The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a woman in my 30s. I want to talk about my younger sister — who thinks of only herself — and my parents, who indulge her.
She hangs out at my parents’ house from morning to night on weekdays, as her husband gets back home late at night. She leaves the care for her 2-year-old child entirely to others — the meals to my mother, the bathing to my father, and being the playmate to my grandmother.
She cannot cook properly, so the child hates to eat her meals. She makes my parents wash her child’s clothes. She is only interested in makeup and fashion.
I also visit my parents’ house with my child, but they do not take care of us. They say, “You are used to caring for your child by yourself, aren’t you?” and they ask me to watch the house while they go out.
When we stay at their house, I bring food cooked for my child and take clothes back home so that my parents don’t have to wash them. I think it is what anyone should do.
I made a suggestion to my parents, saying, “You should not indulge her all the time, but instead make her cook her child’s meals.” But they do not mind. Even though I have said it directly to my sister, she does not accept it.
F, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Dear Ms. F:
First of all, older parents should try to get along with their children equally. Children compare and compete for parents’ love, even though they have grown up. All children want to be loved the most, regardless of age.
By the way, you are on the side of the children. You must be angry at your sister, who depends completely on your parents. To everyone, you appear to be a more admirable mother than your sister.
I was a lazy daughter, and thought it was natural for my parents to treat me and my child with meals. You may depend on your parents to that extent, but only as long as your mother is young and healthy.
Siblings should, to some extent, try to forget about differences in how they are treated by their parents. Parents should treat their children “equally,” but each child has a different character and circumstances.
Your parents might depend on your sister, who is always nearby, and they themselves cling to her.
It’s not your parents, but your sister, who you will get along with for a longer time. I think you will be happier if you have a tolerable relationship with your sister.
Keiko Higuchi, critic