DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a father of three. My children are all grown up now: Two of them are in college, and one is in medical school. Since they graduated from high school and moved out of the house, I have become distant from all of them. I don’t think there is a specific reason this happened, just the fact that they have their own lives now.
How can I reconnect with my kids? I try to speak with them as often as I can, and I always send them gifts on their birthdays or holidays, but I miss the relationships I used to have with all three of them. -- Lonely Father, Memphis, Tennessee
DEAR LONELY FATHER: Start by telling your children that you miss them. Suggest that you set up weekly calls via Skype or FaceTime where you can see and talk to them. The calls can be brief but meaningful if you establish them as a routine. Invite your children to come to dinner or to visit a few times a year.
Young people who are building their lives are often busy, and time can slip by without them realizing that they haven’t connected with their family. Gentle reminders from you may help. Don’t try to make them feel guilty, though. Just let them know you miss them and want to be in touch more often.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a 4-year-old daughter. Last week, my husband and I had a conversation about getting her ears pierced. My mother had my ears pierced when I was about 2 years old. She wanted me to wear earrings when I was young, and thought it would be better to get it done when I wouldn’t remember the pain. I feel the same way with my daughter. My husband, on the other hand, is against getting my daughter’s ears pierced because of how young she is. What should I do? -- Toddler Ear Piercing, Raleigh, North Carolina
DEAR TODDLER EAR PIERCING: What’s most important is for you and your husband to agree. There is no need to have a knock-down-drag-out fight over ear piercing. I got my daughter’s ears pierced before she was 1 year old for the same reasons you mentioned. As it turned out, her ears got infected constantly, so she couldn’t wear earrings until she was a teenager. Some parents make ear piercing a coming-of-age ritual. You could wait until she is 13 or 16, when it will be meaningful for her and she can tend to her own ears. Whatever you decide, make it a joint decision. Trust me, this isn’t worth you and your husband being upset about for years on end.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)