I worry about my daughter’s future as she has a tendency to quit

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 50s and my 19-year-old daughter has a tendency to quit. Ever since she was young, she would quit pretty quickly — whether it was cram school, extracurricular lessons or school club activities — even if it was something she said she wanted to do. School is the only thing she has stuck with, but the other day, she told me she wants to stop going to the vocational school specializing in childcare she started attending in the spring.

She said she wasn’t sure if she could deal with that kind of work. I tried to convince her to stick with it and encouraged her, but she’s stubborn, so it doesn’t seem like she will change her mind. She started talking about her unrealistic goal of wanting to work in television. She said she will work part-time to save money to go to a vocational school in Tokyo.

My husband told her that we will no longer financially support her, even though he was fine with her quitting school. However, my daughter is the type of person who would spend all the money she earns from her part-time job on goods related to her favorite idol singer.

Is it OK for us to just cut her off and tell her to take responsibility for her own actions? I’m also worried that she’ll drown in debt while living on her own.

— I, Hokkaido

Dear Ms. I:

My generation is familiar with the proverb: “Ishi no ue ni mo sannen,” meaning sitting on a cold stone for three years will make it warm. This saying actually means that no matter how difficult something is, if you stick with it and bear it, you will one day succeed.

So, your daughter’s tendency to quit looks problematic to people my age.

It must be even more difficult as her parents to see her situation and worry about her future.

In the eyes of the law, a 19-year-old is considered an adult. Your husband made a reasonable decision of letting her make her own choices about her future but telling her she needs to take care of everything, including finances, on her own.

At the same time, I understand the concerns you have about your daughter, who isn’t in the habit of saving money, living safely in Tokyo with nothing but dreams. The world can be a dangerous place for young women.

I think the only thing you can do is to keep telling her your concerns honestly as parents and continue to try to persuade her with a resolute attitude.

To get your daughter, who doesn’t listen to the opinion of others, to be a little more open-minded, it might be best to acknowledge her choices and not just reject them.

Your daughter might have developed her tendency to quit because she is continuously looking for something more challenging. I hope you can have a discussion with her about how she can direct that energy instead of just cutting her off.

— Masami Ohinata,university president