She said that the need of the counselors are far reaching in building great youths through formation of committees to handle identified anti-social vices and advise the youth against involvement in anti-social conducts in schools, especially co-habitation.
Okonkwo, who is a University Guidance Counselor at the Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Monday, that anti–social conducts among students are numerous with their attendant challenges.
She said, however, that guidance counselors should apply expert ideology to achieve reformation needed amongst the students.
Okonkwo said “we should create an enabling environment for the guidance counselor and students which will expose students to the dangers of the anti-social conduct they unknowingly engage in.
She said that the most practiced anti-social conducts amongst students is co-habitation.
Naturally male and female students see themselves as friends and think that this alone qualifies them to co-habit.
“They consider their action of intimacy as friends and fail to see the negative implication of such relationship and possible negative outcome that may lead to stoppage of their academic pursuit.
“This is where the cardinal job of a guidance counselor plays its role because such students would be talked to in a manner that his or her self esteem is not damaged and quality admonition achieved,” she said.
Okonkwo listed other anti-social conducts amongst students to include drug abuse, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, rape, prostitution, addictive disorders, feeling sad or down and depression,
Also, she said, this behaviour reduces ability to concentrate, restlessness, extreme feelings of guilt, extreme mood changes, withdrawal from friends and activities amongst others.
She said that the guidance counselors should step in immediately the students exhibit these signs while in school.
Okonkwo said that the students rarely visit the guidance counselors’ office, therefore to handle the challenge the counselor should identify these students who are young adults and are confused in who to speak to.
She said that most of these negative conducts of the students go unnoticed by their parents and these young people carry on wrongly without being aware of the negative effect of their actions.
Okonkwo said that these anti-social conducts could be reduced if parents pay greater attentions to the feelings and actions of their children and holds regular heart-to-heart talks and discussion with them.
She said that parents should always speak nicely to their children and allow them to show who they have become after peer group interactions, adding that parents should make noticeable corrections and watch them grow.
“Shouting, comparison, nagging, will scare the young adults away from parents and guardians but warm words make the child to be open minded which gives room for correction and confidence building,” she said.
NAN reports that Okonkwo is in charge of counseling and human development centres of the university campuses at Igbariam, Uli and Awka.
She is also the immediate past Vice president of the Counselling Association of Nigeria (ANACASSON), Anambra chapter.