sexual behaviors may use to sexually transmitted diseases, early pregnancies, and other bad situations.
- Unplanned pregnancies: Here you are required to make the right choices and identify the best ways of avoiding unplanned pregnancies such as abstinence and use of protection.
Challenges Facing Youth in Decision Making
Although decision making skills are essential for a healthy living and career development, the youth often face multiple challenges as they make lifelong decisions.
- Unplanned pregnancies: the first challenge that the youth face when making decisions about sexual relationships is unplanned pregnancy. For example, when girls decide to fulfill their sexual desires, they might become pregnant before completing their education. This makes decisions on sexual matters quite challenging. To avoid this, young people should choose to pursue education and career dreams first before engaging in sexual issues. If necessary, they should use protection and/or stick with one partner.
- Peer Pressure: Most young people are not able to make the right decisions due to peer pressure. Friends can mislead you if are not principled. There comes a time when someone has to choose between their friends and their dreams.
- Drug Abuse: When someone becomes addicted to drugs and alcohol, their sense of judgment becomes distorted. You are not able to think well and make the right choices if you are under the influence of alcohol and substances.
- Being Orphaned: Someone who is raised without parents don’t get the parental guidance they need to make the right decisions. Parents play a significant role in a child’s cognitive and behavioral development through social learning. Children can learn the right way of doing things by imitating their parents or getting parental love and advice.
- HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases: The youth also face the challenge of catching serious diseases when they make decisions in life. Deciding to engage in sexual activities can cause trouble, yet young people have massive sexual urges as they grow. Trying to fulfill their sexual desires can cause diseases.
- Relationships: Being in a sexual or cordial relationships can sometimes cause obscurity in decision making. You may not be able to think positively when you are emotionally attached to someone. For example, a girl who falls in love with a boy may not control their emotions, and they eventually succumb to pressure and engage in sexual intercourse. This could lead to early or unplanned pregnancies.
- Career Choices: The youth also face challenges when trying to choose their careers. You can get into dilemma when trying to choose between two or more courses.
Factors that Influence Decision Making
People have different ways of making decisions. Each approach is influenced by certain factors. Some of the key factors that influence decision making are:
- Personal and social experiences: people can make decisions based on their life experiences or the experiences they encounter in their cultures and societies. For example, a person can decide to drink alcohol due to social experiences such as peer influence when most of the youth in their community are drinking.
- Uniqueness: Each person is unique in their own way. You can decide to do something according to your own unique beliefs, perspectives, and interests.
- Self-awareness: you can also make decisions according to your level of self-awareness. You should be able to understand what you need and make choices that will enable you to achieve your own dreams.
- Economic Factors: Your decisions can also be affected by your economic or financial position. For instance, if you have more resources you can decide to marry early because you are ready to provide for the family.
- Psychological Factors: another important factor that affects decision making is psychological factors. This includes your level of motivation, learning, beliefs, and attitudes. For example, some people are more motivated to pursue education than others. Such people will choose to pursue education first before engaging in relationship issues.
Steps Involved in Decision-Making
Decision making is a scientific process that involves several steps. To arrive at a sound decision, an individual needs to follow a specific process guided by facts, rational thinking, and critical evaluation. Below are the key steps involved in decision making:
- Step 1: Identification of the Problem
Problem identification is the first step in decision making. The decision maker identifies a specific problem to solve or a decision to be made. This is a very important stage in decision making because it enables the individual to define the nature of the problem clearly. If you don’t understand the problem, how it has occurred, and its nature, you will not be able to solve the issue. For instance, if you want to make a decision about drugs and alcohol abuse, you should first understand what alcohol and drug abuse is and why it is an important issue to be addressed in society. By understanding the issue clearly, you will be able to solve it more effectively.
- Step 2: Identify the Source of the Problem
The second step in decision making involves gathering information about the problem. Once you have defined the problem clearly, you should collect pertinent information or data related to the issue. Information can be collected through online research, survey interviews, observations, etc.
- Step 3: Identify Alternative Solutions or Options
In the third step of the decision making process, the decision maker identifies several alternative choices to make based on the information collected from step 2. Here, you should identify all possible and viable alternatives. For example, when you are short of finance you can develop alternatives such as: start a retail shop, look for a job, steal from your neighbor, or do nothing. Each alternative has merits and demerits, and you will evaluate these options in the next step.
- Step 4: Evaluate or Weigh the Options
This step involves weighing the options available by establishing the outcomes and benefits of each option. To weigh the options effectively, you need to use various tools of analysis and evaluation such as cost-benefit analysis, using statistical tools, or reflecting on the pros and cons of each option. Here, you will analyze and evaluate the data you have gathered in step 2 to determine benefits and costs of each option.
- Step 5: Select the Best Alternative – Make a Choice
The fifth step of the decision making process involves selecting the alternative with the best outcome. You need to select an option that maximizes on benefits and minimizes costs, that is, an option with more benefits than costs compared to all other alternatives. Here, you will consider the benefits to you in terms of physical, social, and personal outcomes. Rank all your options, with number 1 being the option with the highest net outcome (benefits – costs). In our example above, stealing will have the most costs while doing a business could compete with looking for employment at the top.
- Step 6: Implement your Chosen Option (take action).
The last step of the decision making process is putting your choice into action. In this case, you need to take action by doing what your best option says you should do. For instance, you may have chosen “doing business” as your best option in our scenario. In this case, you should implement that option by looking for capital and starting to rent space for the business, then buy stock, and market your business.
Consequences of Not Making Effective Decisions
Failure to take action or make effective decisions could have grave consequences. Some of the consequences of not making effective decisions include:
- You may develop poor self-concept – you don’t understand your worth and start doubting yourself. This way, you won’t achieve your full potential.
- Low Self-Esteem – This is a key psychological effect of failing to make effective decisions.
- Teenage pregnancy – If you fail to make bold decisions you may lose control of yourself, and allow other people to take charge of your life. This way you will allow yourself to be preyed and end up being impregnated earlier than you deserve. If that happens, you lose focus on your dreams and possibly drop out of school.
- HIV infection: this is another consequence of not being able to make personal decisions on issues concerning your own sexuality.
- Delinquency: failure to make decisions could make you to be swayed by friends and peers, meaning that you can be influenced to commit crime.
- Truancy: this refers to absenteeism or missing school for no apparent reason. This is a consequence of being unable to make effective decisions.
Decision-Making Institutions within the Community
There are various communities responsible for decision making in the community. They include:
- Peer arbitrators
- Religious bodies
Values Associated with Effective Decision Making
Topic 11: Critical Thinking
Meaning of Critical Thinking
Critical thinking refers to the ability of a person to think in a clear and rational way, and to understand the logical connection between ideas. It entails being able to reason and make appropriate and objective decisions in life. Critical thinkers often question common beliefs and ideas rather than accepting them as given.
In life, we often face numerous ideas, some of which are contradictory and challenging. Thus, it is important to analyze every situation quite critically to make the best decision. Critical thinking also involves inquiry of the mind, ensuring that you examine things deeply to make rational decisions.
