WE live in a state of unawareness. Those who appear good on the outside are considered fit and healthy, which may not always be the case. Studies indicate the prevalence of depressive symptoms in 42.66 per cent of Pakistani youth. Regrettably, parents are seldom aware of what their child is going through.

Even when the youngsters open up about their struggles, many parents fail to understand. The children are mocked, rebuked and forcibly silenced because parents think anxiety and mental unease are elements of insanity.

Ironically, the ignorance of parents does not allow them to see, nay, admit, that their child is not fine. Instead of speaking out to get some help, if not relief, children have no option but to bleed internally.

The Japanese have a custom called Kintsugi. When a precious porcelain object is broken, instead of repairing the cracks, they are highlighted with powdered gold to celebrate the brokenness. They believe that a person can become solid only when he falls apart, collects the pieces, and builds himself all over again. However, in our country, embracing our breakdowns is a taboo.

The issue needs to be revisited by most parents. We must allow the youth to speak up, vent out, scream, and shed some tears. It is high time the parents learned that it is okay for their children to not be okay; at least, sometimes.

Ashraf Ahmed Shah
Hyderabad

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021

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