Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Son Won't Wake Up Before Noon

DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage son just came home from camp, and all he does is sleep. He has been home for a few days now, and literally I cannot get him out of bed until after 12. I know he had a rigorous schedule at camp, but I feel like I am missing out on enjoying time with my boy before school starts up again. Should I be worried? What can I do to entice him to get up? I don’t want to resort to punishment, which is my girlfriend’s strategy. I do want him to get up before midday. -- Wake Up, Cleveland

DEAR WAKE UP: Give your son a week to acclimate to life at home. He is probably grateful to be able to sleep in for a few days. At most camps, children are up and out of their cabins by 7 or 8 a.m. and are “on” all day and into the evening. His body could be in real need of simple rest.

After a week, you can let him know that it is time to get back into a regular routine. Make it clear that you expect him to get up earlier each day. This will ease him back into a school schedule and also give the two of you time to reconnect. Be aware, though, that as a teenager, he will probably wake up wanting to spend more time engaging with his friends than with you. That is normal. Establish a balance by appealing to his heart. Make it clear to him that you miss him and want to spend some time with him.

Read more in: Teens | Health & Safety | Family & Parenting

Reader Feels the Strain of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter has been invited to so many bar and bat mitzvahs that it’s hard to count. I like that her friends want to include her in everything, but it is pretty expensive to go to all of these events. This is not because there is a charge. It’s all the other stuff, starting with new clothes for multiple events. And while there is no expected amount to be given for a gift, it is considered culturally and spiritually appropriate to give money in increments of $18. How can I get my daughter to all of these parties in comfort without going broke? -- Being 13, Westchester, New York

DEAR BEING 13: Your job is to plan it all out. Decide how many dresses you can and will pay for, and let your daughter know she will have to rotate them through the party cycle. Assure her that she will not be the only one wearing a dress more than once. As far as gifts go, do the same. Figure out how many of these events your daughter is likely to attend, to whom she is the closest and what you can afford to give. If you want to stick with the increments of $18, it’s OK to give $18. For those who are close friends, give more if you can. Make sure your daughter writes a lovely card for each mitzvah. Be sure to donate to the charity of a child’s choice if they defer you to a charity rather than a personal gift.

(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: Money | Friends & Neighbors | Family & Parenting | Teens