Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Teenage Kids Refuse to Wear Jackets

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have the hardest time trying to get my teenage daughter and son to wear a jacket when the weather turns cold. For some reason, these young people are averse to jackets and coats, even when it’s really cool outside. I know it is my responsibility to protect my children, but I honestly don’t know what to do to get them to dress properly without getting into an argument in the morning. -- Stay Warm, Chicago

DEAR STAY WARM: Teenagers do seem to be allergic to coats! As autumn settles in, your job is to get creative so that they can stay healthy and warm. Layering is key. Now that there are so many high-tech fibers that can keep you warm, look for undershirts and turtlenecks that keep the warmth in. Look for extremely lightweight jackets made out of insulated materials that double as heat magnets. After you get these items, let your teens know that they must wear them. Consequence could be taking away their phones or electronic devices. That usually works.

DEAR HARRIETTE: When I was growing up, my parents made me go to my auntie’s house almost every weekend to help her with chores and other things that were hard for her because she was old. I didn’t like this at first, but I grew to enjoy the time with my auntie. I have tried to do the same with my son and his grandfather. They aren’t particularly close, and I want them to know each other better before my father leaves us. My son is grouchy about it and says he wants to hang with his friends. How can I get him to see the value of spending this time with his grandfather? -- Making Time for Elders, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MAKING TIME FOR ELDERS: I love the idea of getting children together with the elders in their families. And, yes, it can be hard to do. Your job is to inspire your son to want to learn more about his grandfather. You can start by telling him stories that you recall. Then encourage him to ask questions when he goes to visit. Make it clear that the visits are not optional, but that he can make great use out of the conversations if he becomes the family sleuth. Suggest that he learn as much as he can about his grandfather. He may even want to interview him using his smartphone. If he has a purpose, this may help him to be more engaged.

You can also create a schedule for your son that includes visiting his grandfather and spending time with friends. You don’t want it to seem like a punishment when he spends time with his grandfather. Make it seem like the privilege that it is. This should inspire him to look forward to his visits.

(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.)