DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage daughter confessed to me that she called the police to shut down a party in our town. She knew other kids in her grade were invited to this shindig and she wasn't, so she called the police to make sure nobody had fun on a Saturday night.
Honestly, I am disappointed in her. I know being excluded hurts, but I never thought my own daughter would turn into the town rat. What can I say to her so she understands I feel bad for her but don't think this is the way to make friends? -- Don't Squeal, Bronxville, New York
DEAR DON'T SQUEAL: Your daughter knows that her call to the police will not make friends. She is way past that point right now. She feels hurt and angry, and she came up with an effective way of retaliating against the other teens. This certainly is not a wise action. It is completely selfish and mean-spirited.
To get her to see that doing such a thing will only make life worse for her, you must appeal to her interests. What does she like to do? Who would she like to hang out with? What stands in her way?
Sometimes the reason that teens reject one of their classmates has to do with the behavior of that person. If there is something your daughter should do to temper her interactions with these desired friends, you can talk to her about that. What you don't want to do is encourage her to be anything but herself. This may mean that she needs to cultivate a new friend group. You can help her with that by enrolling her in extracurricular activities that require her to meet new people.
As far as addressing the call to the police, ask her to imagine how she would feel if someone did that to her.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My friends constantly lament about how their beach bodies are not ready and they don't know why. They are heavy drinkers, and with heavy drinking comes heavy eating. I try to limit my alcohol consumption so I don't end up hung over and to avoid the calories, but these lessons seem lost on my friends.
Is it my responsibility to try to steer them away from food when they are drunk? They constantly tell me not to "let them" eat while drunk, but I feel as though it is inevitable. -- Booze and Bikinis, Morristown, New Jersey
DEAR BOOZE AND BIKINIS: You are not responsible for your friends' alcohol consumption or for their calorie intake. Because you obviously care about them, you may want to tell them, at a time when they are sober, that they are killing their chances to meet their beach-body goal.
When they ask why, remind them that alcohol is highly caloric and so is binge eating, and they are doing both on a regular basis. Point out that it is their choice what kind of bodies they will have in a few weeks.
(Harriette Cole is a life stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)