I’m a father struggling with how to give good advice to my daughter

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a part-time worker in my 70s. I’m worried about my daughter in her early 30s, as she is not fitting in at work and is not married. When my daughter comes to me for help, it bothers me that I can’t offer good fatherly advice.

After she lost her mother when she was around 1, my mother and I have raised her. Upon graduating from junior college, she has had several part-time jobs and is currently working at the information center of a commercial facility.

However, she seems to have a hard time because she says she often finds it difficult to deal with the many different types of customers.

As for marriage, she is trying to find a partner through matching apps, but it doesn’t seem to be going well. She sent me an email saying, “I’m mentally exhausted.”

It’s frustrating that I can’t give her good advice as a person who has more experience in life than her, and more importantly as her father. I wonder what I should say to her.

—K, Saitama Prefecture

Dear Mr. K:

Raising a child as a single parent must have been very difficult, but you have been able to build a strong relationship with your daughter and she trusts you enough to ask for advice.

The situation of people in their 30s today is very different from 40 years ago when you were in your 30s. Back then, basically, if you wanted to get married, you could; if you wanted to get a full-time job, you could.

However, one-third of women in their early 30s nowadays are unmarried. Nearly half of all unmarried women in that age group do not have full-time employment. Your daughter’s situation is not unique.

It must be hard for you to not be able to give your daughter advice based on your years of life experience.

I suggest you start by advising her to have a better outlook on her job.

You can encourage her, for example, to apply for a full-time job or get useful qualifications. Talk with her about how to become more independent at work.

If you can afford it, I recommend you consider financially supporting her. Just be patient.

She may be chasing too many ideals when it comes to marriage. I think it’s good to listen to her complaints and push her to do the right thing.

I think your daughter is really lucky to have a father like you with whom she can talk and who cares about her. I wish her all the best.

—Masahiro Yamada, university professor