Life Skills Education for Children and Adolescents (Life Skills Training) Part 1

Life Skills Education for Children and Adolescents (Life Skills Training)

Life skills can be defined as abilities that enable humans to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life. They may also be called psychosocial skills, as they are psychological in nature and include thinking and behavioral processes. Others define life skills as behavioral, cognitive, or interpersonal skills that enable individuals to succeed in various areas of life

Research suggests that developing life skills may help reduce drug, alcohol, and tobacco use. It may also reduce aggression and violence. In addition to these bigger outcomes, life skills can just make life a bit easier. When we can regulate our emotions effectively and develop enduring, supportive relationships, we’re happier and healthier. This is why developing life skills is key not only to being successful in life, it’s key for our health and well-being.

According to several key organizations including UNICEF, UNESCO, and WHO, the following are the basic life skills (​​Prajapati, Sharma, & Sharma, 2017):

Critical thinking
Creative thinking
Decision making
Problem Solving
Effective communication
Interpersonal relationships
Coping with stress
Coping with emotion

Of course, these skills overlap, with each of them aiding and supporting the others. There may also be other life skills and there may be subcategories of life skills within each of these basic life skill types.

(WHO) defines Life skills as the abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.

Life skill has been classified into three broad categories:

• Thinking skills: Thinking skills are the skill that enhances the logical faculty of the brain using an analytical ability, thinking creatively and critically, and developing problem-solving skills and improving decision-making abilities.

• Social skills: Social skills include interpersonal skills, communication skills, leadership skills, management skills, advocacy skills, co-operation and team building skills, etc.

• Emotional skills: Emotional skills, involves, knowing and being comfortable with oneself. Thus, self–management, including managing/coping with feelings, emotions, stress and resisting peer and family pressure

A relevant and proper implementation of life skill education is a need of an hour, for today’s society. Imparting life skills education to the students, can be helpful as it specifically addresses the needs of children, helps in motivating, providing practical, cognitive, emotional, social and self-management skills for life adjustments. On the whole, life skills education, have found to be an effective psychosocial intervention strategy for promoting positive social, and mental health of adolescents which plays an important role in all aspects such as strengthening coping strategies and developing self-confidence and emotional intelligence, as well as enhancing critical thinking, problem solving and decision making skills as has been well documented in the aforementioned studies. Thus, there
is, significance and importance of life skills education to be integrated into the regular school curriculum and given on a daily basis by a life skills trainer/ teacher/counsellor to enhance the mental health of students, equip them with better adapted skills to face the challenges of changing life situations and empower them to become fully functioning contributors to the host society in particular and the world in general.
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