DEAR HARRIETTE: I used to have a great relationship with my dad. Now, we barely speak. When we do speak, it is about money or something to do with my mother. (They have been divorced for several years now.) I am still in college, and my dad pays for part of my education. I am so sick and tired of that being all we talk about that I have decided not to answer my dad’s texts anymore. I’m not sure if this is the best or right decision because it can be seen as immature, but I don’t know what else to do. Do you think there is another way I could reconnect with my father without arguing about finances? -- Muted Daughter, Dallas
DEAR MUTED DAUGHTER: One way to get your father’s attention is to write him a sincere letter. Tell him that you try to understand his relationship with your mother, but that you don’t want to be in the middle of it. Acknowledge that you appreciate the fact that your father is helping to pay for your education. Make it clear that you understand that it is a sacrifice for him to take care of you. Yes, it is his duty as your father to support you, but that does not require paying for college. More, you want him to understand that you are grateful for whatever he does for you. Your gratitude may help to soften his communication.
In your letter, remind him of things you used to enjoy doing together or discussing. Tell him that you miss or desire a particular type of interaction that he will recall. Ask him to make the effort -- along with you -- to build a close bond as you grow up. Be kind in your note, not brittle. Your positive attitude may inspire him to step up.