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home : columns : dear harriette May 26, 2016

6/6/2014 11:01:00 AM
Mom wants to protect daughter going in to high school

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is graduating from eighth grade and about to enter high school. I remember what high school was like, and I don't think she's mature enough for those experiences. I don't want her to experiment with drinking or be promiscuous, but I understand it's a part of high school culture. How do I talk to her about all the new situations she will encounter without making myself seem too overbearing? -- Mama Bear, Washington, D.C.  

DEAR MAMA BEAR: I hope that you began talking to your daughter about the ins and outs of growing up long before now. For all parents who are reading, know that you should begin conversations about sex, drugs, drinking and relationships when your kids are in elementary school, well before they are likely to experiment. It is then that you can most easily plant the seeds of your family's values.

That said, I recommend that you sit down and have a candid conversation with your daughter. Ask her about her hopes and dreams for high school. Ask her also what her fears might be. Find out whether any of her friends have experimented with drinking or drugs yet. Does anyone already have a love interest? Talk to her about the fact that these things often come up in high school. Have her tell you how she might react if presented with any of those options. Pledge to her that you will be there for her as she enters this next stage in her life. Let her know that you would like to be able to support her whenever she has a question or a need.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have two kids, ages 13 and 10. When the youngest was born, I stopped working and have been a stay-at-home mom ever since. However, I am extremely bored and unfulfilled. What am I supposed to do, clean the house every day? I want to start working again, but I feel the job market has radically changed since I was last employed. How can I put myself back on the job market and ensure that I am aware of the changes in the workplace that come with time? -- Housewife, Chicago

DEAR HOUSEWIFE: Start by writing a preliminary resume that lists all of the skills you have developed over the years. Include the strategic thinking that comes from being a mom. Consider going to your local unemployment office for support in crafting your resume so that it reflects your strengths in a marketable way.

Think about what you want to do when you re-enter the workforce. Consider volunteering at a business that does what attracts you. Building job experience through volunteerism is an effective means of buoying your skill base. You may also want to take classes in your field of interest so that you can learn whatever is cutting edge in that field. Then, get yourself out there and network. Meet people who work in your field of interest. Go for it!

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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