Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader’s Vandalized Apartment Causes Concern

DEAR HARRIETTE: For the past few weeks, my apartment has been the focus of somebody’s wrath. Someone has been running up to my door and crashing into it. The sound is frightening, but I have yet to see who’s doing it. By the time I get to the door, the person is long gone, and we don’t have security cameras. Recently, someone spray-painted my door, and on another occasion, someone sprayed what looked like fire extinguisher fluid all over it.

I am getting a security camera to see if I can catch the person. Meanwhile, I thought it was a guy in my building who is always lurking around. I had a neighbor speak to his mother, and he came down to tell me that he hasn’t done anything. I feel bad if I have accused the wrong person, but I don’t know what to do. I do know for a fact that this young man has harassed other neighbors. So I’m not sure if he is telling the truth. -- Vandalized

DEAR VANDALIZED: It’s good that you are getting a security camera. Now you will be able to see firsthand who the culprit is if he or she does it again. Keep your eyes open. Be extra-vigilant when you go outside. If someone is targeting you, it’s important to pay attention to everything and everyone around you. You should call the police and report the incidents as well. But without evidence of who may be doing it, the police will not be able to help you very much.

Read more in: Health & Safety

DEAR HARRIETTE: I want to share my two cents with the reader who was upset that her son wasn’t bathing much. You had suggested taking away electronics, but I’d argue that the current generation is not like we were in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Back then, my son would shrug and not care. Now, cutting him off from his support network -- if he has one -- might be just the thing to tip him over to suicide. Have a conversation. Ask nicely. Ask if something is wrong. Talk about the current situation. Ask if he would like to go anywhere and what you can do. Explain that you all live together, and it would be considerate for him to be clean. Find out if there is something he would like -- less tofu for dinner (for example) -- where you can compromise.

Strongarm techniques don't work on 3-year-olds, and they don't work on older kids either. You don't motivate someone by punishing them. You find something they want and inspire them to get there. -- Mother of a 22-Year-Old

DEAR MOTHER OF A 22-YEAR-OLD: You have said a lot of things. I will add that talking to your family members, of all ages, during this time of quarantine is essential. It is tough to be cooped up at home, and both habits and behaviors can be extreme during this time. Communicate.

(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.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting