Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Daughter Wants to Talk to Dad About More Than Money

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.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have decided to travel to my college in a couple of weeks to attend an important fundraiser. I am super excited about it because the cause means a lot to me, and I get to spend time with my friends. I have been debating how I should get there. Last time I drove myself, but the drive got lonely. There is a bus, which I don’t mind, but there is always a chance of it breaking down. And then there is the option to fly, which is the quickest and easiest option, but is a little pricier. Do you have any recommendations or advice on which mode of transportation I should take? -- Weekend Traveler, Philadelphia

DEAR WEEKEND TRAVELER: Good for you for wanting to go to visit your school for a worthy cause. How do you figure out the best mode of transportation? Be practical. Drive only if you can find someone to ride with you. If you do find a passenger, be sure to get the person to agree to share the cost of gas and tolls. Buses don’t usually break down -- although it is possible. Compare the bus to the plane and examine your budget. If you can afford a plane, go for it. Otherwise, schedule your bus trip in enough time to accommodate for delays.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)