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home : columns : dear harriette February 19, 2020

12/20/2019 7:59:00 AM
Parent wants to protect son while on trip

DEAR HARRIETTE: My 8-year-old son was invited to go skiing with some of his friends from school during winter break. This sounds like a lot of fun -- and scary. My son has never skied before. I'm nervous that his friends, who have been skiing since they were 5, will abandon him.

I want to give my son this opportunity. I have a friendly relationship with his friend's parents. I can reach out to them to learn more about the trip, but I don't know how much these adults can protect him physically or emotionally. How should I handle it? -- Novice Skier

DEAR NOVICE SKIER: You definitely should contact the boy's parents to learn more about the trip and to describe your son's abilities. Let them know that you want your son to be able to join the fun, but you have some reservations about whether he will fit in as the one boy who hasn't skied before. Ask for their insights.

Your son will have to take lessons on the bunny slopes first in order to learn the basics of skiing. He should not be allowed to go on slopes that would be too hard or dangerous for him to manage. There will surely be other people on the bunny slopes. It would be great if the others go with him in the beginning. Find out from the parents if they believe the others will look out for your son. If they think he will be OK, let him try it out. There may be some awkward moments, but chances are, the fun will outweigh the discomfort.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have two adult children, and one still lives at home. He went away to college, but hasn't gotten on his feet yet. He hasn't found a job of any kind for the past two years. When my wife and I point out to him that he should try to get any type of job if he is unable to find what he went to school for, he says that menial work is below him. I had a job at 15 years old. I know he can find something, but he just bums around at home, sad and dejected. How can I get him motivated? -- Up and Out

DEAR UP AND OUT: Give your son an ultimatum, which should provide him with momentum. Tell him he has to pay rent in order to live at home. He would have to pay rent anywhere else he might live. (You can save the rent to give back to him when he gets on his feet, if you like, but don't tell him.) Help him to create a schedule that includes making a certain number of overtures each day to look for a job.

Coach him on work. Remind him that while he is searching for the perfect job, he must find something. He should look to see if there are any last-minute holiday jobs available in your town. Retailers and delivery services usually ramp up during this time of year. If he balks at that, point out that it will get him out there as it also puts a few dollars in his pocket. He needs to work at something in order to keep his confidence up.

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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