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home : columns : dear harriette January 17, 2019

11/14/2018 8:08:00 AM
Husband doesn't want to pay for kids' college

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband does not believe that our children need to go to college. He didn't, and he has a good job, so he figures they can do the same -- work in a trade. I didn't grow up like that. I was taught that college was a requirement.

While I understand the value of vocational work, I do not want to limit my children's options. My husband is adamant that he doesn't want to pay for the kids to go to college. I can't believe I didn't understand his position on this before we got married. I made assumptions that turned out to be false. How can I support my children when my husband is standing in the way? -- No College, Washington, D.C.

DEAR NO COLLEGE: Start with a heart-to-heart with your husband. Admit that you believed that the two of you were on the same page about education and that you are shocked to learn that he is opposed to college for the children. Ask him to soften his position to at least allow you to encourage the children to do their research as they think about what they want to do with their lives. If their ideas are best served with the support of a college education, ask your husband not to stand in the way. They can look for scholarships and loans to pay for the schooling.

If your children are interested in a vocation, ask your husband to help them pick the best vocational school to get them prepared. Make it clear to your husband that you believe that in today's world, a college education is considered baseline for most industries, and you do not want to hinder your children's success in any way.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just got into a heated argument with a contractor I hired to help me work on a project. We had agreed on clear deadlines, and she missed them all. Each time I addressed it with her, she came up with some crazy excuse. I lost my temper today after her last lame excuse for not getting work done. When I mentioned my frustration with a colleague, I learned that someone else just posted on social media how unprofessional this woman is. Apparently, she has a bad reputation.

Now what do I do? I am not one to raise my voice, but she set me off. I apologized for that. But it doesn't change that she owes me work that I have already paid for. Part of me wants to blast her on social media. Is that wrong of me? -- Getting Back at Her, Boston

DEAR GETTING BACK AT HER: I think of Michelle Obama's mantra: When they go low, we go high. Do your best to stay positive and professional. Avoid the impulse to trash this woman on social media or in any other way. Either get her to complete the work that she was contracted to do, or sue her in small claims court. That will get her attention. Obviously you will not give her a recommendation, but you don't have to join the voices on the internet who are talking about her.

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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