Asking For Help
To learn that all people have problems, and that it is appropriate to ask for help with problems
Children in grades K-3 generally cannot separate fantasy from reality. Many books, television shows, and movies to which they are exposed suggest that people do not have problems or that problems are solved quickly and easily, even magically. As a result, children may believe they alone have problems or that the normal concerns encountered in growing up are abnormal. Children also may have the impression that all problems can be solved by quick fixes or magical solutions. At this age, it is important for children to know that it is appropriate for them to seek help from others, and that asking for help can be a sign of maturity and strength.
Ask students to suggest some problems people face in life, such as getting along with friends, handling illness, and having difficulty with schoolwork. Discuss how a person with these problems would ask for help and who might be appropriate persons to ask for help. Invite students to explain how they feel when they ask for help and get it. Read the story The Shrinking of Tree horn by Florence P. Heide or another appropriate story. Contact your local library to review the children's reference guide to literature. The librarian can assist you in finding a book for children about asking for help. Have students identify the main character's problems, how he or she tried to get help, and what happened when he or she got help. Explain how asking for help can be a sign of strength. Discuss appropriate people from whom students might seek help (examples: parents, older siblings, teachers, principals, guidance counselors,clergy, youth leaders).
The Shrinking of Treehorn, by Florence P. Heide.
• Steer students away from talking about problems that might embarrass them or their families.
• Make sure students do not fabricate or embellish problems to get reactions from their classmates.
• You might wish to suggest some common problems that are part of growing up, so that all students can identify with the need to seek help wrth such problems.
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program