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home : columns : dear harriette August 20, 2017

7/21/2017 8:25:00 AM
Reader questions whether to tell on sister

DEAR HARRIETTE: My little sister has been pretending to take her ADD medication by half swallowing it as she walks out the door in front of my mom and coughing it up as she walks to the bus to go to school. I have seen her do this over a dozen times out the window, so I know it's not a one-time thing. Should I tell my parents about what I'm seeing? She has gotten bad reports at school, and they think this medication will help her. -- Sip and Swallow, Milwaukee

DEAR SIP AND SWALLOW: This is one of the few times that I am going to recommend that you "tell on" your sister. You absolutely should tell your parents what you have observed so that they can support your sister in getting on track. If she has been diagnosed with ADD and is receiving medication, her medical doctor and your parents believe it is necessary.  

As her sister, you may also want to speak to her directly and tell her that you have seen her spit out her pills. Ask her why she refuses to take them, and do your best to find out what's going on with her at school. Don't try to tell her what to do, as that won't work. But with great compassion, let her know that you care about her and want her to be healthy and to do well in school.  

When your parents confront her, know that she will be angry that you revealed her behavior. Let her know that you told them because you love her and want the best for her.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been a vegan since high school with no intention of stopping. My fiance, however, is an avid meat, dairy and egg eater. I don't care about what he chooses to put into his body, but we have been fighting about food preparation recently. "Alan" hates the plant-based lifestyle, and gripes that I won't just cook him a steak. I tell him he has the complete green light to go to the store, buy himself a steak and cook it. Since Alan doesn't want to do the food shopping or cooking, I tell him to suck it up or start being proactive. Is this too harsh? We've been fighting about this for over a year. -- Sticking to My Plants, Greenwich, Connecticut

DEAR STICKING TO MY PLANTS: If you and Alan are to be married, you two need to work this out. Would you be willing to cook all of the meals if he were to become vegan? If so, that means you are putting your foot down simply because he chooses to eat differently than you. That may not be the best way to start your marriage.  

If your intention is to be the primary cook, you may want to learn how to cook a few meat dishes. By giving in a little, you can create space for the two of you to grow together. You may be able to introduce some of your favorite foods to him and get him to eat less meat over time, too!

(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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