Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Ex-Girlfriend's Activities Border on Stalking

DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in a small town and have noticed my ex-girlfriend's car driving around outside my house more than usual. When we broke up, she slashed my tires and keyed my car, so I don't want to put myself at risk of an outburst from her, but I want to stop feeling so uneasy knowing she is rolling my home. I don't think the police should get involved, but I don't know how she'd react if I confronted her about her behavior. How do I get her to stop looping around my home? -- Repeat Sightings, Near Pikesville, Maryland

DEAR REPEAT SIGHTINGS: Unfortunately, the only real measure you have is to report your ex-girlfriend's behavior to the police. It is unlikely that she will be arrested since she isn't doing anything illegal right now, but it will set a precedent. You can tell the police about what your ex did upon your breakup. Be specific and unemotional. Ask the authorities for advice on what to do to protect yourself from your ex now. Meanwhile, keep your distance.

If you have occasion to communicate with her, apologize for whatever you did to hurt her. Invite her to agree to move on, just as you are doing.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My young adult children have been slyly drinking at family events recently. They are 20-year-old twins, so they have not reached the legal drinking age. I caught my son holding a beer in the kitchen and immediately made him pour it down the drain. He does not even know his own limits!

Is my son being disrespectful by drinking in my home? I think so; however, my wife thinks it is safer that he drinks with us to figure out how he handles his liquor. -- Family Not Booze, Dallas

DEAR FAMILY NOT BOOZE: You probably already know that it is common for teenagers to drink without their parents' permission. Your children are almost of-age. While I do not condone underage drinking, I will say that it is likely that if they were drinking in your home, there's a good chance they have been drinking in other places, too.

Do your best to have a nonjudgmental conversation with your kids about their choices. Remind them of the reasons you do not recommend that they drink. At the same time, acknowledge how common it is for people their age. Ask them how often they drink. Go slowly with this conversation, as it is usually difficult for young people to admit their illicit behavior, especially to their parents.

I cannot recommend that you let your children drink at home. I can tell you that many families do make that choice so that they can watch their children, know that they are not driving and help them to learn to make smart decisions. If you do allow them to drink at home, do not let them have parties with their friends with alcohol. You will be liable if anything happens to them, from alcohol poisoning to drunk driving.

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