Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Girlfriend's Mom Makes Guests Take Off Shoes

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is a good student and a sweet girl. Her friends do OK in school, but not as well as she does. She has become uncomfortable talking to her friends about schoolwork. She says she doesn’t want to tell them her grades because she doesn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. I agree that she doesn’t have to talk about her grades, but I want her to feel proud of her accomplishments and continue to strive to do her best. How can I encourage her while helping her keep her friends? -- Encouraging My Daughter

DEAR ENCOURAGING MY DAUGHTER: Your daughter is wise not to brag about her grades or share them with her friends. To remain close to them without being either competitive or braggy, she should continue to do her best work and keep her scores to herself. This is a practice that some progressive schools employ with the intention of having children compete against themselves rather than others. It is worthy of your daughter’s consideration.

Your job is to remind your daughter that you support her. Reinforce her practice of keeping her grades to herself while you remind her that she is smart and that this is important for her future. When her friends ask about grades, she can deflect and say she did her best and she hopes they did, too. She can offer to tutor them in subjects that she is excellent in -- if it feels right. Otherwise, she can simply continue to be their friend and count that as enough.

(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.)