Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Ready to Snap Out of Rut

DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents have been divorced for nearly two decades. Recently, each has separately told me that they refuse to be in the same room together. I tried to investigate what led to this declaration, but I have gotten no answers. I think they are being ridiculous and dramatic, as does my sister. Can I not invite either parent to family gatherings? I don’t want to have to pick a favorite and give into their immature bickering. -- Grow Up, Cincinnati

DEAR GROW UP: Join forces with your sister and invite your parents to a family meeting. Tell them that you need to talk to them. Even if you have to invite them separately for a surprise private meeting with the two of you, do it.

When your parents arrive, ask them to listen to you before reacting. Present to them some facts: They created the family that produced the two of you. You do not want to choose between them in order to have a family experience. You want to include them in your family life as long as they are alive. You need them to behave as civil adults. You do not want to navigate the land mines of their energy in trying to create a wholesome family experience. Beg them to figure out how to be able to put aside their personal differences so that they can support their children in their current lives.

(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.)