Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Shy Teen Doesn't Want to Wear Glasses

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a shy 13-year-old. I recently went to the eye doctor, and I found out I need glasses. I don’t want glasses, and my mom won’t let me use contacts. Glasses make me look like a bug. I am very anxious. How do I cope with it? -- Four Eyes, Denver

DEAR FOUR EYES: I feel your pain! I have been wearing glasses since I was in the fifth grade, and trust me, when I was growing up, the selection available for glasses was limited, and I was teased on a daily basis -- in the beginning.

The great news today is that you have plenty of choices of frames that will NOT make you look like a bug! I promise. You need to try on a wide variety of frames, including clear plastic frames, rimless frames and others.

The next thing is to have the optometrist look at your prescription. If it is strong, chances are, your lenses may need to be thick in order to correct your vision. Once again, there is a workaround for that. Today, you can get compressed lenses that will shrink the thickness of your glasses while still giving you the sharpness of sight needed. Shop around to find a store that will fill your prescription affordably. Once you find frames that you like, you may also consider buying your glasses online.

Read more in: Teens | Family & Parenting | Work & School

Sister Begs for Fish for Birthday Present

DEAR HARRIETTE: My 8-year-old sister keeps telling me that she wants a fish for her birthday. I want to get her something different, but she is being very persistent about this fish. My parents don’t want the fish either, because they are going to be the ones taking care of it. My sister says she will clean the tank and feed it, but she won’t. I need to gear her in another direction and toward a different gift. How do you suggest I do that? -- Beyond the Fish, New York City

DEAR BEYOND THE FISH: It is your parents’ responsibility to deal with your sister and the fish. They may even want to decide to get her a fish, show her how to care for it and then leave it to her to follow through. If she does not, the fish will die, and sadly, she will see cause and effect in action.

For you, ask your sister what else she wants for her birthday. Think about her interests and throw out some ideas to get her creativity flowing. Also, point out to her that even though it’s her birthday, she won’t always get exactly what she wants, so it is smart to have a few ideas. Encourage her to think about fun, affordable ideas that do not require so much responsibility. If you are able to get her to consider another option, you will be helping her and your parents immeasurably.

But still, do know that it is your parents’ role to manage the pet issue. My daughter has always wanted a dog. I am allergic (even to hypoallergenic ones), so we aren’t getting one, and she is clear about that -- even though she continues to ask from time to time.

(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.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Holidays & Celebrations