Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Teen Daughter Takes a Nap Every Day After School

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is an A-student in her high school. She is conscientious about her work, and she helps a little bit around the house. In general, I think she is doing a good job. My concern is that this semester she comes home from school and wants to take a nap for at least an hour before starting her homework. She does get up and complete her work, but it worries me that she naps virtually every day. The only days she doesn’t nap are when she has her after-school clubs. If I want her to do her chores, which are minimal, she claims she’s tired. How do I reconcile letting her nap and making sure she has a well-balanced life? I think that studies, rest and responsibilities at home are all important. -- Napping Teen

DEAR NAPPING TEEN: Taking a nap before doing homework may be a great idea in that it gives your daughter a refresh from her full day at school. This could even be a contributor to her doing so well in school. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens do need more sleep than adults. It’s best for them to have eight to 10 hours of sleep per night, but because of homework and other factors, they often sleep less. Taking a brief nap after school is considered to be an effective way for teens to fortify themselves. So, yes, your daughter’s nap is likely beneficial to her.

That doesn’t mean that she should get a pass on household chores. Since she is doing so well in school, create a chore schedule for her that is complementary to her overall schedule without taking too much time from her studies. Make sure she knows that chores are requirements, too.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My birthday is coming up, and I had the thought that I would have a small party. When I started to make a list, I realized that my life is pretty closed off these days. I can easily make a big event with people I know professionally, but when it comes to an intimate group of friends, I come up short. It’s making me feel sad that I don’t spend enough time with loved ones and I can’t even figure out who they are. Should I forgo the party? How can I figure out who my true friends are? -- Feeling Lonely

DEAR FEELING LONELY: Assessing the quality of your friendships is something you should probably do one-on-one over time. That evaluation requires spending time with folks.

For a celebratory get-together, it doesn’t have to be that deep. Make two lists -- one that includes professional and peripheral friends; the other that includes family and others that you call on in times of need. Examine your lists and choose who you would like to share your birthday with. It’s fine for that group to be a mix of both lists. On your special day, choose people you believe will be happy to celebrate you.

Separately, dig deeper to determine who deserves to be in your inner circle.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)