Ask For Help
This school year, you want your kids to ask for help when they need it, right? Of course you do. You don’t want them to just give up. You also want them to do what they can do on their own.
As I write about in Screens and Teens, helplessness can be an effect of digital devices. Kids of all ages believe things should be easy, learning shouldn’t take any effort, and winning should be guaranteed. Of course, none of this is true!
We don’t want children to hurry through their work, not concerned with excellence. We don’t want them to skip problems they can’t easily do on their own. We want them to ask for help when they need to and figure out what to do on their own when they can. This is true of academic pursuits, musical practices, athletics, and handling chores around the house.
When children aren’t sure what to do, many aren’t asking for help. Perhaps they can’t admit they need it because “everything should be easy.” They might not even know what kind of help they need. When that’s the case, asking for help is nearly impossible.
Some children get easily scared of something that looks new and hard and ask for help before making honest attempts on their own. This isn’t right either.
I feel for these children and for you because this isn’t healthy, but it is stressful. The next time you see kids behaving in one of these ways, maybe you can use the example of an escalator to open up communication.
Remind your kids of escalators they’ve seen in movie theaters, shopping malls, and museums. Ask them to picture two people on an escalator when it unexpectantly stops. They realize it’s broken and they feel stuck. They wait quite a while, just looking around. Then they begin to shout,
“Somebody help us!!”
“Help us! The escalator isn’t moving!”
“We’re not moving! Somebody get help!”
Hopefully your kids will see how silly that is. Perhaps you’ll all have a good laugh. Then talk about what these people could they have done instead. “Walk up or down the stairs created by the escalator, of course.”
Exactly. Take a step. Get moving. Do for yourself what you can do.