Raising My Children Has Given Me Troubling Thoughts about My Parents

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a homemaker in my 30s and I’m unsure as to whether my parents loved me when I was a kid.

With two small children of my own, I’ve begun to realize I have no memory of having had fun with my parents when I was small.

I take my kids to the park and read them picture books. In the summer, we enjoy playing in the water together. But I can’t recall my mom and dad doing the same for me when I was young.

When I asked them about it, they said they were so busy back then that they can’t remember.

After having children, I was initially unsure about how to interact with them, so I began observing other moms around me and listened to what they said. That’s how I learned what to do.

I thought I’d had a normal childhood, but I’ve come to realize that I was actually a sad and lonely child. Now, I’m at a loss as to whether I should tell my parents about how I feel, even though I understand they were busy at that time. Please advise me about the best way to move forward.

C, Yamanashi Prefecture

Dear Ms. C:

You don’t remember having played with your parents, so you’re doing your best for your own kids by learning from other moms around you. You’re lavishing your children with as much love as you can. I think that’s wonderful, and I really admire your efforts.

You wrote that you’re now considering whether you should tell your parents about how you feel. I understand this is because raising your own offspring made you realize that your parents didn’t teach you much.

My recommendation is that you write a letter to your parents. The good thing about writing a letter is that it will help you clarify how you really feel. It will also help you understand what you want to tell your parents as you strive to put your pent-up feelings into words.

But do you want your mom and dad to be on the receiving end of your anger, or would you rather tell them you were sad and lonely? You certainly must have felt alone, but what do you expect of your parents now? Do you want them to reflect on what they did and offer you an apology? Or would you be fine with things if they understood how you feel?

Please bear in mind that you may not get the response you expect; you may end up listening to excuses. If you feel strongly that this outcome is acceptable and that you can’t move forward without expressing your feelings, then go ahead.

Even if you end up feeling disappointed, you might be able to accept the situation and use your feelings to power your future. I’m rooting for you!

Hazuki Saisho, writer