DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m going into high school now, and my parents still won’t let me have my own social media account: no TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter or Instagram. They think it’s bad for me and unsafe. Although I agree in some respects, I feel like I’m getting old enough that I should be able to have social media and act responsibly. Every time I try to approach the topic with my parents, they shut it down. How do I open the dialogue? — Social Media Toxicity
DEAR SOCIAL MEDIA TOXICITY: Point out to your parents that as you are growing up, you want and need to know what your peers are doing. Right now, you feel like an outsider. You also understand that your parents are concerned about you becoming obsessed or harmed by content on social media. Tell them that you need to learn how to manage all of that information. Ask them again if you can get accounts as long as you promise to let them see what you are seeing and limit your time engaging them. Suggest that they get their own accounts so that they can see for themselves what other kids are saying and doing.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My aunt and grandparents live across the country, and I’ve visited them every year since I was a child. I’m an adult now, and I still love visiting them whenever I can. These past few visits, I’ve noticed something that perhaps I didn’t notice when I was younger: They don’t do much to accommodate me when I come to visit them. I was there for five days, and nobody asked me once what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go or even what I wanted to eat. We did whatever they wanted to do the entire time. They even went to lunch without me one day while I was busy working! Should I say something about this to them? I had a nice time, but it would have been nicer if I felt like they might have accommodated me at least a little bit. — Visiting Family
DEAR VISITING FAMILY: Sounds like it’s time for you to be more proactive. While it would be nice for them to ask you what you want to do, perhaps you should suggest things that interest you. Do some research and make recommendations. They have their routines, and they may not even realize that they didn’t take your presence into account.
Regarding them going to lunch while you were working — if you actually had to work, you can’t be mad at them for living their lives. In the past when you visited, you probably were fully on vacation. Before the pandemic, people didn’t work from home the way they do now. You can’t expect them to stay at home not engaging with you if you were on a work schedule. Hopefully there was food at home for you to eat.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.