There are various risky situations that require critical thinking. They include:
- Peer pressure and influence: The youth might plunge into risky behaviors that will destroy their lives through peer pressure. One requires to think critically about how to live and avoid peer influence and risky behaviors.
- Media influence: There are things that the media presents that look good or appropriate at the face value – e.g. beauty and sex. However, when one examines critically, they will realize that such things may not be appropriate.
- Internal conflicts: people also need to consider how they relate with people critically to avoid conflicts.
- Arguments: when people engage in discussions, they might get into arguments. You need to think critically when arguing your case to convince people and avoid problems.
- Educational matters: You also need to think critically about matters to do with education such as examinations and choice of careers. You should be able to identify the pros and cons of various courses before choosing your career.
Evaluating ideas or Issues Objectively
Critical thinkers always identify, analyze and evaluate decisions systematically instead of simply relying in instinct or intuition. Evaluating ideas or issues objectively involves the following steps:
- Identifying ideas, issues or problems
- Weighing options in terms of ideas and solutions
- Evaluating ideas and identifying the best options
- Selecting appropriate ideas/alternative choices
- Making rational choices.
Consequences of Making Choices before thinking critically
Someone who thinks critically is able to understand the relationship between ideas, determine the importance and relevance of their ideas, make appropriate and consistent decisions, minimize errors in judgment, and build strong arguments.
On the other hand, if you do not think critically when making choices you will encounter the following negative consequences:
- Falling victim of drug and substance abuse
- Increased chances of getting unplanned pregnancies
- Higher chances of early marriages
- Possibility of HIV/AIDS infection
- Physical and psychological abuse
Values Associated with Critical Thinking:
Topic 12: Creative Thinking
Definition of Creative Thinking
Creative thinking refers to the ability to develop a new way of doing something or solving a problem. Creativity entails coming up with new ideas or applying existing ideas on new situations. For instance, one needs to think creatively to identify new ideas on how to resolve conflicts between employees.
Creative thinking includes the following elements: analysis, problem-solving, communication, organization, and open-mindedness.
Situations that Require Creative Thinking
Most situations in life require creative thinking skills. Some of the common situations that require creative thinking include:
- Unfamiliar situations: When confronted with unfamiliar situations, you need to come up with new ideas to deal with such situations.
- Unexpected Situations: there are situations that emerge unexpectedly. We need creative thinking to handle such situations effectively.
- When solving problems: Good solutions to problems affecting us also require creative thinking to come up with novel ways of solving problems.
- During creative writing: writers also require creative thinking in order to create compelling stories.
- In research and analysis: research and analysis skills are essential in creative thinking.
- During communication: when communicating with people you need to think creatively about the information you would like to pass.
- Sales and marketing: sales and marketing teams require creative thinking to develop new ideas on how to improve their sales.
- Leadership: Leaders require creative ideas to make strategic decisions that will help the organization or institution to achieve its objectives.
Importance of Being Creative
Being creative has several positive outcomes for the creative thinker. Being able to come up with new ideas helps a person to adjust well with new circumstances and come up with new ways of making effective decisions or solving problems.
Generally, the importance of being creative can be summed up as follows:
- Minimizing the state or feeling of being stuck.
- Minimizing anxiety
- Minimizing conflicts
- Minimizing life threatening issues
- Promotes effective relationships.
Consequences of Not Being Creative
So far, we have learned that creative thinking has significant benefits. So what are the consequences of not being able to think creatively? If you are not able to think creatively, you will experience some of the following consequences:
- Emotional overload: if you are not creative, you might be overcome by emotions
- Developing distress: being unable to think creatively may make you not to solve your problems effectively, making you more anxious and stressed.
- Getting stuck: Not being creative can also make you get stuck because you will not be able to make decisions appropriately.
- Becoming sick: you can get diseases such as heart attack if you do not think creatively about how to address your problems.
- Having poor relationships with others: lack of creativity also causes poor relationships because you may not be able to develop good ideas on how to relate with people.
- Having poor working relationships: You need creative skills to relate well with others at work.
Values Associated with Creative Thinking
Topic 13: Problem Solving
Definition of Problem Solving
Problem Solving refers to the process of identifying a problem, alternative solutions, and choosing the best solution to solve the problem. Everyone faces problems multiple times in their lives. Each day presents itself with a new problem or challenge to be solved. This lesson identifies ways of identifying a problem and how to solve such problems effectively.
Problems that Require Solutions
The first step in learning about problems is to identify the key problem areas than need to be addressed. Some of the areas in which people face problems in their everyday lives include:
- Concerns in the school, e.g. poor performance
- Problems experienced at home
- Peer influence
- Conflicts in relationships
- Business challenges such as lack of capital
- Diseases and injuries
- Political conflicts
- Financial problems
Causes of Problems
The first step in problem solving is always to identify the causes of the problem. Identifying causes of problems is helps the problem solver to develop relevant solutions to the problems. Some of the possible causes of problems in one’s life include:
- Failure to make the right choice
- Inability to make the right decisions
- Peer pressure
- Drug and substance abuse
- Sexual abuse
Methods of Solving Problems
The methods and steps of solving problems is pretty much like the steps used in decision making. In order to live well and achieve one’s dreams, it is necessary to find solutions to problems as they occur. Here are the most common steps used in solving problems:
- Identifying the problem
- Gather information to differentiate between facts and opinions
- Identify the root causes of the problem
- Consult all relevant parties when collecting information
- Clearly define/state the problem
- Identify the expectation or standard that has been violated
- Identify the process related to the problem
- Don’t solve problems without having enough data
- Identify alternative solutions and evaluate each of them
- Evaluate alternative solutions based on the expected outcome or standard
- Evaluate all options objectively and without bias
- Focus on your goals when evaluating alternatives
- Select the best solution that has the most advantages and results
- Think critically when selecting your solution
- State the selected choice clearly
- Make appropriate decisions
- Implement the selected solution
- Make a proper plan to implement your solution
- Gather feedback from multiple stakeholders
- Seek acceptance or consensus among all stakeholders
- Develop ways of measuring and monitoring progress
Values necessary for Solving Problems
Topic 14: Leisure
Definition of Leisure
Leisure can be define as a time of freedom when one is freed from doing work. It a free time caused by the cessation of activities. Another key definition of leisure is the temporary release from compulsory duties and obligations. Leisure time can be used for relaxation, social interactions, diversion, and personal development.
For example, when a teacher is free from teaching during holidays he may decide to spend time with family members at home. A business man may also spend some leisure time with his family by the beach or inside the park. Other examples of spending leisure include skating, swimming, hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, playing pool, and watching football.
Leisure can be categorized into active and passive leisure.
Active leisure occurs when someone participates in activities to relieve pressure and stress during leisure. These activities distract people from formal duties. They may include recreational activities such as playing tennis. Active leisure promotes a sense of self and self-esteem.
Passive leisure occurs when someone is doing nothing such as spending time at home relaxing with minimal efforts. For example, passive leisure may include watching television and listening to music. This approach is used by introvert individuals. If a person is not able to make decisions on their own, they can be easily influenced to use their leisure time unconstructively.
