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"Your son has problems with concentration. I think he has ADHD. Kindly take him to a doctor. Your daughter is very sensitive to touch and loud sounds. We don't think she is capable of mingling with the other kids in school. Check out if she is autistic. Your daughter doesn't come out even for family parties? Is she depressed?" Your son refuses to marry even at 35. Is he gay?" Don't we hear these comments from the so-called quasi doctors around us who are in-fact our relatives, friends, acquaintances and even teachers with little or no experience in these issues but with google or hear-say as their Wikipedia? Under the pretext of being cautious, we just start seeing these things in a microscope which we wouldn't usually bother in an otherwise normal kid.
Unfortunately shy-autism, aggression- antisocial, impulsive- borderline, enthusiastic-ADHD, refusing to marry-homosexual, being secretive-addicted to drugs and many more like these are being used as synonyms more often than you can imagine which ultimately end up in labelling our kids and scaring them for a lifetime. But remember, labels are for jars, not for our kids. A child is more than just a diagnosis. We need to understand that the things which we talk here might be one of the possibilities but most of the times not a surety. Overtime kids also tend to acknowledge what we feel about them and some use it to their advantage to escape from their responsibilities, and some convince themselves that they might actually have a problem making them apprehensive, depressed and less confident.
Desperate and anxious, we end up taking our kids to psychiatrists, psychologists or some unconventional therapists who don't even have a valid degree but claiming themselves to be unique, shelling out some pretty big bucks. Sometimes you won't be too happy to hear when they say everything's fine with your kid. All you think is- if everything is fine then why is my kid like this? Having an expectation based on the fantasy of having a perfect kid and not on the reality of your child's capability enforces you to take these short cuts to correct your child. In the end you may find some change, but what we don't acknowledge is things like this usually get better with age and what actually worked is not the therapy or the treatment, but you giving that kind of time to the kid. Unfortunately the affects of these short cuts don't tend to last a long time either.
It is natural to have a doubt that you might be actually denying the reality of having a problem because your thoughts are clouded by your emotions for them. It's like you don't want them to have anything, so you choose not to see even if there is something wrong and wait till it's actually too late for you to handle. The balance to control these things comes only from knowing your kids. The more you start looking for reasons which doesn't involve you but just your kid, the more you are giving up on understanding them. More than the kids it is the parent who should be willing to take help to understand what and where it is going wrong.
Shy, anger, impulsivity, stubbornness are not pathological and most of the times are a part of our temperaments. Though it's a reality that personality disorders are often neglected and more prevalent than we can acknowledge it is also true that not every kid who is difficult to raise has that problem. A kid who refuses to party doesn't mean he or she is depressed. It might also be that they are happy in their own space and are selective about their relationships. A kid who has gone through enough abuse be it physical or mental might get sensitive to touch or to loud sounds. It might be the issue of comfort rather than a genetic abnormality there.
All we need to do, is think about the most common possibility but not the most common pathology that can lead to this kind of behavior. It's always a thin line between different kids and differently-abled kids. What blurs this is your anxiety, love and your overwhelming desire for a perfect and a healthy kid. If you don't know what's going on in their life, it's time to acknowledge that you are just being conspicuous in their life. Do not trust others in things which you can do for yourself and with people who mean a lot to you. You shouldn't worry just because your kid is different. A happy kid can be different too. Worry when their behavior is a result of a compromise between what they can be and what they are allowed to be. Protect them, don't project your anxieties onto them. To express themselves all the kids need is a chance to explore, explain, experiment and experience.
I say a perseverant parent is not obliged to have a perfect kid, but an imperfect kid do need an unswerving parent.