Addiction to drugs, alcohol, smoking, vaping or juuling negatively influences the life of the addict and their family. Getting addicted at a young age in school can completely destroy the life of a child. It leads to stunted emotional and social growth because whenever they face a challenge. Their addiction becomes their refuge. So, they never develop the skills to process their emotions in a healthy manner. That just takes them further down the rabbit hole. One of the most critical skills to break the cycle of addiction is empathy.
Addicts & Empathy
Addiction can completely change an individual. Addicts may
resort to stealing or lying to get what they want. This dishonesty ruins
relationships because of the loss of trust. Kids addicted to a substance will
find it difficult to look farther than their need to get high. Drugs, alcohol,
smoking and vaping take control of the life of the child, and they do not show
any kind of empathy towards how people around them are feeling or what they are
It may be their need to fit into a peer group, deal with a
problem, or loss of control, addiction compromises their decision-making
skills. One poor decision after another is what makes the situation worse.
Building empathy in such a child can help them see a little better and
re-instill the power to make good decisions. This can be for the sake of their
own future or for the sake of those they love.
Nipping in the Bud
Parents and teachers have to help their students learn this skill. Developing empathy early on helps students stay away from self-destructive behavior. A habit like vaping or juuling that is trendy may not appear harmless at first. But, a Juul cartridge comes with around 200 puffs, which is equivalent to the nicotine found in an entire pack of cigarettes. With this skill, they will learn to love themselves and work towards a future rather than falling into the trap of trends.
Empathy helps them to understand how substance abuse will
affect their life and the life of others around them. Whether they come across
pressure or stressful situations in their lifetime, empathy will help them see
the bigger picture and make better decisions.
Developing this skill will help them from falling into a cycle of addiction in the first place.
Research Supports the Claim
American Journal of Addictions published a study in 2009
that empathy-quotient was higher in members of the control group who were not
dependent on alcohol. However, the empathy-quotient went down for participants
who were dependent on alcohol. Empathy for self and others is a contributing
factor to addiction. There is plenty of more research that draws correlations
between empathy and healthy child development.
Parents and teachers have to proactively work to develop empathy in kids from a young age. Parents can do it by practicing themselves. Kids will learn this skill by watching them. Schools and teachers can help their students learn empathy through targeted programs like SEL Adventures.
The Addiction Prevention Program from SEL Adventures understands the importance of teaching empathy to young students. It teaches them about the concept of empathy, how they can apply it in their life, and the importance of assertive communication. Apart from this, there are many other lessons in the program, including self-awareness, resistance to peer pressure, future planning, responsible decision making, and learning emotion display.
Jennifer Smith Miller has been tirelessly working in the
field of social-emotional learning (SEL), and her method is simple – keep an
ear to the ground. She believes that parents and teachers, who are one of the primary
influencers in a child’s life, have a responsibility to help our children
develop the crucial social and emotional skills. She focusses on the
collaboration between the educators and the parents to create a thriving
environment for kids to hone these skills to be successful in the future.
Why is SEL Important to Her?
Jennifer Smith is a firm believer in the fact that for
children to succeed in life, they need to be emotionally well. In fact, in the
numerous conversations she has had with parents and interactions with schools
have only strengthened her beliefs. The parents are most concerned about the
emotional well-being of their children. Factors like academic achievement,
popularity at school, and familiarity with technology all come later. Schools
also understand that students who are emotionally intelligent are more
successful in tapping their potential.
She is now working towards leveraging this understanding and
working with parents and schools to turn it into a bigger movement. Scaling the
SEL efforts will only help more students to become what they want to.
Jennifer Smith’s work revolves around educating parents and
teachers to become more emotionally intelligent so that they can guide their
kids better. She has recently published a book titled – “Confident Parents,
Confident Kids: Raising Emotional Intelligence In Ourselves and Our Kids — From
Toddlers to Teenagers.” Her writing comes from her extensive parent surveys,
where parents were eagerly looking for a resource that addressed “big
feelings”. But, it is an equally powerful resource for educators to understand
SEL and develop their own skills.
The book recognizes the fact that the child and the adult
are not static entities; they are continually changing. It offers guidance for
adults to deal with emotional well-being at different stages of child
development and dealing with their own emotions of anxiety, upset, anger, hurt,
The comprehensive take of Jennifer Smith’s book is what has
made her an authority in the field who understands the nuances of social and
She Continues to Strive
After providing a short guide on helping adults to improve the emotional well-being of their children, Jennifer Smith continues to hold workshops and sessions to help teachers and parents collaborate. Parents and teachers do not necessarily consider each other part of the same sphere. But, a focus on SEL may be able to change that. Through her workshops and other efforts, she wants to provide parents and educators with all the tools they need to become more emotionally intelligent and forge stronger relationships with kids to help them become more emotionally intelligent.
