DEAR HARRIETTE: My twin teenage daughters won't go to school without wearing a full face of makeup. They have woken up more than two hours before school to do their hair and makeup and to coordinate their outfits. I feel like I have no control over what they do. I was never this concerned with my image in high school. Is it too late to try to take back the reins? Smokey eyes have no place in the a.m. -- Makeup Free, Dallas
DEAR MAKEUP FREE: Before you try to turn their lives around, do an assessment of where they are in the areas that really matter. Are they doing well in school? Verify how they are managing homework, quizzes, book reports and anything else that they have to do for school. What are their extracurricular activities? Are they managing those well? Be sure to check in on each of them individually so that you have a clear understanding of where they are. If you cannot figure it out by asking them, check in with their school to find out their statuses.
If they are doing well in their studies, leave them alone. They are experimenting -- as thousands of other young teenage girls are doing. There are so many videos on YouTube with makeup application directions because teenage girls are interested. You can curb what they are doing if you feel that it’s inappropriate. Otherwise, let them experiment.
If they are slacking off in their studies, you can punish them by not allowing them to apply makeup but instead having them wake up early to study. Since this is so important to them, they will feel the blow. In order to enforce the rule, you will have to be up with them during the early study hours, checking to see that they are doing their work efficiently and with focus.
Just know that they will probably do a simple makeup application once they get to school, even if you confiscate every makeup product they have. Don’t get caught up in that. Stay in sight of the big picture.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I sustained an injury a few weeks ago, and it has been getting the best of me. I find it hard to keep my home clean, work, and still find time to rest and put ice on it. With limited mobility, I have been trying to focus on keeping myself healthy, but being surrounded by a mess only sinks my mood lower. The worst part is that I injured my right leg, which is used for driving. I have weeks to months left like this, and I feel my crabbiness rubbing off on everyone around me. How can I be upbeat when I feel like my life is on hold? -- Slowing Me Down, Tucson, Arizona
DEAR SLOWING ME DOWN: Can you ask anyone to help you out for a short period of time? That could mean anyone from a friend or a family member to a paid service. The key here is that this is temporary. You need help to stay sane and organized during your recuperation. So get it. This will help your mood and your focus on healing.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)