Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Young Employees Not Working Hard Enough

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m the mother of 17- and 20-year-old sons who’ve both gone through non-bathing phases. I agree wholeheartedly with the mother of the 22-year-old who suggested not pushing the issue too much because it could tip him over to suicide. Our oldest lost his best friend to suicide his senior year. Being a teenager is rough in ordinary times, but now they are really struggling. Bathing may be one of the few things he can control in a world that feels out of control. Not bathing won’t kill him. Eventually he’ll come around. In the meantime, let him make his own decisions about his body. -- Another Parent of Teens

DEAR ANOTHER PARENT OF TEENS: I am so very sorry for your loss. Teen suicide is a real issue in our community, something we must all take seriously. Of course, bathing or not doesn’t hold a candle to the much bigger issue of mental health.

Emotions are running high for many people during this elongated period of sheltering at home. I have heard from many families who are trying to figure out how to support their children, particularly teenagers, during this time. I know the restrictions that my own teenage daughter now has to endure are the exact opposite of the freedoms we once allowed her. As a blossoming young adult, she was able to go out and be with her friends -- with appropriate curfew considerations -- but that has ended due to COVID-19, at least for now.

I agree that we need to listen carefully and closely to our children and do all that we can to keep them mentally, spiritually and physically healthy during this time.

(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.)

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