Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Teen Daughter Sleeps Her Summer Away

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter has been out of school for four weeks now, and she sleeps past noon each day. At first I was OK with it. She worked hard in school this year, and I felt she had earned the right to rest; now I think it’s time for her to get up and participate in life. By that I mean she needs to clean her room, do her chores, read the books she was assigned over the summer and even see her friends. Should I be worried that all she wants to do is sleep? She’s 14 years old. -- Sleeping Beauty, Washington, D.C.

DEAR SLEEPING BEAUTY: Teens are known to relish sleeping late, so know that your daughter is not unusual! She may be growing, too. Often, children have growth spurts as they sleep. To be sure that she’s healthy, schedule a checkup with her physician. Let the doctor know what your concerns are, and ask for wisdom and advice.

If your doctor gives your daughter a clean bill of health, it’s then time for you to watch your daughter and see when she goes to sleep. Many kids stay up late texting, SnapChatting or playing videogames well after parents are sleeping. If that's the case, establish summer sleeping rules as well as activity rosters. To get your daughter to follow your regimen, you may have to take away a privilege. The cellphone or computer would be at the top of my list.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a neighbor who is a serious name-dropper. She works in the hospitality business, so she comes in contact with celebrities and other notable people all the time. I used to be humored by her stories of different A-listers and what they do when they come to her hotel, but it’s getting old now. I don’t care about these people, and I don’t like to gossip.

Usually, she talks about their personal lives. She says who they had visit them at their hotel, what food they ordered, if they got drunk -- all kinds of stuff that the National Enquirer might like, but I don’t. How can I get her to stop with the stories? -- Nauseating Neighbor, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR NAUSEATING NEIGHBOR: Your neighbor is caught up in the glamour of celebrity at what might otherwise be a boring job. This is how she finds her joy. She sounds harmless, though annoying. Instead of cutting her off entirely, do you have the space to listen briefly and keep it moving? You don’t need to participate in the conversation, but manage it instead. When she starts in with a story, let her know you have only a moment because you have to go. Be pleasant but firm that your time is limited.

If your friend goes into detail about people that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can tell her that you would prefer that she not share gossip or personal details. Tell her you know that she is fascinated by these people’s lives, but you feel uncomfortable learning personal things about them. You may have to remind her of where you draw the line, but you can manage how much she shares with you and remain pleasant at the same 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.)