Poor Socialisation Influences Substance Abuse In Schoolchildren, Expert Warn

An addiction counselor, David Folaranmi, has warned parents and teachers to improve children’s socialisation and decision-making skills in the fight against substance abuse.

The expert made this statement while speaking at a seminar hosted by Fundawazi Foundation for teachers, in commemoration of the World Teacher’s Day on Wednesday, at the Fountain of Life Church in Oshodi, Lagos state.

According to the foundation’s team lead, Abisola Soneye, the seminar, tagged ‘Project I-Care’, was to guide, educate and share ideas on how to properly train children against abuse and substance use.

“The Fundawazi Foundation provides relevant tools and resources to help children resist abuse and other social vices, and we’ve had a series of talks in the last five years,” she added.

Speaking during the event, Folaranmi said educators had roles to play in supporting preteens and teens through a challenging life, noting substance use was a major area they should be concerned about.

“A survey carried out early this year in Africa showed that Nigerian teens ages 13 to 19 came up in the most numbers of marijuana users in Africa,” he added.

Folaranmi said educators should understand behavioral changes in students who are engaged in substance abuse in order to respond to the abuse quickly.

He said, “When an educator doesn’t know what to do against substance abuse in children, it’ll cause a lot of things like unwanted pregnancy and it’ll destroy lives.

“The primary objective is to help those entrusted in their care to avoid initiation into the use of psychoactive substances. As educators, they must understand the sociology of negative behaviors like poor socialisation and poor decision-making skills.”

A child health expert, Dr. Oluyemisi Akindolie, encouraged teachers to be resilient when dealing with tough children, noting that children were meant to be understood.

She said, “A naughty child is not the enemy. The real enemy is the enemy of that child’s destiny. Teachers need to be passionate, intentional, and strategic to match a child’s wisdom with superior wisdom and kindness.”

Another facilitator, Gbemisola Agbato, said teachers must build a relationship of commitment and trust with children before children can open up to them.

“Teachers must learn to smile and forget it’s about them when building relationships. They must show acceptance and empathise,” she added.

A clinical psychologist, Olumide Okeowo, said educators must help children to discover themselves.

A teacher, identified only as Paul, said, “Teaching is not only within the four walls of the classroom. The purpose is to impact lives. The success of a student is the success of the teacher.”

Soneye encouraged participants to leverage what they had learnt to improve the lives of their students.

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