The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:
I’m a housewife in my 50s. My daughter is in her late 20s and recently divorced, but she told me she wants to marry again.
Her former husband seemed to be an ideal person and they married without anybody objecting. After a while, they began to verbally abuse each other, saying things like, “I didn’t know you were such a terrible person.” As a result, they got divorced last year by mutual consent.
Earlier this year, she told me she has a boyfriend and wants to marry again. I was surprised and asked her to give me a detailed description of him. She said this man is very different from her former husband regarding his academic and family background.
She also tearfully said, “I don’t think our family will accept him.” I was unhappy about her lackadaisical attitude, so I wanted to take a cold-hearted stance by snapping, “Give that man up if you have no other option than crying.” At the same time, I thought I’d support her by all means.
I’ve calmly watched my daughter since she was little and I’m confident she has been able to make decisions on her own and act appropriately. Now, I’m worried that I have been too indulgent or made a mistake in bringing her up. I feel as if the very essence of my belief in her has been shaken. It’s very painful.
N, Kanagawa Prefecture
Dear Ms. N:
The hardest thing for any parent is to see their children crying over misfortune. I understand you can’t help but blame yourself for having made some mistake in raising her. I have one thing to tell you. She learned an important lesson that a person cannot be evaluated by their academic or family backgrounds.
It must be a hard experience for her, but she should also be aware she can restart her life over and over again. I hope you’ll continue trusting and watching over her as you did before.
You wrote about your concern over her somewhat lackadaisical manner in her relationship with her boyfriend. She may have been desperate as she is sad about her failed marriage and feels lonely.
Now it’s time for you to stay composed and listen closely when she expresses her true feelings. Don’t try to preach to her or be critical of her boyfriend’s background. Rather, you should try to convince her that you trust her and support her no matter what. For her, nothing is more encouraging than having someone who wholeheartedly trusts and watches over her.
How can you be so worried at such a crucial moment? If you wish you could bring her up correctly from scratch, you still have time to do so.
Masami Ohinata, professor