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Not everyone is comfortable seeking assistance

By Mark Haskell

Some people are afraid to ask for help as they may feel incompetent. Are you one of those persons?

What is there to fear when asking for help?

The reason people may fear asking for help is because it is a moment to be vulnerable, and it is a part of the human experience that people may not like.

There is nothing wrong with being vulnerable. Vulnerability should be valued because someone – you may or may not know – is opening up about themselves.

Adults, like myself, choose not to ask for help because they fear what social repercussions will follow.

When I was younger, I did not know how to ask for help because I always worried about how people perceived me. However, as time went on, asking for help felt natural to me and I did not care what people thought.

Kayla Good and Alex Shaw, authors of the Scientific American article, “Why kids are afraid to ask for help,” wrote that, “New research suggests young children don’t seek help in school, even when they need it.”

Good and Shaw said psychologists assumed, until recently, that children do not care about how their peers perceive them until age 9.

“But a wave of findings in the past few years has pushed back against that assumption,” they wrote.

Good and Shaw said research has revealed 5-year-old children actually care deeply about the ways others think about them. “In fact, kids sometimes go so far as to cheat at simple games in order to look smart.”

More importantly, the research suggests 7-year-olds act incompitent in front of others to gain attention

when they need help.

“Their concern about reputation may have significant consequences, particularly when it comes to education,” they wrote.

Good and Shaw said every child struggles in the classroom at some point. “If they are afraid to ask for help because their classmates are watching, learning will suffer.”

They suggested teachers and caregivers think about methods to make children more comfortable with seeking aid.

Asking for help can be seen as socially desirable and it does assist the seeker. It also helps the other persons who are looking for answers and assistance.

Adults encourage and praise students for seeking assistance. This response signals they value a willingness to ask for help, which is not a fruitless effort.

What children struggle with the most is figuring out whether asking for help is beneficial or detrimental to their learning.

Over time, educational researchers and licensed professionals should consider evaluating

recommendations and developing new strategies that give children of all ages the drive to push past their fears about peer perceptions.

Professionals, as well as primary and secondary caregivers and teachers need to keep one thing in mind – children think and care so much about their reputations. They manage them more than some people might think.

Whether you are a student or just experiencing what life has to offer, there should not be any

discomfort in asking for help.

Regrettably, society has decreed that reputation matters wherever you go, which makes asking for help more difficult for those who truly need it.

For those who wonder whether reputation is beneficial or detrimental, it is and it is not, but it does not mean you cannot still live your best lives.

Do not let your reputation stop you from being you.


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