The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a male teacher in my 20s. I’m concerned about my father because he is always complaining.
My father often talks about regrets in his life when our family are together at dinnertime or on holidays. Once he starts, he doesn’t stop, which immediately spoils the family’s good mood. He is consumed with an inferiority complex stemming from his academic background, and he sometimes even speaks ill of the university I graduated from.
I’m somehow sympathetic to his stress because he is not good at communicating and building relationships with others. It seems he isn’t successful at work because of these weaknesses.
My father suffers from insomnia due to the stress and takes sleeping pills. He also complains more and more often. I can’t bear to see him this way. I hope he changes his mind-set to think of his twilight years in a more positive way.
I’m also concerned when I think about getting married, because it would be embarrassing for my future wife to hear my father complaining as he does now. How should I support him as a member of my father’s family?
Y, Kagawa Prefecture
Dear Mr. Y:
Your father is blessed with such a good son like you who listens to his complaints. He is stressed out so much that he suffers from insomnia, so I suggest you listen to him as sympathetically as possible.
It may also work if you take another step to ask your father about his childhood and seek advice about your work. It can help him build confidence in himself, because anyone is happy to have someone take an interest in them and have their opinions respected.
I suggest you sometimes have your father listen to you complain. Interestingly enough, if we listen to the complaints of others and encourage them, what we tell them can end up encouraging ourselves, like a boomerang that we throw that comes back to us.
If your father can realize he is relied on by his son, it can help him. As a teacher, what you learn through communicating with your father will also certainly benefit you when building relationships with your own students.