Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: This whole sexting thing with Anthony Weiner makes me sick and concerned. There was recently a sexting issue at my son's high school where several students were reprimanded for sending lewd photos to each other and sharing them with others. The teenagers didn't think it was a big deal at all -- even after they got caught. One of them even mentioned Weiner's situation, saying that if he can still run for mayor after all of the stuff he did, what's the big deal for them? They are just teenagers after all. How can I ensure that my son doesn't take on this warped view? -- Mortified, Queens, N.Y.

DEAR MORTIFIED: You are not alone in your concerns. This is a time when it is essential for you to remind your son of your values and expectations. People in the public eye and others do many things that your family may consider inappropriate. Point this out to your son. In this case, be sure to highlight that whatever you send via the Internet becomes part of the public domain and that you cannot guarantee that it remains private. Nothing should be shared that you deem salacious or embarrassing. As it relates to sexually explicit content, directly talk to your son about honoring his body, being respectful to any potential sexual partner and using discretion when it comes to taking actions for the thrill factor. Honestly, now is the time to revisit what, hopefully, you have done already, namely have the big talk about sex.

You can also watch with your son as Anthony Weiner's career and marriage begin to crumble. While we do not know yet what will happen to him, as the scandal surrounding him escalates, his reputation has clearly been tarnished. Point out that your reputation is very important and that you should do everything in your power to keep it intact by behaving responsibly and with integrity.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time my husband and I are broke, which seems like too frequently in recent years, he wants us to try what seems to me to be a get-rich-quick scheme that costs money. I have given in a few times because I didn't have a better solution. In the end, though, these schemes usually just end up wasting money. How can I convince him that they are bad ideas? -- Broke and Broken, Denver

DEAR BROKE AND BROKEN: Rather than telling your husband that his idea is bad, come up with a good idea to replace it. Start by finding a free or affordable financial adviser who can help you look at your current state of affairs and make recommendations for how to deal with your debt. Look at your expenses and income together to assess exactly how much you need to add in order to become financially healthy. Then talk about a range of creative ways to make that happen. Ask your husband to brainstorm with you.