I’m afraid my bad memories will spoil school for my child

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a homemaker in my 20s. My 3-year-old daughter will enter kindergarten this spring. I’m happy about it, but also upset because I have suddenly recalled uncomfortable old memories that I had dismissed from my mind for years.

I disliked school. In kindergarten, I spent most of my time alone. In elementary school and junior high school, I was often bullied. I didn’t tell my parents and just waited for the time to pass. That’s all I remember now.

My daughter has grown to be a gentle, smiling child. I credit this to the people around us. However, before her school life starts, I can’t tell her, from the bottom of my heart, that school is a good, enjoyable place. I sincerely hope she will spend her school days differently and not be like me. How should I deal with my feelings about the matter?

I’m also very worried that I will need to be involved in her school, despite having such uncomfortable feelings.

G, Niigata Prefecture

Dear Ms. G:

I congratulate you on your daughter entering kindergarten soon. She has steadily grown to be a gentle, smiling child, thanks to the people around her. I sincerely celebrate this.

So, what’s wrong? Ah, yes, it’s about your memories. You say you experienced a lot of hard things in the past, but I don’t understand how that is related to your daughter living a happy life.

For one thing, you should separate her experience from yours, as you and she are different people. Even if you have had unhappy days, can it cause misfortune for your daughter?

However painful it was, you had respectably overcome the hardship and dismissed it from your mind. Why do you need to recall it and worry about it once again? It’s like scratching off the scab of a wound to make it bleed again when it had almost healed.

You will certainly be involved with her school from now on. But remember this: You are not the main player this time. I tell you this because parents shouldn’t meddle in their children’s affairs too much, in principle. Trust your daughter and let her take care of herself. I suggest you keep this fundamental idea in mind.

Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist

(from Dec. 25, 2016, issue)Speech

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