Saikin-no shinnyū-shain-wa amaete-imasu-ne. (New employees nowadays are like little boys and girls.)

Situation 1: Section chief Mr. Okubo and division head Ms. Yamani are talking about the new employees.

大久保: 最近の新入社員は甘えていますね。ちょっときびしいことを言うと、すぐにやめたがるんです。

ヤマニ: でも、どういう事情か、よく話を聞く必要があると思いますよ。

Okubo: Saikin-no shinnyū-shain-wa amaete-imasu-ne. Chotto kibishii koto-wo iu-to, sugu-ni yametagaru-n-desu.

Yamani: Demo, dō-iu jijō-ka, yoku hanashi-wo kiku hitsuyō-ga aru-to omoimasu-yo.

Okubo: New employees nowadays are like little boys and girls. When I say something just a little strict, they soon want to quit their work.

Yamani: But we have to listen carefully to what they say.

Today, we will introduce the proper use of 甘(あま)える and 甘やかす, a verb that shows a type of characteristic/personality. 甘える has various meanings depending on the situation. The original use is X (person 1) がY (person 2) に甘える, and it expresses that X behaves like a spoiled child expecting Y’s affection, favor or courtesy. Example: 子(こ)どもが母親(ははおや)に甘えて抱(だ)きついている (The child is clinging to his mother and behaving like a baby). 甘える is also used when X and Y are adult persons, and expresses that X relies on Y’s favor. Y can be the person’s favor such as 親切(しんせつ, kindness), 言葉 (ことば, word) or 申し出(もうしで proposal). Example: ではお言葉(ことば)に甘えてごちそうになります(Now, I’ll stay for dinner accepting your kind offer). 甘える often conveys a negative meaning, and expresses that someone expects soft treatment or relies on another person’s goodwill.

Situation 2: Mrs. Shiba’s mother gives another piece of cake to her grandson Jun. Mrs. Shiba reproaches her mother.

芝の母: じゅん、もっとケーキが食べたいの? じゃ、これ、あげましょうね。

芝: お母さん、そんなに甘やかしていたら、だめよ。

Shiba-no haha: Jun, motto kēki-ga tabetai-no? Ja, kore, agemashō-ne.

Shiba: O-kāsan, sonna-ni amayakashite-itara, dame-yo.

Shiba’s Mother: Jun, do you want more cake? Here, have this.

Shiba: Mom, you’re spoiling Jun. You shouldn’t do that.

XがYを甘やかす means that X spoils/indulges/pampers Y and conveys a negative meaning, as in 彼(かれ)は甘やかされて育(そだ)ったからわがままな性格(せいかく)になってしまった (He was spoiled by his parents and became such a selfish child). 甘やかす can be used when X and Y are adults, as in Mr. Okubo’s remark in Bonus Dialogue.

Bonus Dialogue: Continued from Situation 1.

大久保: 昔(むかし)は新入社員(しんにゅうしゃいん)を 甘(あま)やかすな、とよく言(い)われましたが。

ヤマニ: でも、今(いま)の若者(わかもの)は傷(きず)つきやすいので、話(はなし)をよく聞(き)くことが大切(たいせつ)でしょう。うつ病(びょう)になる人(ひと)も増(ふ)えていますし。「甘えている」と簡単(かんたん)に決(き)めつけないほうがいいですよ。

大久保: たしかにそうですね。

ヤマニ: 叱(しか)るよりほめて育(そだ)てるようにしたほうがうまくいくらしいですよ。

大久保: 昔と今では、社員教育(しゃいんきょういく)も変(か)わってきているんですね。

ヤマニ: ほめることが甘やかしているわけではないんです。とにかくやる気(き)が出(で)るようにしなければ。たとえば私(わたし)はゴルフがほんとうに下手(へた)だったんですが、すてきなコーチがすごくほめるので、うれしくなってやっているうちにe_SLps。

大久保: 社内(しゃない)ゴルフ大会(たいかい)で優勝(ゆうしょう)3回(さんかい)ですか。(ひとりごと)でも、それはコーチがかっこよかったからじゃないかなあ。

Okubo: It used to be said that we shouldn’t pamper new employees.

Yamani: But we have to listen to what young people say nowadays because they are vulnerable. We shouldn’t just assume that they are naive.

Okubo: You are right.

Yamani: If we praise them rather than scold them, they are more likely to become good employees.

Okubo: Employee training now is changing.

Yamani: Praising them doesn’t mean pampering them. For example, I was very bad at golf but my coach praised me often, and I became happy, and continued …

Okubo: Then you won the first prize in our company competition three times. (To himself) But I guess it’s really because her coach was good-looking.

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