Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Whenever I’m asked to provide the single best piece of parenting advice I can, without pause I reply with, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Let’s face it. Raising kids is not easy. Unfortunately, many mothers and fathers feel that they should be able to deal with it all by themselves and that requesting assistance is a sign of weakness. And that unhealthy attitude is based on two fundamental myths – parental instinct and rugged individualism. The assumption is that for thousands of years, mothers and fathers just knew what to do and had no problem flying solo.
Well, the truth is that for thousands of years, people generally were born, grew up, and died all within a two-mile radius. Consequently, when they became parents, they were surrounded by extended family and lived in close-knit neighborhoods. As a result, help was plentiful and easily obtained through extremely casual, informal, and almost unconscious processes.
In our modern world, many mothers and fathers have to deal with the daunting demands of childrearing in relative isolation. But that doesn’t mean they actually have to go it alone. Instead of putting an inordinate amount of effort into an extremely stressful and ultimately futile attempt to do it all by themselves, they would be well-advised to use some of that energy to build a surrogate extended family and substitute close-knit neighborhood with same-situated mothers and fathers at Romp n’ Roll and elsewhere. And then they should all feel free to give and take a hand or two at any time as the psychological and practical benefits will be enormous for everyone.
Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. (a.k.a. “Dr. Mike”) is a member of the management team at Romp n’ Roll. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also held a position as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project. He may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.