Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Teenage Daughter Slept Away the Summer

DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage daughter spent every day that she could this summer sleeping. Don’t get me wrong: When she got to go to camp or see a friend to hang out or do pretty much anything fun, she was up and out. But on days that she didn’t have plans, she stayed fast asleep until well into the afternoon.

At first, I let her sleep. I know she had a rigorous school year. But I am worried that she is going to be sluggish at school, given that it took everything I had to get her up to finish her summer assignments and be an active member in our household. What can I do to ensure that she will be an alert and attentive student? -- Sleeping Student, Jersey City, New Jersey

DEAR SLEEPING STUDENT: Think back on her study habits last year. It could be that she just crashed a lot this summer, in part because she could. If she was conscientious before, remind her that this is still your expectation of her now. Teenagers typically need more sleep. Some schools even start their school day later to accommodate drowsy teens.

For your part, talk to your daughter, and remind her of her responsibilities for the school year and at home. Give her specific daily and weekly chores. If she does not complete them because she is napping, take away privileges. Start with her phone, followed by interaction with friends. She will likely alter her patterns quickly.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend invited me to spend time with her and her family at their summer home last month. We went and had a great time. We also brought food with us, as my mom taught me to do. I think we were good guests, but I’m not sure. My friend didn’t seem to like that we had brought food. She told me that she had everything covered. We just wanted to contribute to the experience. Should I say something to her? We talk a lot. I would hate for her to have been offended by something that I thought would make her happy. -- Flustered Houseguest, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR FLUSTERED HOUSEGUEST: You may want to send your friend a thank-you note. This is a common action after enjoying time at someone’s summer home. In your note, you can thank your friend for the time you had together. Tell her how much you enjoyed being in her home. You can add that you hope she wasn’t offended by the food you brought. Tell her the truth: Your mother told you never to arrive at someone’s home empty-handed. Close with an acknowledgment of your gratitude for having been invited.

If you are invited again, just bring her a hostess gift, a small memento that she may enjoy -- anything from flowers to a candle, a book or something else you think she or her guests may appreciate. FYI: Many people love when guests bring food items, especially fruit or pre-made desserts.

(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.)