Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Parent Wants to Make Sure Kids Vote

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have two children who are of voting age. I have been teaching them about the importance of voting since they were little. I believe my kids will vote in the primaries, but I worry about them and their friends. Kids these days seem so apathetic. How can I inspire my children and their friend group to take the midterms seriously? We need young people to wake up and participate in the political process. If I am too heavy-handed, they will ignore me. How can I get them to take action? -- Go to the Polls, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR GO TO THE POLLS: Encourage your children to volunteer around the election. Suggest that they gather a group of friends and offer to help people in a retirement home get to the polls on Election Day. Talk about other ideas that include them being of service to others to make sure that their voices are heard. Or you can suggest that they call up their friends and make a “date” to go vote and then hang out after. Ask them what they can do to make it fun. As you do this, remind them -- without being too pushy -- that their future lies in the hands of whoever wins the election on Nov. 6. They owe it to themselves to make sure their voice counts.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Holidays & Celebrations | Friends & Neighbors

Anxiety Causes Reader to Bite Nails

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been nervous about everything over the past year. I find it hard to sleep at night. Recently, without even realizing it, I have started to bite my nails in my sleep. It’s totally weird. I never bit my nails as a child. But as a mature adult, I have awakened a couple of times with half my nails chewed up, and I had no memory of it. I feel like I’m of out of control. What do you recommend I do to get ahold of this? My hands look crazy, but more than how they look is the fact that I can’t remember biting my nails. -- Figure It Out, Detroit

DEAR FIGURE IT OUT: Think about the stress that you are facing these days. Make a written list of the things that are bothering you, and pay particular attention to anything that seems new or amplified. Have there been changes in your work? Your home life? Friendships? Health? Finances? You say it’s been happening over the course of this year. Your job is to single out what is making this year different from others.

Armed with that information, get a physical. Talk to your doctor about what’s been happening with you, and ask for guidance. Be specific when you share your personal evaluation of your life this year. The more you tell the doctor, the better able he or she will be to get you the help you need. You may be referred to a mental health professional who can help you sort through your feelings and come to some resolution that will calm you.

Also consider meditation, deep breathing, going to bed earlier and surrounding yourself with positive people.

(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: Mental Health | Miscellaneous