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1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331

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How to Ask for Help When It’s the Last Thing You Want to Do

By: Carli Mosby- Smith

Child maltreatment is a complex issue that includes a combination of individual, familial, and societal causes that can be difficult to pinpoint.  However, risk factors that are all too common for many parents are high levels of parenting stress and an increased sense of isolation.  For many parents, a global pandemic has only exacerbated such concerns. 

The great news is that parents don’t have to do it alone.  When we help our fellow parents out by picking up dinner for their family, entertaining the kiddos via video chat, or simply lending an understanding ear, we are not only reducing their stress levels by taking something off their plate, we are showing them that they have support.  

As the parent of a nine-month-old who recently discovered her distaste for sleeping, I know how important it is to get help from “my village.” I am fortunate enough to live close to family and friends that are always ready and willing to lend a hand when I ask… the problem for me is in the asking.  Although I’ve always seen myself as relatively independent in many ways, I’ve discovered over the past nine months that my village can’t toss out a life raft unless I let them know how much I am truly drowning. 

If you, like me, struggle to ask for help when you need it, check out these tips for reaching out to your village: 

  1. Accept that you cannot do it all yourself. The first step in asking for and receiving help is to let go of the notion that you should be able to do it all yourself. We live in a society that values independence, so it can be difficult to show such vulnerability. However, it’s important to understand that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it shows that you are wise enough to recognize when you need a little extra support.   
  2. Be specific. When it comes to asking for help, sometimes we are so flustered that we aren’t even sure what we are asking for.  Before you reach out, clarify areas in which the people in your life can best be of help.  Maybe that looks like folding a load of laundry for you or making dinner for your family. It could even help to make a long-term to-do list that others can help you with on occasion, such as pulling weeds in your flower bed or fixing the broken kitchen shelf. 
  3.  Have meaningful conversations with the supportive people in your life. For many helpful individuals in our lives, they can often pick up on our need for support through conversation. Meaningful conversations with your “village” about the difficulties of parenthood can be stress relieving itself and can also clue them in on your needs.  
  4. Join a support group. Sometimes asking for support from those within our inner circle is especially difficult. Support groups are a great way to build connections with others who are in a similar boat as you.  People who truly understand your current struggles are likely to jump into action to be supportive. 
  5. Seek professional help. Sometimes the most important help we need can come from a professional. Stress related to parenting and other obligations in our lives can result in very real and very serious mental and emotional distress. If your feelings seem overwhelming, reach out to a professional for extra support. 

View recordings of Face It’s virtual events that took place during Child Abuse Prevention Month on our YouTube!


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