Jennifer Smith is working on a long-term plan that will produce powerful results in the future. She is providing parents and educators the space to learn, fall, get back, reflect, and try again. This process builds confidence, which in turn helps raise children who have a sound foundation to become more emotionally intelligent and have a better shot at success in life.
article talks about the role of teachers in teaching middle-schoolers become more
self-aware to create a thriving and positive school environment
Self-awareness is a complex subject. Even
adults have a tough time grappling with it. However, the good news is that self-awareness, like any science, can be
taught. With the right tools, pedagogy, and intent, schools can teach kids to
hone their self-awareness skills. With the proper
knowledge, young students can go on to
become productive members of their communities. Here are the top 5 ways in
which teachers nurture self-aware middle-schoolers.
Encourage Kids to Journal
Keeping a journal is an excellent way for students to connect with
themselves. A simple act of putting their thoughts and their daily activities
in writing brings new perspectives into their thinking. Students will reminisce
what they did and how it affected them and others around them. A journal helps
them relive the day and identify the moments they missed or overlooked. Such a
daily activity builds patience and helps them get better every day.
Identifying Strengths & Weaknesses
Every child is different. They come from
unique backgrounds, live vibrant and diverse
lives, and have access to distinct sets of resources. Teachers should
appreciate the diversity and help students appreciate
them too. When they understand their strengths and find a safe space to talk
about their weaknesses, they are more likely to work on them. Discussing
weaknesses should not be taboo, and
teachers should make an effort to make a classroom environment that allows just
Make Academics Relatable
When a subject is taught in class, teachers should try to connect it to the
experiences and personal memories of students. For instance, if the class is about the French Revolution, teachers
should ask questions like – “When was the last time you felt you needed to
raise your voice against something?” This
helps students reminisce, search through their memory bank and find relevant
memories. Discussing these in the class will help them understand the subject
and themselves better. It will also give them perspective. When multiple students
share their experiences, they will realize
that they are not going through certain emotions alone, and such an experience can be extraordinarily
Focus on Self-Awareness
Apart from teaching self-awareness as a
side subject, teachers can also encourage schools to add self-awareness to
their formal curriculum. With structured programs like SEL Adventures around,
teachers can easily find all the classroom instructions, subject content, and
activity suggestions in one place. It makes it easy for students to grasp the
significance of self-awareness, learn quickly, and apply that knowledge via
expertly designed activities.
Teaching Self-Awareness Made Easy
Self-awareness plays a crucial role in the development of a child and has a critical bearing on their future. Teaching self-awareness to students from a young age also improves the school climate and results in a highly productive learning environment. Schools have a huge incentive to provide their teachers with the right tools to teach their students to be self-aware.
The article impresses upon the importance of good decisions and why students
need to learn how to make them.
Decision-making is a skill. Life is
a series of decisions, their consequences, and more decisions in response to
those consequences. So, when life presents an opportunity to make a decision,
an individual should have the skill to make good decisions and make them
quickly. This skill must be acquired from a young age, and social-emotional
learning programs like SEL Adventures help students to do just that. The
importance of making good decisions in life cannot be stressed enough. Let’s
break it down to understand it better.
Every decision you make has a
bearing on your future. It may take only a few seconds for a student to make a
decision, but its impact may last a lifetime. One of the signs of a good
decision is that it is taken after due deliberation. So, students should be
taught the importance of taking their time to analyze a situation first and
then make an informed decision. After all, one good decision can help students
to push forward in life and become the individuals they want to. It also helps
them avoid regrets and live a life they had always dreamed of.
Leaders have the aptitude for
decision-making. They make good decisions, and for this reason, people trust
them to lead. It falls upon the schools and parents of today to create the
leaders of tomorrow. So, they must teach their kids to make good decisions.
Leaders do not take decisions only when a problem presents itself to them. They
make decisions when they want to change the status quo.
It’s a Life Skill
Good decisions create a better
tomorrow. With problems like substance abuse, high dropout rates, and shocking suicide
rates, there is a dire need for good decision-making skills among students.
They should be able to understand others’ intentions, weigh in the
consequences, and then make good decisions. This will allow them to have a fulfilling
childhood and a successful future.
Making a Difference
Although we have full control
over the decisions we make, we do not always have control over the impact of those
decisions on other people. Good decisions help people to have a positive effect
on the lives of others too. An elder sibling can guide the younger one in
making good decisions. Those decisions can include pursuing higher studies,
following a passion, investing time in self-improvement, or something else.
Good decisions snowball and help improve lives.
Good decision-making is an integral
part of everyday life. Students need role models to understand, appreciate, and
learn good decision-making. Schools can also adopt programs like SEL Adventures
that teach students the makings of a good decision and provide teachers with a
structured curriculum to teach in classrooms.