Effects of Misusing Leisure
Leisure is significantly important when used appropriately for relaxation and social interactions. However, some young people may misuse their leisure time by engaging in destructive activities or disruptive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse.
The failure to use leisure time positively may lead to:
- Drug and substance abuse
- HIV/AIDS infection
- Participation in criminal activities
- Engagement in sexually activities
- Early pregnancies and marriages
- Loss of self-esteem and self-concept
- Diseases associated with poor lifestyle such obesity
Activities for Positive Leisure
Here is a list of positive leisure activities that you may engage in to improve your health and attitude:
- Ball games e.g. football, athletics, swimming
- Visiting the sick people
- Doing homework
- Visiting friends
- Helping parents at home
- Revising for exams
Life Skills for Positive Use of Leisure Time
Knowing what we know now about the positives and negatives of leisure, you should develop certain life skills. Some of the life skills needed in order to use leisure effectively include:
- Problem solving
- Creative Thinking
- Critical Thinking
Values Associated with Leisure
Topic 15: Time Management
Definition of Time Management
Time can be defined as a period or duration within which something or an event happens in life, usually measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. Time is a very important resource that cannot be recovered once it has been lost. Accordingly, it is important for people to organize activities in such a way that they fit within a given period and utilize their time effectively.
Time management is therefore the process or planning and organizing activities to fit within a desired timeframe and to ensure that required tasks are completed on time. The ability to manage time effectively is a desirable skill at work, school and home.
Planning is an important part of time management, and it starts with a work schedule. It means identifying the current position and what is desired for the future. It also entails identifying what someone wants to achieve and how they are going to achieve it.
The first step in time management is to draw a work schedule that highlights all the activities that one has to do. Each task is assigned a specific time in a sequence starting with the most important activities. In this planning stage, a person evaluates the work they have to determine whether it is achievable within a given period of time.
A work schedule is also known as a timetable, and it is advisable to be written on a daily basis to show what one needs to achieve within the day. It is often written in the form of a diary so that it captures all the required tasks for the day.
Here are some tips on how to write a good work schedule:
- The work schedule should be flexible – it should give a chance to be changed according to evolving needs of the user. Does not need to be too rigid.
- A daily work schedule may be different among people even if it involves similar activities because each person has unique personalities, interests, and attitudes.
- The user should stick to the time stipulated for each task in the time schedule.
- Prioritize your tasks – from the most important to the least important.
- Find a time of the day that most works for you to work on important tasks such as writing or reading
- Make the time schedule well organized so that you can follow your tasks easily.
Time Management Chart
A time management chart is an important tool used to plan one’s time and review how well someone has spent their time, preferably within a week. Using this tool will help you focus on the most important tasks to you and spend your time more efficiently.
Using a time management chart, you can subtract the time you on regular activities from the total number of hours you have within the week. What you are left with is your free time and you will choose how to spend it.
At the end of the week, you can look back at your chart and review how you spent your time. That will help you make positive changes in the coming week.
Benefits of a Time Management Chart
There are several great benefits that one gets from using a time management chart:
- Visibility: the tool helps someone to see a big picture from the visual representation their time. This makes planning of time more accurate.
- Efficiency: A time management chart helps the user to dissect their activities and allocate time to each task more efficiently.
- Effectiveness: this tool ensures that work is done on time, making task performance more effective.
Things that should be included in a time management chart:
- Leisure time
- Working time
- Exercise and games
- Helping the needy
- Meals time
- Cleaning time
Importance of Managing Time
Time management is important in every aspect of life. Everyone benefits from managing time effectively in whatever they do, be it in school, home or work. Here is a brief list of the reasons why managing time is important to you and everyone else:
- Focusing on priorities: managing time helps you to focus on priority activities in whichever environment you work from. For instance, time management can help you focus on important business activities such as purchasing stock.
- Sense of direction: managing time can also help you develop a sense of direction – you will know what you have achieved and what you still need to achieve, and how you are going to achieve it.
- Attain goals and minimize stress: managing time also ensures that you organize activities to achieve your goals.
- Satisfy others/clients – managing time effectively helps you focus on key activities that will promote the needs of important people in your life, e.g. customers.
- Create time for everything: managing time is important because it enables you to fix all activities within your work schedule so that every activity is allocated some time. In this regard, you can perform all tasks if you plan your time well.
Time wasters are the things that hinder you from managing your time effectively. They include:
- Procrastination – pushing what you can do now to another time in the future.
- Interruptions from other people – If someone interferes with your schedule without appointment.
- Poor or lack of delegation: delegation entails assigning some tasks to other people. Without delegation, you may not do everything by yourself.
- Talking too long on the phone.
- Lack of priorities. You should prioritize the most important issues or activities to perform.
- Day dreaming: don’t just sit down and think about the things you wish to achieve. Take action to achieve those dreams.
- Excessive playing: Too much work without play makes Jack a dull boy, but too much of something is poisonous. If you spend most of your time playing you will lose important time that you could have used to perform important tasks.
- Indecisiveness: being unable to make decisions in particular situations can make you stuck and unable to continue with anything.
- Disorganization: inability to plan and organize yourself well will lead to time wasting.
- Uncontrolled media influence – e.g. spending too much time on TV.
- Reading junk literature: reading can be a good way of spending your leisure time, but too much of it will waste your time.
- Quarreling and fighting will also waste your time which you could have used to perform productive activities.
Effective Management of Time
In order to manage time effectively, there are certain factors you should consider. For example, you should look at the environment where you work from. It should be free of distractors which can affect your time management skills and abilities. Here are a few ways of managing time effectively:
- Don’t work on several projects at the same time. Complete one project before going to the next.
- Prioritize your activities and focus on the most important ones first.
- Have a deadline for each project and work towards meeting that deadline to achieve specific milestones or results.
- Always plan your activities ahead of time to ensure that you have the resources you need for the task.
- Be disciplined and committed to your work.
Values associated with Time Management
Life skills associated with time management
- Decision making
Topic 16: Gender Education
Gender education is a contemporary issue that students must learn in order to understand themselves and their social environments better. We start by first defining the meaning of gender, which must be differentiated from sex.
Gender is defined as the social, cultural and psychological characteristics that identify a person as a male or female within a given society. The terms “social”, “cultural” and “society” are important in this definition to differentiate the term from the concept of sex.
Sex refers to the biological characteristics that identify a person as a man or woman, girl or boy. Sex is concerned with the physical and physiological features such as genes and chromosomes which influence the physical appearance of a person. The words “biological”, “physical” and “physiological” are important in this definition to distinguish the concept of sex from gender.
The main difference between sex and gender is that gender refers to socially constructed roles and cultural behaviors that identifies male and female people in a given society while sex refers to physiological and biological attributes of a person.
Therefore, gender education refers to the process of learning or the study of social and cultural characteristics that identify individuals as males or females in a given society.
Agents that Perpetuate Gender Discrimination
Gender discrimination occurs when people are barred from participating in certain activities or enjoying certain benefits in society due to their gender. For example, women may be discriminated in the workplace and prevented from occupying positions of leadership due to their female gender. Such forms of discrimination are perpetuated by various factors such as:
- Culture: different cultures assign roles to specific gender. For example, in African culture women are assigned home activities and household chores such as child bearing, and this prevents them from performing political and economic activities in society.
