DEAR AMY:

I’m a mom of four children. I’ve been divorced for three years. It is in my divorce agreement to pay for half of my children’s extracurricular activities, and there are a lot of them — volleyball in particular. My oldest daughter is amazing at volleyball and she plays on a travel team that costs $4,000 a year. She will probably be offered a scholarship to play for a private/Catholic high school in the area. I have a live-in boyfriend who makes a little more money than I do. He won’t even discuss my oldest going to a private high school because he doesn’t want to spend his life “stressing and being broke” because my kid wants to play volleyball. I don’t want to tell my daughter that she can’t play because I do believe she is good enough to play at the college level, which is her dream. So how do I calm the financial tension with my boyfriend and still give as much as I can to my kids?

— Volleyball Mom

DEAR mom:

This is a question of priorities, and while yours are obviously squarely with your daughter’s success, there is another way to approach this. If your daughter is able to go to a high school that offers the best combination of scholastics and extracurricular activities, you should make every effort to send her to that school. So rather than hedging that her participation in volleyball might earn her a scholarship at a private school, perhaps she could not do travel team and you could save the more than $4,000 a year, put it toward tuition at a great school (also applying for scholarships), and encourage her to go out for the volleyball team at that school.

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