I let my kid fail, to not fail him as a parent
The New Normal 2.0
“There is nothing wrong with him.”
She is in her early 40’s perhaps, articulate like her work needs her to be and the hangings around her office assures you that she was certified in the US-of-A.
It was his fourth session and the medication was making him slow and sleepy. You thank the doc, in retrospect, that she stuck to her ‘very mild’ routine and the ‘strictly four week’ schedule.
One yellow tab, to be ‘administered in emergency’ has already been used once. As a parent if you panick, well, you learn fast not to let it show when he is around.
“Your son, has strong leadership traits. He will not listen to anyone and may become violent if prodded” she said.
Rolling a ballpoint pen between her fingers probably because it makes one look more serious than they are. Seeing your face transcend from hopeful to droopy she consoles,
“He will learn the hard way. You have to let him fail.”
Being Indian, academy-centric, middle income parents you are not sure how seriously can you take such council.
I mean, letting your son fail? What are we? Some maverick hippies?
The psychiatrist you find from the Google results is apparently childless and an American citizen. She is on a break from her assignments there and practising here for some quick major bucks, you assume.
You were referred to her by a friend’s friend and as you wanted this ordeal to be confidential, you didn’t bother to check whether she was even registered to prescribe medicines in India. She had a letter-head, full of glorifying alphabets and a medical shop at a locality you never visit socially or professionally, was kind to overlook her registration details.
The therapist, she doesn’t understand that here in India we do not get the concept of ‘let him be’. The phrase itself is so American.
He is diagnosed with anxiety disorder, ‘let him be’?
He is behaving in a gender fluid manner, ‘let him be’?
He thinks it’s necessary for him to drop that essential final year of high school to explore his true self for the future, ‘let him be’?
You begin to think that this din of ‘let him be’ is an escape mechanism for the Americans who can’t manage their children.
You are convinced, they are different. They live their lives very independently. They divorce, remarry, have plentiful of affairs and the kids have to always double guess which parent are they going to live with.
You are not like them! You are committed and you are concerned. You look after your child, even when he doesn’t need you to look after him. How can you ‘let him be’?
But you have spent a handsome amount to seek professional advice and you intend to make the expense accountable and yourself contemporary. So, you ignore if your child locks the door up at 11 am and opens it after 2:30 pm and wait for him at the lunch table, patiently.
Of course, while he is still locked in you blame your spouse for the lack of attention to pick up on the early symptoms of such disorder. She blames you with twice your fierceness and lashes out about the time you spent with a couple of female colleagues, well about a decade back. You fight like felines but in hushed voices. Maybe the kid can still hear you, or he senses that all is not well and stays put in his closed door sanctuary. You learn to ignore that as well.
The first morning you discover that he was up all night, binge-watching all the episodes of ‘He-man and the Masters of the Universe’, you freak out.
You can’t help expressing the concern for his engineering entrance test, one of a dozen of those are scheduled in less than a week.
You forget the counsellor’s advice,
“Whatever happens, whatever, never raise your voice. Never make him feel challenged.”
You realise that reeling under the knocks that rain on you. He has strength. He has been ripped out of conscience by the devils in his mind, and he doesn’t think you need to be alive for any greater good to this world.
You scream when your spectacles are bent 180 degrees and lenses thrown away.
He says, “I cannot die twice” and throws you to the ground.
His survival needs you.
The sun, on a day named after it rises above the coconut tree near your window and shines brightly on you.
You learn over the time, to take its heat.