No matter how much you love your kids, no matter how strongly you want to protect them and guide towards what you believe are the best decisions, at some point they’re going to grow up and lead their own lives. Past a certain age, you just have to face the reality that your while they’ll always be your children, they’re also now adults, and you have to accept them as the people they’ve chosen to become.
Or, alternatively, you could harbor resentment towards them, like the men polled for this survey of the top 10 ways Japanese fathers are disappointed in their daughters.
Internet portal and lifestyle magazine R25 recently conducted a survey of 200 Japanese men with unmarried daughters at least 20 years old, the age of legal adulthood in Japan. The respondents were given a list of 15 choices and asked to pick the top three times they felt disappointed in their female offspring, with three points going to their top pick, two to their second, and one to their third-largest complaint.
The top 10 responses were:
10. When I saw her wearing really revealing clothing (35 points)
Men are usually the biggest proponents of exposed female flesh. Their own daughters’, however, is a rare exception.
9. When I found out she smokes (36 points)
It would be sort of a downer to find out that your daughter is spending her day sucking down carcinogens, and also making herself smell terrible in the process.
8. When I had to admit she just isn’t blessed with good looks (63 points)
This is kind of an odd one to feel “disappointed” about. Maybe these fathers’ negative reaction is a result of having to come to grips with the fact that their own DNA didn’t help much in the looks department?
7. When she said I was dirty or smelled bad (74 points)
In that case, shouldn’t you be more disappointed in your own personal hygiene standards? And if you’ve got enough time to be griping to researchers about your daughter, surely you’ve got enough time for a shower and shampoo, right?
6. When she didn’t do anything to celebrate my birthday (75 points)
OK, that’s pretty cold.
5. When I realized she’ll never be able to find a boyfriend (86 points)
Setting aside the debate of how much importance, if any at all, society should place on women having children, it’s pretty common, on a personal level, for people to want grandchildren as they get older. There’s also the fact that, at least compared to other countries, it’s more common in Japan for a woman to live with her parents until getting married, often without chipping in for things such as rent or utilities. As such, some fathers may have an economic-based desire to see their daughter falling in love and moving towards setting up her own household.
3 (tie). When I found out she has a boyfriend (87 points)
And on the other end of that debate, some guys just can’t handle the idea of anyone else being the primary man in the life of Daddy’s little girl.
3 (tie). When she didn’t do anything for me to celebrate Father’s Day (87 points)
This is pretty much the same deal as the “no birthday celebration” grievance, except that Father’s Day being on a Sunday means the daughter probably has the day off from work or school, making the cold shoulder all the chillier.
2. When she started to have the same traits that bother me about her mother (92 points)
Assuming the dad has a valid case for being bothered by those unspecified traits, then yeah, a double dose of them can’t be any fun.
1. When she announced “I have no intention of getting married” (102 points)
Considering the demographics of the respondents, fathers with adult daughters, it’s not too surprising to see this one top the list. It’s basically the same situation as “When I realized she’ll never be able to find a boyfriend,” but with the added weight of permanence behind it, which would make some fathers feel like they’ll never be able to play with their grandkids or turn their daughter’s bedroom into an office/man cave.
If we combine the 102 points for “she has no intention of getting married” with the 86 for “she’ll never find a boyfriend,” the total comes to a whopping 188, more than double any other single complaint on the list. Of course, on the other hand, you can’t ignore the 87 disappointment points earned by women who do have a steady boyfriend.
In the end, it’s sort of like the old fable about the man, his son, and the donkey. If the father rides the donkey, people criticize him for not sacrificing for his child. If the son rides, people chastise him for being an ingrate who makes his own father walk.
In the end, you can’t please everyone, and not everyone can please you. Maybe it’s for the best to let your kids sort out their own romantic affairs as per their needs, and keep any disappointment you feel regarding it to yourself. Otherwise, your grumbling might make your daughter think that you’re the ass in the story.