- Stereotyping: this refers to society’s beliefs and attitudes based on traditions rather than realities. They cause discrimination against people based on their gender and other cultural factors.
- Poverty: Because women are traditionally discriminated in political and social positions, they lack the resources to improve, and become poorer. Poverty increases gender discrimination.
- Illiteracy: lack of education also prevents women from achieving top leadership positions and performing economic activities.
Gender stereotyping occurs when men and women are assigned certain characteristics in society based on cultural beliefs, norms and attitudes of that society. Examples of gender stereotypes include:
|Female Stereotype||Male Stereotype|
|Physically weak||Physically strong|
|Less intellectual||More intellectual|
|Cannot lead||Are leaders|
|Household subordinates||Household leaders|
|Cannot make decisions||Decision makers|
Feminine versus Masculine stereotypes
|Masculine people…||Feminine people…|
|Are in control||Are emotionally sensitive|
|Are unemotional||Are vulnerable|
|Are dominant||Submit to men|
|Are sexually active||Are dependent|
|Can have many partners||Should be faithful to their husbands|
|Be the breadwinner||Meet the needs of others before theirs|
|Take careers in mathematics & sciences||Don’t pursue science and mathematics|
Effects of Gender on an Individual Life
The social construction of gender and gender roles can have significant impact on a person’s psychological and emotional wellbeing. Some of the key effects of gender on a person’s life include:
- Poor self-concept
- Low self-esteem
Effects of Stereotypes on Relationships
- Stereotypes may lead to violence, for example men can beat their wives when they fail to be submissive or disagree with their decisions.
- Disagreement when the women is earning and the man is not earning because stereotypically men are expected to earn more than women. This can cause breakages in marriage.
- Rape: Women may be viewed as sex objects and when they are not ready for sexual intercourse they may be raped by men who use force to meet their sexual desires.
- Stereotypes on the roles of women can lead to discrimination in the workplace.
- Gender stereotypes can also cause harassment – both physical and sexual – especially on women.
Strategies to Eliminate Gender Discrimination
In every liberal and progressive society, eradication of gender discrimination is always a priority. Here are a few strategies that can be used to eliminate gender discrimination despite significant challenges:
- Individuals in society should be treated equally regardless of their gender in order to enhance a gender friendly environment.
- Creating gender-friendly work environment and careers
- Learners should be encouraged to concentrate in all subject areas regardless of their gender to dispel the stereotype that women are not good in sciences.
- All learners should engage in different leisure and sports activities without discrimination.
- Assigning equal duties, roles and responsibilities to both boys and girls
- Providing guiding and counselling to young people on sexual behaviors, drug and alcohol abuse, and responsible adulthood.
- Using data to study trends of dropouts and repetition in school based on gender in order to identify and address gender bias.
- Encouraging parents and members of the community to develop positive attitudes towards equal education of both boys and girls
- Encouraging girls to go to school even after becoming pregnant to continue with education
Values Associated with Gender Discrimination
Topic 17: Drug and Substance Abuse
Definition of Terms
A substance is an element such as alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and other drugs that may alter the mood of a person when ingested into the body. These substances can be legal (such as alcohol) or illegal (such as bhang).
Substance abuse is therefore the use of mood-altering substances in a harmful way.
A drug can be defined as a substance, which may be chemical, synthetic or natural, which when taken in by a living organism may modify or affect one or more of its functions
Drug misuse is considered to be the misuse of medicine and incorrect use of drugs or medicines with the intention of causing body changes. It can also be said to be taking of medicine/drugs without the doctor’s prescription.
Commonly Abused Drugs and Substances
The most commonly abused substances are alcohol and tobacco. They are in fact termed as gateway substances to other drugs.
Alcohol includes wine, spirits, beer, “busaa”, “muratina”, “mnazi”, “changaa” and others such as “kumi kumi” “machozi” etc). Alcohol is considered a depressant which slows and lowers the functions of the brain, e.g. thinking, concentration, and recognition, making decisions and initiating reasoned actions. The effect of alcohol on the brain make people feel relaxed, stop worrying about what other people think of them, and have a good time.
The initial effect of alcohol makes one feel stimulated, become talkative and more active. As some continue taking more alcohol, mood and social behavior changes, some people become depressed and remorseful; others become belligerent (become abusive or violent)
Depressive drunks may slow down, stumble, loudly confess their sins and failures and slur in words. The Amoral drunks may pick up quarrels and fights and other reckless behaviors. When they fall asleep they wake up with a hangover which includes fatigue, headache and nausea. They may also feel restlessness during the day and this can affect their productivity
Tobacco contains 4,000 different chemicals many of which are harmful. Nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar are the three main chemicals that affect the human body and cause diseases. Tobacco can be smoked, snorted or chewed.
Effects of Tobacco
The tar in the cigarette is deposited in the lungs causing lung damage and even lung cancer. Carbon monoxide present in cigarettes also affects the chemical activity of the heart, which encourages deposits on the walls of the arteries leading to blockage that may cause blood circulation problems.
For pregnant women this reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the baby during pregnancy. Smoking can also cause spontaneous abortion and other complications during pregnancy, low birth weight babies and stillbirths as well as prenatal mortality in women.
Smoking also leads to increased incidences of severe coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath on exertion. Peptic ulcers in the stomach and duodenum, cancer of the mouth, nose, throat, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, cervix and leukemia are other diseases caused by smoking.
Economically, although smoking contributes to a country’s revenue, it eats into the family budget. It is also very costly in the treatment of diseases associated with smoking.
- Cannabis Sativa
It is also known as Bang, Marijuana (street names – grass, weed, pot, jive, reeter, and ganja. This drug is rolled into cigarette and smoked; and can also be chewed. It can also be processed into more potent form known as hashish.
Effects of Marijuana
Some young people like to use marijuana because it makes them feel “high”, but its negative effects are detrimental. Here are some of the common negative effects of Marijuana:
- It causes memory loss and learning difficulties
- It reduces a person’s thinking and problem solving abilities
- Leads to the loss of mental coordination
- Increased anxiety, panic attacks, and heartbeat.
- Can lead people to make stupid mistakes at work
- It can also cause people to engage in unsafe sexual behaviors and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS
- Leads to the abuse of other drugs
- It causes psychotic behaviors and confusion
Health Risks of Glue
Sniffing Glue can cause:
- Vomiting, nausea, collapsing, and heart diseases.
- It may lead to death by flooding the lungs.
- Sometimes it can lead to suffocation
- Glue can affect the senses, making someone to feel high and cause accidents
- Persistent use of glue may cause damage to the brain, kidneys or liver.
Effects of Glue
- Users of glue always feel dizzy, giggly, dreamy and thick-headed.
- Khat/Miraa – this is a stimulant
Causes of drug and substance Abuse
People engage in drug and substance abuse for the following reasons:
- The desire or pressure to perform well in examinations.
