Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Daughter Must Become Aware

DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage daughter and her best friend often spend time together after school. I got word from a friend that he saw them walking in a busy commercial neighborhood, and he was worried about them.

He said they looked innocent, but he was sure young men would be interested in them because they looked provocative, even though he said they weren’t necessarily dressed in a sexy way. He said, as a guy, he knows how guys can look at innocent girls like that. He told me he didn’t speak to them and might not have told me, but since I ran into him he thought I should know.

How can I handle this situation? I know my daughter has to grow up, and I am figuring out how to protect her and to let her have some independence. -- In the Balance, Manhattan, New York

DEAR IN THE BALANCE: Your job is to constantly teach your daughter how to protect herself as she is growing up. She should always be mindful of her surroundings, and -- as she is doing -- it is best to travel at least in pairs.

For your friend, ask him to speak to her whenever he sees her so she knows someone who cares about her is looking out for her. Ask him to tell you whenever he sees her. Then when you tell her she will realize, as the old folks used to say, you do have eyes in the back of your head. We need a village to help protect and raise our children to keep them safe.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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