Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend Expects Immediate Repose, Doesn't Reciprocate

DEAR HARRIETTE: My son has been getting all A’s in school, and we are proud of him. Last week, he texted me to say that he had failed a quiz. We were all shocked, including him. When we talked about it, we realized that he had been busy the weekend before and hadn’t applied himself the way he should have. I’m sure he didn’t imagine that he would fail his quiz, but it was a wake-up call. What can I do to reinforce that he has to manage school and fun better? I want him to have a well-balanced life, but failure is not an option. -- Striking a Balance

DEAR STRIKING A BALANCE: As hard as it seems today, this failing grade may be the best wake-up call for your son. First, he sees for sure that he isn’t automatically a straight-A student. He has to work hard to keep up his grades. Second, since he can see the direct result of too much play, he now knows that he cannot do that again without risking failing again. Your job is to help him make smarter decisions. Allow him to have fun with his friends after he has completed his studies, whatever they are.

(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.)