- Academic overload or excessive work
- Family issues such as shaky backgrounds and feeling of rejection
- Peer influence
- The need to escape from a situation or problem at work or home
- Poor parenting or lack of parental modeling – leading to loss of moral behavior.
- Media influence
- Socioeconomic conditions and background
- Religious and cultural influence
Signs and Symptoms of Drug and Substance Abuse
- Staggering walk and slurred speech
- Lack of coordination in body movement, drowsiness,
- Blurred vision, bloodshot eyes, watery eyes, and sores around the mouth.
- General poor health
- Dry mouth and persistent coughing
- Emergence of gangster-like behaviors such as haircut and untidiness.
- Gathering in groups in isolated places
- Withdrawing from family members and friends
- Being involved with bad company or people of suspicious character
- Mood swings – violence, excessive aggressiveness and excitement
- Impaired judgment and confusion during conversations
- Behavioral changes
- Personality changes
- Truancy and refusal to go to school
- Despair and loss of interest in life
- Mental illness, delirium, and hallucinations.
- Lack of sleep
Effects of Drug and Substance Abuse
- Damage to the cardiovascular system including the heart – causing heart diseases and heart failure
- Drugs damage the lungs and the entire respiratory system when smoked. They cause diseases such as lung cancer and asthma.
- Damaging the kidney and the liver
- They may also cause damage and decay to the stomach and the intestines.
- Impaired mental and cognitive function
- Changes in memory and brain connections
- Death of brain cells – causing brain damage
- Drug and alcohol abusers experience mood disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders.
- People who abuse drugs may experience distorted sense of judgment and distorted behaviors, and they might do things they would otherwise not have done. This puts them in trouble like going to prison or damaging relationships.
Stages of Drug and Substance Abuse
Drug Abuse goes through the following stages:
Stage 1: Tolerance
A person starts abusing drugs for the first time and more into habitual use where the drug takes the central stage of hi/her life. This repeated use leads to changes in the brain and nervous system so that the user needs more of the drug to get the expected effect
Stage 2: Dependence
The body of the drug abuser demands that he takes more drugs. The abuser is noe in the stage of psychic or physical compulsive desire to continually use the drug, either to experience the desired effects or avoid the consequences of withdrawal. The suffering from withdrawal is like an emotional prison trapping the drug abuser.
Stage 3: Addiction
The user is now a victim of drugs and cannot help himself or herself. He/she has now developed physical and psychological need for the drug for the body to function normally. This may lead to damage of vital organs in the body such as lungs, liver, central nervous system etc. and the work output may deteriorate
The user lives in denial and has little concern for future life. The use may manipulate other people to get what he/she wants so as to maintain the habit.
Relationship between Substance Abuse and HIV & AIDS
- Sharing of needles by substance abusers can lead to HIV infection and AIDS
- Substance abusers stand a high risk of spreading HIV &AIDS through sexual intercourse
- Substance use is known to impair a person’s judgment and for this reason the person may expose himself/herself to the virus
- The uncontrollable properties of psychoactive substances lead to sexual and other high risk behaviors that individuals might otherwise avoid.
Management of Drug and Substance Abuse
This is getting the drug out of the person’s system and seeing him/her through the withdraw system, where drugs dependency starts.
Characteristics of clients who are motivated to change
- Accept the diagnosis given
- Uncomfortable about the behavior
- Talk about change willingly
- Agree with the counselor
- Follow the course of action
- They will start, continue and try to sustain change
NB: The counselor’s role is to motivate the client and affirm any small achievement.
Effective Motivation Strategy
Motivation is a state of readiness or eagerness to change, which may fluctuate from one time situation to another. This stage is one that can be influenced.
Prochaska & Diclemente developed a wheel of change model that shows the stages through which clients pass in course of changing a problem. These include:
- A person is not considering change, has not contemplated having a problem or needing to make a change. People are very defensive here
- People seldom present themselves for treatment but they are made under coercion
- They need information and feedback to raise awareness about the problem and the possibility of change.
- Awareness is already raised but the client considers change and rejects it. They are ambivalent
- When they talk about self, they go back and forth between reasons for concern and justification for unconcern (caused by pathological personality traits or defense mechanisms)
- The counselor task at this stage is to help tip the balance in favor for change
- People come for consultation in the contemplation stage. As a counselor practice motivational interviewing.
- Determination Stage
This is a window of opportunity. The counselor helps the client to match i.e. helping client to find a change strategy that is acceptable, accessible, appropriate and effective
- Action Stage
- This is what most people think is therapy
- The person engages in particular actions intended to bring about change
- These changes may or may not be assisted by formal counseling. The goal during this stage is to produce a change in the area
- Maintenance Stage
- The challenge is to sustain the change accomplished by previous action to prevent relapse.
- Maintaining change may require a different set of skills and strategies e.g. quitting a drug, reducing drinking or losing weight is an initial step followed by the challenge of maintaining assistance or moderation
Help the client to renew the process of contemplation, determination and action stages without becoming stuck or demoralized because of the relapse
What is motivational interviewing?
Motivation is defined as a probability that a person will enter into, continue and adhere to specific change strategy. It is the counselor’s responsibility not only to dispense advice but also to motivate – to increase likelihood that the client will follow a recommended course of action to change. A counselor is like a salesman and motivation is inherent and central part of the professional task.
Principles of Motivation Interviewing
- Some people need this, once unstuck, no longer immobilized by conflicting motivations, they have the skill and resources they need in order to make a lasting change
- Important to people who are reluctant to change and endure ambivalent in changing
- For others, motivational interviewing is a prelude to treatment
- It creates openness to change which paves way for further therapeutic work Responsibility for change relies on the individual
- This does not denote that therapists are powerless or helpless, they exert a lot of influence
- The strategies are more persuasive than coercive, more supportive than argumentative (the therapist creates a conducive environment for change)
- The therapist is increasing client’s intrinsic motivation, so that change arises from within rather than being imposed from without
- Done properly, client presents the argument for change, rather than therapist.
- Motivation interviewing employs a variety of strategies especially derived from person centered therapy
- Counselor may appear relatively active
- But the motivational interviewing proceeds with a strong sense of purpose, clear strategies and skills for pursuing that purpose and a sense of timing to intervene in particular ways at particular moments.
Motivational Interviewing Approach
- Systematically directs the client towards motivation for change
- Offers the counselor’s own advice and feedback where appropriate
- Empathic reflection is used selectively to reinforce certain processes
- Seeks to create and amplify the client’s discrepancy in order to enhance motivation for change
- De-emphasis on basis of labels; acceptance of “alcoholism” or other labels seen an unnecessary for change
- Emphasize on personal choice and responsibility for deciding future behavior
- Therapists conduct the objective evaluation, but focuses on eliciting the client’s own concerns
- Resistance is seen as interpersonal behavior pattern influenced by therapist’s behavior Resistance is met with reflection
- Treatment goals and change strategies are negotiated between the client the therapist, based on data and acceptability. Client’s involvement in the process and acceptance of goals are vital.
- Individual approaches
- In patient counseling
- Participation in AA (Alcohol Anonymous) support groups
- Change can be enhanced by Cognitive approaches, Behavioral modification, Person centered Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy.
