DEAR HARRIETTE: I have rekindled a business relationship that began some 20 years ago. My business partner was excellent back in the day, and I'm excited about the possibility of working with him again now. My concern is that last time we worked very hard on an idea that never really went far. We pitched it to all the right places, but it fell flat.
Now we are tweaking an idea and believe the market will be better for us this time around, but what if it isn't? I don't want to waste this man's time or my own. Do you think we should go for it and see if we can create a moneymaking opportunity? I want to manage expectations. -- Being Realistic, Westchester, New York
DEAR BEING REALISTIC: Before you start down the road of working together, have a frank conversation about the past and the future. Outline what your business relationship will be and clarify expectations on both sides. Acknowledge that neither of you can predict the future. Be sure you both agree that the project you are exploring is worth the effort. Along the way, check in with each other regularly to ensure you are comfortable with the work being done and the results being achieved. Decide on deadlines and clear markers for success or evaluation. As long as you communicate clearly and honestly, you should be OK.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have two teenage children, and I'm worried that I have spoiled them too much. At this age I feel like they should help more around the house, including doing their own laundry and making their beds. I know they have schoolwork to do and the workload is intense, but I see them slacking a lot. For example, when I remind them to wash a load of clothes, they often put it off and then forget while, meantime, I can hear them gabbing on the phone to friends or see them texting away. I don't want to become a police officer at home, but I don't know how to get them to take on household responsibilities without threatening to take away their privileges. -- Do Your Chores, Akron, Ohio
DEAR DO YOUR CHORES: Consequences are essential for teens -- and adults, for that matter -- when you want to reinforce rules. Take your children's phones and other devices away from them until they have completed whatever homework and housework assignments they have. Let them fuss about it. Point out that the sooner they fulfill their responsibilities, the quicker they will have their freedoms. Place a basket at the front door, or in your bedroom if needed, where they can put their phones. Make it clear you are in charge of their release.
Pay close attention to your children's homework and school assignments. Require them to show you their tests and homework scores. Follow up with their teachers whenever you are concerned about their performance. If you remain vigilant, you can help them to remember the importance of doing their work well and on time.