The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female company worker in my 40s. My son is a university student, and he regularly stays overnight at his girlfriend’s place. I don’t like the situation and have cautioned him a number of times, but he won’t listen to me.
My husband and I have refrained from spending money on ourselves so we can pay for our son’s tuition. Despite our efforts, he is not doing well in university, and worse still, he keeps spending the night with his girlfriend, who lives alone. He told me she asks him not to leave so he ends up staying overnight.
I’m fine with them dating, but told him he should also get her parents’ permission, though he has yet to do so. I’m so frustrated with his weak-willed attitude. I hope his girlfriend’s parents will teach him a strict lesson. When he offered to introduce her to us, I refused, as I felt sorry for her parents.
Recently, I found the resolve to tell him we would stop paying for his school tuition unless he obeys us. I also said he should think about his life more seriously. I want him to wake up.
I wouldn’t complain if he was supporting himself, but in reality, he is still a student living off his parents. I have no idea how to deal with him.
Dear Ms. M:
You sent him to university for his benefit, but just ended up spoiling him.
I advise you to set a clear deadline for him to stop staying at his girlfriend’s place, and if he fails to meet it, stop paying for his school tuition. Your son probably thinks you will never stop paying because you don’t want him to drop out of university. He knows this would mean all your efforts amounted to nothing. He is taking your threats lightly.
His girlfriend is also a problem. She is basically living with a man without telling her parents and begs him not to leave. Your son seems to be under her control and I imagine you are not happy about it. It’s probably why you are reluctant to punish him. You blame your son in your letter, but you are actually angry with his girlfriend. That’s why you refused to meet her. You simply didn’t want to, right? You approve of them dating, but only reluctantly, as you want to be an understanding mother.
If he can’t keep his promise, you should just kick him out from home. There are share houses offered to couples for reasonable rents. You should wait until they can live on their own before you approve of their relationship.
By the way, have you shared this problem with your husband? Your letter doesn’t reveal much about how he feels. I hope your son has not got his weak will from his father.
Hazuki Saisho, writer