- Counseling dysfunctional families and children – they suffer from shame, anger, distorted thinking
- The clients need to be appreciated and accepted by the community to help them become productive members of the society.
Preventive Measures to Drug and Substance Abuse
- Proper education on factors that contribute to the problem and deal with them
- There is need to educate the public on proper use of legal drugs
- Create awareness in the community, at work place, in schools and places of worship.
- Educating people about drugs removes ignorance
- Media campaigns to highlight negative effects of drug use
- Effective parenting helps to raise a drug free child. Functional families nurture a normal child.
- Occupational therapist to train workers how to cope with stress at work place
- Teach life skills and other skills related to their jobs e.g. interpersonal skills, assertiveness etc.
- To detect the drug users and, help them through drug counseling, treatment and rehabilitations
- Effective government policies on drug trafficking.
Life skills Necessary in the Prevention of Drug and Substance Abuse
Values Necessary in the Prevention of Drug and Substance Abuse
Topic 18: HIV and AIDS
Definition of Terms
HIV is a virus which affects the immune system, and it is an acronym that stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
AIDS is the disease that is caused by the HIV various – a sexually transmitted disease which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
Modes of Transmission of HIV/AIDS
Understanding the mode of transmission of HIV/AIDS is necessary for people to protect themselves of from the disease. Notably, HIV/AIDS has no cure, so it is important that people know how it is transmitted so that they can avoid being infected.
The first important thing to note is that the HIV virus is transmitted through fluids such as:
- Breast milk
- Semen and pre-seminal fluid
- Vaginal fluids
- Rectal fluids and anal mucus.
Therefore, any contact between two people that involves the exchange of any of the above fluids increases the risk of catching AIDS. Some of the methods through which AIDS is transmitted include:
- Sexual intercourse with an infected person – exchange of vaginal fluids, semen and pre-cum fluids.
- Blood transfusion as well as use of sharp objects used by an infected person – because it involves exchange and transmission through blood,
- Mother to child transmission during birth and through breastfeeding
To be safe, people should avoid sexual intercourse with people who are not tested for HIV/AIDS or use a condom to prevent exchange of fluids during intercourse.
Myths and Misconceptions about HIV and AIDS
A myth is a belief or story about an event or something, which is based on prejudice and stereotype rather than the truth. It is a misconception about something, which may usually have a little truth, but much of it is twisted and false.
There are several myths associated with HIV&AIDS, which explain misconceptions about how the diseases is transmitted. Some of the myths suggest that the transmission of HIV & AIDS occurs through:
- Shaking hands
- Donating blood
- A mosquito bite
- Sharing beddings and utensils
- Sleeping or sitting next to someone infected with HIV/AIDS
- Hugging or playing with an infected person
- Coming into contact with the sweat of an infected person
- Visiting or consoling a person with HIV & AIDS
Some misconceptions about HIV/AIDS
- Promiscuous people get AIDS
- Everyone who has been infected with HIV & AIDS looks sick and thin
- Washing vagina with soap after sex prevents HIV/AIDS
- Virgins cannot get HIV/AIDS
- It is okay to engage in sexual intercourse with teenage girls aged below 15 years because they do not have HIV/AIDS
- AIDS/HIV is a curse from God for people who break the taboos of the society
- AIDS is caused by witchcraft
Signs and Symptoms of HIV & AIDS
It is difficult to identify a person who has HIV/AIDS in the first few years because the effects of the disease takes time to be seen. However, there are early symptoms HIV which appear within the first 1-4 weeks:
- Swelling of lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat and
- Weight loss
At these initial stages, the immune system fights the HIV virus, but the immunity becomes weakened. When the immune system weakens, the diseases advances to AIDS and give way for opportunistic diseases.
AIDS in itself does not cause illness, it only weakens the immune system and allows other diseases to destroy the life of the infected person.
Symptoms of AIDS
- Night sweat
- Rapid weight loss
- Dry cough
- Chronic diarrhea
- Memory loss
- Herpes zoster
- Herpes simplex
- Itchy skins
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- High fatigue
- Depression and other neurological disorders
- White spots and blemishes on the mouth
- Feeling tired and fatigued
- Changes in the senses of hearing, seeing, touch and smell
Factors that promote the spread of HIV & AIDS
Factors that enhance the spread of HIV & AIDS are those practices and issues that increase the risk of spread of HIV & AIDS. These factors that facilitate the spread of HIV & AIDS include:
- Wife inheritance
- Sharing sharp instruments such as razor blades, needles and syringes
- Use of unsterilized instruments
- Myths and misconceptions about HIV & AIDS
- Having many sexual partners
- Wife inheritance
- Burial events that encourage irresponsible sexual behaviors.
- Blood transfusion using untested blood.
Ways of Preventing the Spread of HIV & AIDS
Essentially, the spread of HIV & AIDS can be prevented by avoiding practices that promote the exchange of body fluids with an infected person. Because it may not be possible to know who is infected with HIV & AIDS, it is important to take all precautions possible. Some of the ways to prevent the spread of HIV & AIDS are:
- Abstaining from sex before marriage
- Being faithful to one sexual partner
- Using protection and contraceptives such as condoms when having sex
- Using sterilized instruments during birth, circumcision, ear piercing, etc.
- Using alternative rites of passage
- Dispelling the myths and misconceptions about HIV & AIDS
- Avoiding sharing sharp materials
- Promoting moral values in society
- Counselling young people to live responsibly
HIV & AIDS Interventions
- Increased self-awareness
- Behavior change
- Showing empathy
- HIV & AIDS Education: reinforce community outreach programs
- Change of attitude
- Promotion of long healthy life
Care and Support of the Infected and Affected
This entails assisting those infected when they are unable to do things for themselves e.g. cooking, washing them, giving them medicine, dressing wounds, sun bathing etc.
The care providers should however take precautions to avoid infection, especially by avoiding direct contact with the infected person’s body fluids.
People living with HIV/AIDS need love and support from close people in their lives such as relatives and friends. If they are supported emotionally and physiologically, they become stronger to fight the disease and improve their immunity. However, without support from family and friends they become weaker and more vulnerable.
Here are ways of helping HIV & AIDS victims emotionally to keep them healthy:
- Need to be loved and appreciated
- Showing them empathy
- Need to be encouraged to think positively
- Need to encourage them to talk freely
- Being available for them
- Involving them in decision making at home
- Need to be respected.
Helping them to develop a positive mental attitude:
- Help them deal with self-stigma
- Provide spiritual support
- Need to free them from fear and shame
Material and Financial Support
- Give them material and financial support as most of them will have lost their source of income
- Help them start alternative Income Generating Activities (I. G.).
Anti-Retro Viral Therapy
Anti-Retro Viral Therapy for HIV infection consists of drugs, which work by slowing down the reproduction of HIV in the body. This is only possible after one has known his or her HIV status. ARVs treatment should be sought from a recognized medical facility or practitioner. Those on ARVs should strive to adhere to the prescribed dosage.
