Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Growing Kids Want To Change Bedtime

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a question about bedtimes. My kids have always had a bedtime that is relatively early because I want to make sure that they get enough rest and are sharp the next day. Now that they are a little older -- eighth grade twins -- they are fighting me about staying up late. They want to go from a 9:30 p.m. bedtime to no curfew, especially on weekends. I am willing to budge a bit, but taking away the curfew entirely doesn’t seem to be a smart solution. What do you think? -- New Curfew

DEAR NEW CURFEW: Your children are at an age when they are beginning to learn independence. You can let up some and give them space to test their limits a bit. Decide on a time that will be lights out for the household for weeknights. Maybe that’s an hour later. Check on them once to see if they have settled, but stop being a monitor. If they struggle to get up or to focus on their work, remind them that they need enough rest. Pay attention to their studies and their grades. Even if they slip up a little, don’t get too strict immediately. Give them the chance to have some agency in their decision-making, which will allow them to notice what happens if they deprive themselves of the proper rest that they need to function.

On the weekends, consider allowing them no curfew for Friday and Saturday. Let them see how they manage their time. It is important for them to figure out how to listen to their own body clocks. This is a step in that direction.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I made a commitment to connect with loved ones at least once a month this year after two of my friends passed away in 2019. We had spoken on the phone occasionally, but that’s not the same thing as seeing them in person. I loved my friends, and I realize that I just didn’t make enough time for them. I hate that I wasn’t more responsive when these friends reached out.

As I try to organize visits with my remaining friends, I have found that some people don’t share my enthusiasm. They barely want to talk and have no interest in a face-to-face meeting, even though I said I would come to them. How can I stay positive when others don’t share my view? Oddly, I feel like some of them are doing exactly what I did with the friends who are now gone. -- Reconnecting

DEAR RECONNECTING: Your idea is a great one, but you have to accept that not everybody shares your vision for connection. Instead of getting discouraged or angry, focus on the friends who agree to get together. Pace yourself, too. Your sense of urgency is great in that it is propelling you to take action, but be mindful of how you engage your friends. If they sense desperation or panic from you, your invitation may not seem as appealing. Chart out who you want to see, and extend invitations each month. Accept that you may not reconnect with everyone, but you are giving it your best effort.

(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.)