Today’s times are so different from the time I was a child. Back then, we had no choices like today. Life was simpler. If your mom says you had to go to school, you just had to. Being bought up like that, I could not understand or accept it when my son Adi had school refusal. It was so strange and difficult. Everyday there was some new excuse, but somehow we coaxed him. He cried and thrashed around but we made him go. One day, he just refused to go, no matter how much coaxing or threatening.
I was getting late for office and so was his dad, but when we saw him like that, we got really scared. We took him to a doctor for check-up. The doctor said Adi is physically fine. But something is troubling him, he said. Something about the school must be troubling him. He sent us to a child psychologist.
She spoke to us at first, then spent an hour alone with him, and called us back in again. Adi looked much more relaxed. She asked him to wait outside. She told us that his best friend had died, did we know? We were shocked. He never mentioned it to us. Adi’s best friend Rahul had a troubled home and was thrashed a lot by his father. Reportedly, he had sought help from the teachers at school but no one did anything. Ever since the news came to Adi that one of the beatings had been fatal and Raul had passed away, Adi had quite obviously hated his school.
We were so busy, we did not notice that he had stopped mentioning Rahul, and neither did we see his mood changing. We felt really ashamed. Earning money was important but not so important that we don’t give a good life to the one we are earning it for. We resolved to be better parents and entered therapy ourselves and got better with our communication and parenting skills. After counseling, when Adi was better, we also changed his school. We are a much happier family now.