Sense & Sensitivity

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am about to have my wedding anniversary. My husband and I have been married more than 20 years, so we are not in need of a fuss to acknowledge our anniversary. It does bother me a little, though, that my husband was asked to go away for work on our anniversary weekend. This means that we will not be together on the day or even the extended weekend that follows. Worse still, he didn’t ask me what I thought about it. He just accepted the assignment and informed me that he would not be around. We do need the money, but I still feel uncomfortable about how this was handled. What can I do? -- Missed Anniversary

DEAR MISSED ANNIVERSARY: Rather than allowing yourself to get sad or angry because your husband will be away on your actual anniversary, talk to him about planning something special either before or after he goes away. You can create a lovely activity that you both will cherish without spending much money or time. Yes, you have been together long enough to not have to create a big acknowledgment. But remember that it is a blessing and a sign of commitment to your union that you have reached this moment in your lives together. Mark it with something noteworthy that you do together.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a fairly strict parent about schoolwork and social life, but I haven’t been so strict about bedtime. My daughter is now 15 years old, and she hardly ever goes to sleep before 11 p.m. The problem is that she has to wake up at 6 a.m. She is not getting enough sleep.

I have been trying to reinforce earlier sleeping hours, but I feel like it’s too late. On the weekends, she sleeps like 10 hours, but I still think she should go to bed earlier on school nights. How can I get her to do that? -- Teenage Bedtime

DEAR TEENAGE BEDTIME: It can be challenging to get a teenager to follow directions, even when they are part of the daily routine. Imposing bedtime on a teen can be a huge challenge, but it is not insurmountable. Use logic and boundaries to support your decision. Tell your daughter why you want her to go to sleep earlier -- her health and her mental well-being. Offer her incentives for the earlier bedtime, like if she goes to sleep earlier, studies longer and does better in her classes, she gets a reward. Pick something she values.

Then, to enforce the new bedtime, take away electronic devices and turn off the lights at whatever time you want your daughter to go to sleep. Make sure that there are no electronics in her room that could prove to be a distraction. You will likely need to go to sleep at the same time in order to keep your home quiet and so that your daughter knows that you mean business.

(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.)

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