Stress Related to HIV & AIDS
People become utterly stressed and traumatized when they realize that they are positive with HIV/AIDS. Such people:
- Suffer from a state of shock and despair
- May not accept the situation – living in denial
- Become disorganized
- Become or develop the feeling of guilt and shame
- Develop anxiety and panic attacks
- Experience increased aggressiveness
- If properly counseled, they can resolve their confusion and accept the situation
- Start the process of reintegration into the society after accepting the situation.
When they are undergoing the process of accepting the situation and being reintegrated into society, HIV/AIDS victims require support to relieve stress. This can be done through:
- Emotional support
- Being connected with nature e.g. through taking a walk in the garden and watching birds.
- Taking sufficient vitamins
- Creating a strict routine sleep pattern.
- Crying when necessary to release suppressing emotions.
- Doing good things to other people to feel self-fulfillment.
Skills that help in preventing HIV & AIDS
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to HIV/AIDS because the disease does not have a cure yet. These are the skills that people need to develop in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS:
- Problem solving
- Coping with stress
- Critical and creative thinking
- Coping with emotions
Values that help in preventing HIV & AIDS
Topic 19: Child Labor
Definition of Terms
Child: A child is legally defined as a person aged below the age of 18.
Child Labor: Child labor refers to a situation in which a child works as a laborer to earn income. It involves any of the following circumstances:
- A child works as an assistant or someone else, and the other person is paid on behalf of the child, e.g. when a parent uses their child to work on their behalf for payment.
- An individual or institution uses a child for gain whether the child gets paid or not.
- A contract in which the child is hired to provide services or labor in exchange for payment.
Child Work: any work that is not harmful to a child’s health or work that promotes the child’s health.
Differences between child labor and child work
Child labor is a form of work that is harmful to a child while child work refers to acceptable form of work that is not harmful to the child. Child labor is defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as a form of work that is hazardous or one that interferes with their education, or harmful to their health and moral/social development.
Examples of child labor is when a child works in a factory where he or she is exposed to harmful and toxic substances. On the other hand, child work may include helping around the house in a safe manner e.g. through cooking, washing utensils, etc.
|Child Labor||Child Work|
|Harms the child’s health and development||Promotes the child’s development|
|Amounts to child slavery||Contributes to children’s welfare|
|May involve sexual exploitation||Provides children with skills & experience|
|No opportunity to go to school||Does not interfere with child’s education|
|Involves child trafficking sometimes||Helping parents around the house|
|Involving hazardous work||Does not involve hazardous work|
|Mentally and morally dangerous||Promotes moral development|
Forms of Child Labor
Child labor occurs when:
- Work takes up too much of the child’s time
- Makes the child too tired to attend school
- Prevents the child from playing or participating in social/family activities
- Makes the child feel emotionally anxious, unsafe, or threatened.
- The child feels hurt during the work or exhausted after doing the work
- The work involves the use of harmful chemicals, heavy machinery and sharp tools
- The work is illegal.
Some forms of child labor in Kenya include:
- Transporting operators
- Working in factories
- Selling illegal drugs
- Herding livestock during school days
Worst forms of child labor may include slavery, child trafficking, debt bondage, children in armed conflicts, forced labor, and sexual work.
Factors Contributing to Child Labor
Child labor is a complex and sensitive issue that affects quite a good number of people in the world. There is no single cause of child labor, but a collection of issues may compel a child to engage in it. Some of the common factors that lead to child labor include:
- Poverty: families that have no jobs and live in slums or rural areas may force their children to work for money so that they can supplement the family’s income.
- Parental negligence: this occurs when parents fail to perform their responsibilities of providing for their children. This forces the child to work for pay so that they can eat and buy personal effects such as clothes.
- Ignorance of children’s rights: a good number of parents have not heard or don’t care about the rights of children such as right to education and good health.
- Being orphaned: children whose parents have died may not have someone to help them. Thus, they resort to paid work in order to pay for food and other basic needs.
- Social conflicts: families and societies may have conflicts that compel children to run away from home, and wherever they go they start working to survive.
- Lack of Quality Education: Without quality education, children may participate in the labor market to make money.
Community Level of Awareness on Child Labor
There are still so many people in Kenya who are not aware of child labor. The government suggests that there are over four million children out of school, most of whom are child workers.
The child labor crises in Kenya may be associated with various factors such as political, cultural, and social factors. They require narrow, family-based and micro levels of interventions. There can also be broad, multi-sectoral, and macro-level interventions and programs to end child labor.
A key part of ending child labor should start with creating awareness about child labor and educating families about the issue. All stakeholders in the society should be involved in the process of developing practical measures to address the issue of child labor.
Interventions to End Child Labor
Some of the interventions that can be implemented to stop child labor in Kenya include:
- Enforcing laws on child rights
- Parents, children, teachers, employers, and communities coming together to address the problem.
- Including the topic of child labor in school curriculum to educate children about the issue
- Empowering communities and their leaders.
- Planning for lobby groups within communities.
- Developing reporting centers within communities for people to report incidences of wanton child labor.
Life skills needed to eliminate child labor
Addressing child labor is a complex issue that requires individuals and leaders to develop certain life skills. Some of the skills needed for people to address child labor effectively may include:
- Effective communication
- Decision making
Topic 20: Child Rights
Definition of Terms
- Human rights
Human rights refers to a set of freedoms and basic rights that a person is entitled to as a human being, and not even the government may interfere with the exercise of such rights.
- Child Abuse
Child abuse is defined as an injury caused to a child either physically, sexually, mentally or psychologically. Children may be abused by strangers, parents, or other adults in the community.
- Child Neglect
Child neglect is a situation in which the people responsible for a child’s wellbeing fails to provide adequate care, either physically or emotionally; thus depriving them of their rights in one way or another.
- Child Labor
Child labor refers to a situation in which a child works in under difficult circumstances in exchange for payment. It includes instances of child exploitation, harmful work, hazardous work environment, and work that prevents a child from going to school.
A need is something that someone cannot do without. For instance, food, shelter, water and clothing are basic goods that people cannot do without.
Ratification means validating something through formal confirmation, i.e. confirming that something is valid.
Types of human needs
There two major types of human needs: physiological needs and psychological needs.
Psychological needs are conditions that determine orientation, control, pleasure, self-esteem, and attachment. Abraham Maslow identified various psychological needs such as esteem needs, feeling of prestige and accomplishment, love, and sense of belonging. These sets of needs are met only after meeting the physiological needs.
Physiological needs are the basic needs that are required for proper body functioning such as food, water, warmth, and rest. They are the most basic needs because people cannot survive without them.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
The UNCRC is a UN organization that deals with the promotion and protection of children’s rights through international law and policies. The agency was founded in 1989. Kenya ratified the Convention on the Right of the Child in 1990.
Countries that have ratified the UNCRC are required to report to the Convention 2 years after ratifying and after every five years subsequently. The report is required to represent the needs of all stakeholders. In case there is a conflict between members of the civil society, it is necessary to provide a supplementary report to be handed over to the Committee as the conflict is being resolved.
Kenya failed to send a report in 2 years after ratification in 1990 as required under the convention. Furthermore, Kenya failed to submit a report after 5 years (1997) as also required. However, the country delivered a combined report in 1998. Following the ratification of the UNCRC, Kenya made quick step to create policies to protect children’s rights. The first step was the enactment of the Children’s Act of 2001.
