Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Son Tired of Elderly Mom's Blame Game

DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister feels excluded from our family. She has her own place now quite a distance away. Simple things like going to see a movie without her will make her upset. While I can understand this, I feel that it is not always feasible to try and plan everyday activities with her when we don’t live near each other. When we go out, it is often a spur-of-the-moment decision, and with our distance, it would not make sense to invite her. How can I get my sister to see we are not purposely leaving her out? -- Disconnected

DEAR DISCONNECTED: Assure your sister of how much you and your family love her and that you miss having her around all the time. Remind her that she is the one who moved away from home -- not all of you. Be direct and tell her that you are sorry, but it is not possible or practical for you to invite her to every activity that you and your other family members do together. She lost that privilege when she moved. This may be hard for her at first, but she has to accept responsibility for her choices. Let her know that you enjoy spending time with her whenever she comes home, but you cannot revolve your family interactions around her schedule. Next time she gets perturbed because she was not part of an experience, ignore her reaction.

(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.)