The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a homemaker in my 50s with a daughter in high school and a son in junior high school. I’d like your advice on how I should interact with them.
My daughter has always worked hard since she was young and currently attends a school that prepares students to enter university. She studies tirelessly, as she wants to get into a top university. However, I’m worried she’ll exhaust herself mentally and physically from working too hard.
My son, on the other hand, hates studying. He prefers games and TV and doesn’t do his homework or study for tests unless he’s forced to. He’s also very dependent on others. My daughter and I get caught up in his problems, which we often solve for him, and I’ve grown irritated by his indolent lifestyle.
I’m perplexed by my children’s starkly different personalities. I also compare the two, which leads me to scold my son.
I nevertheless wonder which of the two is happier. Please give me advice.
B, Kanagawa Prefecture
Dear Ms. B:
Although you’re puzzled by your children’s contrasting personalities and lifestyles, I was impressed by your sharp senses when reading your letter.
Your daughter is a high-achieving student while your son is a slacker who hates studying.
I think most parents would worry about a son like yours. While harboring this sentiment, I’m sure you wonder which of the two is truly happy.
To live a happy life, it’s important for your children to be proud of who they are. To this end, they should find something they can be passionate about, although that may take some time. You should teach them to be patient and never give up in searching for their purpose, regardless of the circumstances.
With this in mind, your son has yet to find his purpose. Instead of comparing him to your daughter and scolding him, you should focus on his positive qualities and offer praise.
Now, what about your daughter?
Please be sure to consider whether her exhaustive studying is a means of achieving a deeply held goal.