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My mother is too absorbed in a smartphone game

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 20s. My mother, who is in her 50s and lives with me, has become hooked on a smartphone game. I’m very worried about it.

She started playing a game six months ago after a friend recommended it to her.

She’s so absorbed in playing the game that she always carries her smartphone around, even when shopping and dining. She is now sloppy with doing household chores.

Her character has changed, too. She gets angry more easily now. She gets especially angry when I warn her that she’s overdoing it and says, “I want to do what I want to do in my life.”

She also justifies her actions by saying, “I take good care of the house,” and won’t improve her lifestyle.

Due to my work, I have to be away from home for about five years. I’m concerned my mother will become more self-indulgent after I go.

My father pretends not to notice the situation. He and my mother no longer have any affection for each other. I want her to be gentle and kind like she used to be. As a member of her family, I don’t want to just let it go.

S, Tokyo

Dear Ms. S:

I’ve thought there are many helpless daughters and sons these days. But when I look around me, I also see many helpless parents who trouble their children.

First, your father should face his wife and this problem directly, and discuss it or quarrel with her about it, even by threatening to possibly divorce her. Or he may have to attend a consultation facility with her.

You say, “ As a member of her family, I don’t want to just let it go.” As an older member of society, I’m very happy to hear this. Please don’t stop caring for her and continue watching over her warmly.

You need to be away from home for five years due to your work. This may be a good opportunity for your mother. She may get wilder after losing you as an impediment to her actions, but she could also return to herself if she has nobody to depend on mentally.

Why not write to her regularly, sincerely asking her to bring her life back to normal? Write on a regular basis and sometimes write to your father, too.

The five years to come are an important period for you to build a lifetime foundation for both your work and private life. While being away from your mother physically, I hope you can concentrate on working earnestly and be lucky in your private life, too. If you care about yourself and develop your abilities, it will help your parents live peacefully.

Keiko Higuchi, critic

(from March 15, 2015, issue)

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