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TROUBLESHOOTER / It’s so hard for me to listen to my parents’ complaints

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female sixth-grade elementary school student. It is so hard to listen to my parents complain.

My mother hates my father’s family so much. She has arguments with my father about how many days we will stay at his family home or how many times we eat with his family every time at the end-of-year holiday and summer vacations.

My parents aren’t violent with each other, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were violent in the future.

The hardest thing for me is that my mother bad-mouths my father to me. Meanwhile, my father says bad things about my mother to me as well.

I don’t know what to say when my parents ask me to agree with them and say, ”Don’t you think so?” “It makes us angry, doesn’t it? ” I think they are both responsible for the fights.

I love them equally. I feel like crying, because I think that I’ll be forced to listen to their complaints forever. I can’t talk with my younger sibling about this. I don’t know what to do. How can I cope with my parents?

M, Nara Prefecture

Dear Miss. M:

It’s not fun to listen to complaints about other people. Furthermore, it’s difficult that your parents, who you love, complain about each other to you.

Of course, they are adults, but they are only human. They probably have bad feelings, which you may also feel about your friends sometimes.

It is never good for complaints to be aired from adults to you, an elementary student. However, I guess they trust you and talk with you because they feel like you’re an adult. You are a reliable big sister.

While they may ask you which side you are taking, you may not want to counter-argue with them. It would be better if you just listen and nod if your parents say bad things about each other.

To fathers and mothers reading this, I guess there are many of you in the same situation. Of course, I don’t suggest you not fight with your partner. But please never fight in front of your child or bad-mouth your partner to your child. It would never be good for you or your child if you involve your child in this.

Masahiro Yamada, professor

(from Feb. 1, 2019, issue)Speech

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