Should I reveal the truth to my daughter about her peeping friend?

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female part-time employee in my 50s, and I would like some advice regarding my daughter, who has been working full-time for two years, and one of her friends.

This year, my daughter met a few childhood classmates after a long time, and among them is a young man who used to live in the neighborhood. I hadn’t seen him in a while, but he was very polite to me and kind to my younger children.

However, there’s a secret about him that only I know. When he was in junior high, he was caught peeping at my daughter while she was bathing. The neighbors chased him away, so it ended without any major repercussions, but I never told my daughter or my husband that it was him.

Lately, my daughter has gone on drives with a few male friends, including him. When I ask if it’s safe being the only woman, she says, “It’s OK, they don’t even see me as a woman,” but I’m still worried.

Should I tell her about what happened so she can be more careful? Or would it just make her distrust people?

I don’t know how to go about talking to her.

—M, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Ms. M:

Even if it’s in a group setting, it’s completely natural as a parent to be worried about your daughter spending time with a young man who was caught watching her bathe. So, regarding whether or not you should tell your daughter, I think you should be honest with her and tell her what happened.

It’s difficult to judge whether his actions at the time were because he was at an age when he was becoming curious about the opposite sex, or if it is something that he continues to do. You mentioned that he is now a polite young man, so I want to believe that he has changed, but sometimes, people don’t.

Your daughter would be the best person to judge what kind of person he is now, since she is the one who has spent the most time with him.

Your daughter has the right to know what happened so she can decide for herself whether your fears are unfounded, or if she might remember certain instances that inform her of what kind of person he is. You say the reason you’re hesitant about telling your daughter the truth is because she might “distrust people,” but why not give your daughter a little more credit? As she is an adult with a career, I’m sure her judgment is well-developed.

You can’t protect your children forever.

—Masami Ohinata, university president