The children’s Act 2001
The date of assent: 31st December 2001 Date of commencement: 1st March, 2002
The enactment of Children’s Act of 2001 gives effect to the obligations of Kenya under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Children (ACRWC).
It is an Act of Parliament to make provision for parental responsibility, fostering, adoption, custody, maintenance, guardianship, care and protection of children, to make provision for the administration of children’s institutions.
Provides for the rights of the child and seeks to enhance the welfare of the child Merges the provision of other laws that affect children: adoption Act;
Guardianship of the Infants, Children and Young Persons
Rights: right is what a human being deserves or entitlement is by law or heritage. They are those things that are important for the well-being of every human being. A right is not something that someone gives you; it is something that nobody can take away. They are God given.
The Four Broad Categories of Children’s Rights
The UNCRC created the concept of children’s rights in 1989 as an international standard for children’s wellbeing. Children’s rights are provided in 54 articles of the convention, and they are broadly categorized into four.
- Right to Life and Survival
Children have a right to life. The key right to life and survival are further grouped into several categories. Each of this categories includes certain needs that children must be accorded in order to live and survive.
Right to Medical Care
The right to medical care requires children to have access to treatment when they fall sick. Under this category, children are also provided the right to immunization and vaccination against diseases such as Tuberculosis (TB), measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and polio.
Right to Nutrition
For children to grow healthy, they have the right to access a balanced diet, including the following food categories: carbohydrates, vitamins, fats and oil, and proteins.
Right to Shelter
Under the UNCRC, children should have access to well-ventilated houses. The house also needs to be spacious, and the family should feel secure in the house.
Right to Clothing
Clothing is a basic need that all children should be provided with. The clothes need to be warm, decent and not too tight.
- The Right to Development
Children also have the right to develop mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. For children to develop normally, they should have access to the following rights under the category of development:
- Right to Education: education gives children the knowledge, skills, experience, and readiness to work and interact effectively with others.
- Right to play and leisure: play and leisure are important elements of development for children. They should get the chance to play and have fun to enhance good physical and mental development.
- Right to Parental Care: Parents should take care of their children because children require parental presence for support, learning and development.
- Right to access to information
- Right to social security: health insurance, cash disbursements, poverty eradication, and safety.
- The Right to Protection
Children have the right to be protected against:
- Sexual harassment
- Drug abuse
- Parental neglect and physical abuse
- Refugee situation
- The Right to Participation
The children’s rights to participation include:
- Free association
- Right to thought and opinion
- Right to contribution – through poems, school functions, songs, community activities, etc.
The Underlying Principles for the Rights and Welfare of Children
What is the rationale for the protection of children’s rights? Why should we care about children’s rights? The United Nations came up with the concept of the rights of the child due to various reasons. Here is a list of guiding principles for the protection of the child’s rights:
- Serving the best interest of the child
- Raising children in an environment free of discrimination
- Participation, leisure and recreation of the child
- Survival and development
- Respect for the views of children
Duties and Responsibilities of the Child
Every child has certain rights and responsibilities towards the family and the society. Responsibilities refer to tasks that must be performed such as doing homework, washing clothes, etc.
- Work towards family unity
- Respect parents and other elders
- Be responsible citizens
- Preserve and strengthen cultural values
Rights versus Responsibilities
Rights must be accompanied by responsibilities. If the child is given a right, he or she has to perform certain duties for complete exercise of their rights. The relationship between rights and responsibilities are shown in the table below.
|Right||Examples of Responsibilities|
|Right to Nutrition||To eat a balanced diet, preserve food, help in preparing the food, and wash utensils.|
|Right to Shelter||Clean the house, open the windows for good ventilation, arrange the house, decorate the house, & repair broken items in the house.|
|The Right to Medical Care||Take medicine only as prescribed by the doctor; and visit the doctor on appointment|
|The Right to Clothing||Children should take care of their clothing; repair torn clothes; wash their clothes; and keep them safe.|
|The Right to Education||Obey the teachers; keep time; work hard in school; not missing classes; completing assignments on time.|
|The Right to Parental Care||Loving and respecting parents; loving siblings; being disciplined|
|Right to Participation||Respect the thoughts and opinions of others
Use appropriate language with contributing ideas
Do not use abusive words
Give others a chance to express themselves
Life Skills Associated with Child Right
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Effective communication
Values Associated with Child Right
Topic 21: Relationships
Types of Relationships
You are always related to the person you interact with in one way or another. The people you interact with at work are your colleagues. Those you spend time together and eat together at home are siblings and parents. Essentially, there are several kinds of relationships.
- Peer/peer relationships: relationship between friends of the same age groups e.g. school boys.
- Boy/girl relationship: girls and boys may be related intimately to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend
- Husband/wife – man and woman who come together for companionship and procreation
- Siblings relationships – how siblings relate with each other.
- Parent child – a parent and child have a relationship of care, respect, obedience, and support.
- Teacher/pupil relationship: this is a professional and learning relationship where teachers pass knowledge while pupils listen and respect teachers.
- Employer/employee relationship – professional relationship with mutual benefit, which is usually economic or financial in nature.
- Client/service provider
Developing Healthy Relationships
In order to live in a harmonious and safe society, people should learn to relate well and positively with each other. Here are some ways of developing healthy relationships in the society:
- Communicating effectively so that people can understand one another
- Negotiating effectively to reach at mutual agreements
- Making appropriate decisions
- Resolving conflicts as they arise
- Upholding each other with high esteem and respect
- Being assertive in our social relations and interactions
Maintaining Healthy Relationships
After developing a healthy relationship, it is crucial to keep it strong. The following strategies should be used to maintain healthy relationships:
- Upholding associated values and life skills
- Having a sense of self-sacrifice
- Waiting until marriage to engage in sexual intercourse
- Maintaining professional and personal boundaries
Factors that Influence Healthy Relationships
- Generational gap
- Life experiences
- Personality issues
Influence of Relationship on Behavior & Wellbeing
Relationships have both negative and positive influences on behavior.
- Peer/peer relationships can have negative influence such as drug and alcohol abuse, sexual misbehaviors, and involvement in crime due to peer pressure.
- Boy/girl relationships may lead to early pregnancies and diseases such as HIV & AIDs.
- Some relationships such as intimate relationships can be toxic and can involve physical and emotional abuse.
- Other relationships also lead to domestic violence, especially when one or more members of the family is abusing drugs or alcohol.
- Bad relationships can also affect a person’s personality negatively as it could lead to loss of self-esteem, e.g. in situations of abusive relationships.
- Parent/child relationships lead to child development physically and psychologically
- Teacher/pupil relationships promote cognitive development or learning and acquisition of skills.
- Intimate relationships can also have a positive impact on emotional wellbeing of individuals.
- Some relationships promote religious and moral values as people share information e.g. in religious organizations
- Good relationships lead to emotional stability.
Values Associated with Relationships
Skills Associated with Relationships
- Creative thinking
- Critical thinking
- Coping with stress
- Coping with emotions
- Decision making