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home : columns : dear harriette December 10, 2019

11/1/2019 7:41:00 AM
Family wants to be sensitive with party invitations

DEAR HARRIETTE: My family and I are planning a big birthday celebration for our dad. He is turning 85, and we want to honor him while he is alive. As we have been going over the invitation list, we came to some people who have recently lost their parents. Is it insensitive to invite the surviving adult children of my father's friends who have died this year? We don't want to be rude, but at the same time, we have been close to this family since we were little. It seems wrong to exclude these people. What do you think? -- Invite List

DEAR INVITE LIST: You should include these loved ones on your invitation list. They will decide whether they feel up to joining the celebration. It may be perfect for them to participate in this moment of fellowship when people are connecting and being joyful because someone has reached this milestone. Of course, it won't take away the grief of having lost their own parents. They may have moments at your father's function when they well up with emotion. That's fine.

By all means, extend the invitation to those people. You may want to call them and personally invite them. Let them know that you continue to hold them in your prayers as they mourn the loss of their parents. But make it clear that you hope they will join you.

DEAR HARRIETTE: When I was growing up, I always had some kind of job going back to middle school. I babysat. I helped at my grandpa's deli. I cleaned up at church. I raked leaves. And I got paid -- not much, but something for my work.

I have a teenage son who is so lazy. He doesn't think he should have to do anything that resembles work, even in his own home. Yet he is constantly asking for money -- not lots of it, but pocket change for snacks and other things.

Compared to some of his peers, he seems to be pretty frugal, but I want him to understand the value of working for a dollar. He is old enough to get a work permit, but he is not inspired to do so. I didn't force him to have specific chores when he was younger, and now it's hard to get him to do anything. How can I turn this around? -- Getting Teen Motivated

DEAR GETTING TEEN MOTIVATED: It is not too late to establish responsibilities around an allowance for your teen. If he does not do what you have detailed for him and he no longer gets the pocket change he wants, he will wake up to his role in his own life.

Beyond that, talk to your teen about his future. What does he want for himself? Of course, this can be about long-term goals and short-term goals. Long-term may be about college and career. Short-term can be about having resources to support his teenage lifestyle -- and that requires money. Introduce the idea of finding a job to be able to afford his desires.

(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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