Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Shocked by Parents' Marijuana Stash

DEAR HARRIETTE: Both of my parents have pretty bad arthritis. They are in their 80s and live in Florida in a senior community. When I visited them this past weekend, I made them a meal. As I pulled open a drawer, I saw a bag of marijuana along with wrapped Rice Krispie treats and brownies. There were also lighters and a small smoking piece in this drawer. My parents were in their living room as I was making food, but they clearly have no intent to hide this.

I am stunned. When I was caught smoking pot as a teenager, my father kicked me out of the house for two days! Seeing marijuana in their possession truly surprised me. I recall my father constantly giving me jabs and calling me a "loser pothead" when I was in college. I'm not quite sure what to make of my discovery.

I would love to call out my parents on being hypocrites, but don't want to hurt their feelings. I assume they use marijuana to ease body pain. I am not sure why they are using drugs, but I would like an apology for years of berating me for consuming a fraction of what they have now. -- Pot Calling Kettle, Orlando, Florida

DEAR POT CALLING KETTLE: Here's a perfect time for humor. Clearly, your parents have evolved since your childhood. They probably have marijuana for their ailments and use it medicinally. Note to you: They are using it for very different reasons than you were recreationally in your youth.

That said, you can bring it up, let your parents know what you found and even say, "Hey, now you know why I liked it so much!" Try to spark a laugh rather than reprimanding them or even asking for an apology. You can forgive them without it. Instead, get them to talk about their lives.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Addiction | Health & Safety

Reader has Trouble Connecting With Father-In-Law

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been married for almost two years. Throughout our relationship, my husband has stressed how important his father is to him. Picking up on his cue, I go out of my way to speak to his father at family gatherings. Alone time with my father-in-law is, quite frankly, awkward and unpleasant. He makes it seem like I am never interesting enough for him, and has made a point to bring up ex-girlfriends.

I'm sick of trying to reach out to my father-in-law and have him like me. He is such a curmudgeon who clearly doesn't want to know me. I keep this from my husband because I know how fond he is of his father, but Iam at my wits' end. My husband recently suggested we all go on a hike together, and I think I am just too grumpy to continue on trying to please my father-in-law. Is it time for me to come clean to my husband? -- Not Daddy's Girl, Syracuse

DEAR NOT DADDY'S GIRL: Tell your husband how stressed you are about the way his father treats you. Ask for his support. Let him know you are ready to give up on building a relationship with his father because he is consistently disrespectful. Ask your husband to intervene.

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Etiquette & Ethics