TROUBLESHOOTER / I want my good-for-nothing son to get into a good school

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a company employee in my 40s. I need advice about my son, who is a third-year high school student.

He’s scheduled to take an entrance exam for a private university, but his mock test results are not very promising. Apparently, he really wants to pass an entrance exam during his last year of high school, so he thinks it’ll be fine to enter a university that accepts examinees with lower scores on its admission test.

As his parent, though, I think it’s better for him to enter a recognized university, even if its successful applicants’ test scores are just a little higher, although he may have to spend one more year preparing for entrance exams.

My son isn’t active in any activities and he’s a good-for-nothing, too. So I want him to at least enter a good university and become sure of himself. It pains me to see that he’s inferior to the other neighborhood kids in many respects.

I don’t want to have regrets later as a parent, so I criticize him. I’m sure undergoing the hardship of winning admission to university will be helpful for him in the future, so I want him to try harder. But my attention centers on my son’s negative aspects and his disadvantages, so I can’t praise him. My son is trying to avoid me. What am I supposed to do as his parent?

B, Tokyo

Dear Mr. B:

Now that the entrance exam season has set in, many parents must be worried about their children’s future after leaving school.

I came away worrying about you, rather than your son, after reading your letter. How can you make such negative remarks about your own child? — “he’s a good-for-nothing” and “It pains me to see that he’s inferior to the other neighborhood kids.”

It’s not that I don’t understand your concern. With unprecedented social changes expected to take place in the near future, it’s important for your son to gain the strength to keep tackling challenges no matter what. You’re living in the business world, and that makes you all the more apprehensive about your son’s lack of aggressiveness.

If so, what you should do now is not worry about the ranking of the university your son will enter, but hold sufficient discussions with him about what he wants to do in the future and what may motivate him to live positively. It’s also important to accept your son as he is.

Children will face up to life in their own way and build confidence in themselves if they feel the joy of being recognized by their parents. Trying to pass entrance exams is important, but I advise you to value the viewpoint of watching over your son’s long life that lies ahead.

Masami Ohinata,

university president

(from Jan. 22, 2019, issue)Speech

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