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Don’t Let Your Child Go Subrat’s Way.

How An Unidentified Fear Of Math Led A Child Down The Path of Criminality

14-year-old Subrat was living with his parents in Chandigarh. His family hails from the Eastern Region of India. His father has been working at a company for the last 5 years. 

A regular Indian family with his parents and younger brother, Subrat was like any other child going to school with varied interests. His mother had taken a school teacher’s job. His father would come home every evening, and they would spend time together and go out to Malls for shopping and eat out during the weekends. 

A minor incident that started it all. 

Happy in his school until the 5th grade, Subrat was in for a shock when he arrived in 6th grade. For some reason, he was finding it hard to understand Math. To make matters worse, his teacher was rather harsh and impatient. When Subrat could not solve a problem, the teacher took it as a personal failure, punishing him with diary notes, public ridicule, and making him stand outside the class. 

At first, Subrat was just sad at being met with the punishment. But after repeated such instances and being unable to improve his comprehension of Math, he started to develop a deep fear of the subject. He would begin to palpitate before Math class and avoid opening his Math books at home, which put him further at odds with the teacher. 

When parents miss the signs. 

With his younger brother not having difficulties in Math and observing how Subrat avoided Math, his parents started to jump to conclusions. 

Lost in their own worries and thoughts, they never really listened to Subrat and made their assessments that he was “becoming lazy”. As a young student, Subrat did not have insight into his own emotions and what was causing him to avoid Math. 

His parents’ angry reactions and name-calling made him come to his own biased conclusions that something was wrong with him and he was not meant to be the “studying type”. Even when his parents put him into tuition for Math, his inner fear of the subject grew with thoughts like “what if I don’t understand Math here also”.

His Loneliness Grew. 

Things were getting more challenging for Subrat. He did not want to go to school (but had to), and at home, he could start to feel how his parents were beginning to speak differently to him than his brother. 

Whenever guests came over, his parents only called his brother to meet them. They avoided all questions about Subrat’s study performance. These little signs of being treated differently started to make Subrat feel that his only access to getting his parents’ approval was to score good marks, especially in Math. 

Looking for comfort. 

Unable to study and to feel lonely at home, Subrat’s turned to online games to escape loneliness and boredom. He also started to harbour resentment towards his brother. He began to act mischievously towards him as a form of seeking revenge. Whenever the parents noticed this behaviour, it further reinforced their thought that they had “lost” this child and should not be expecting anything from him. Their only hope was now pinned on the younger one.

At school, he found comfort amongst other students who could not perform well in their studies. He felt that they understood him or, at the very least, did not judge him harshly on academics. These “friends” were dealing with their own issues with studies and used to act mischievously in school. They would skip classes, vandalise the washrooms or make lewd comments about girl students. All of them, being kids, were really compensating for their inability to study. Mischief helped them feel in control of their lives. 

At first, Subrat, being the obedient boy that he was, resisted participating in mischief. But peer pressure grew slowly, and he had to choose between becoming like his friends or being kicked out of the group. As a teen, he had little choice and started giving in to the pressure. 

His First Crime 

At 14, Subrat was rounded off by the police for beating up a street vendor who had gotten into a scuffle with one of his friends. They had beaten the man and were picked up by a passing Police vehicle.

Subrat was released when his parents visited the station because of his age. They silently drove home, but the parents were now clear that something had gone horribly wrong with their child and something needed to be done. 

I won’t tell you the turn that Subrat’s story took. But you can guess it because I am telling you about him. 

Here’s the real issue.

Subrat’s case is an extreme example that we can share with you. The core learning from the story is as follows. 

  • Children do not want to perform poorly. Something is causing it to them. 
  • Parents are like Gods to kids (even if the kids will never admit it). And therefore, the role of parents is to not brush aside a child’s behaviour or make assumptions. A fix in time would have saved Subrat and his parents a lot of anguish. 
  • And finally, no one develops a problem in one day. As we saw in this case, many factors that go unresolved for a long time lead to situations getting out of hand. 

What you could do by reading this is to see what is causing study or behaviour troubles in your kids. Be truthful about where you do not provide the time and attention to your child’s needs. Because frankly, if a child’s parents won’t give nonjudgemental listening, then who will. 

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