Sometimes, we all need a reminder that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Being able to ask for help is an essential skill that every child and young person should learn at an early age.
As a parent or carer, it’s important that your child sees you asking for help when you need it and not suffering unnecessarily.
However, as adults, we’re taught to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. There is an unspoken narrative that if you reach out to someone for help – be it financial, physical or emotional – you may be perceived as a burden.
This is not the case.
Why do we not like asking for help?
There are many reasons why someone may not want to ask for help. Some key ones are:
- They don’t like to admit that they’re struggling
- They don’t want the person they’re asking for help to look at them differently
- They don’t want to feel like they ‘owe’ anybody
- They don’t want other people knowing their private business
Sometimes, someone may actually want to ask for help but feel like they can’t. Those reasons might include:
- They’re not sure who they can trust to keep it confidential
- They don’t think telling somebody will help matters
- They’re ashamed or embarrassed
- They secretly hope that it will resolve itself without needing outside involvement
How you can normalise asking for help
- Teach them that everyone needs help sometimes, including you! Show them how good it feels when you get the help you need.
- Reframe the narrative of asking for help as a sign of strength and self-care rather than weakness.
- Don’t dismiss any concerns or worries they have about reaching out. Listen and empathise with their situation.
- Share a story from a time in your own life when you needed help – even better if it’s when you were around the age your child is now.
- Explain the work that mental health professionals do and how they can be of benefit to anyone who is struggling in any stage of life.
Benefits to asking for help
- You will immediately feel better for having shared your worry. “A problem shared is a problem halved”.
- Knowing that someone else is helping you will improve your sleep and overall sense of wellbeing, making you better able to cope with the problem.
- Once you ask for help, there is a much greater chance of the problem being resolved and disappearing from your life.
- It will strengthen the bond between you and the person you have confided in.
- It increases your productivity – when you share the workload, you get twice as much done which frees you up to do more!
- It will make you more relaxed and trusting when it comes to asking for help in the future.