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SENSE & SENSITIVITY, A COLUMN BY HARRIETTE COLE

To drive or not to drive?

Ask wife why she thinks only husband should be behind wheel.

Friday, January 25, 2013 - 8:10 am

Q.: I talked to my wife a few weeks ago about purchasing a car for our family. We have a 6-year-old girl and a 7-month-old son. My wife likes the idea of purchasing a new car, but she does not want to drive. When I asked why, she said, “Men and not women should chauffeur their family.”

I love my wife, but she can be really stubborn with her independent thoughts. I want to make my wife's life easier when I'm working late or out of town. Please tell my wife about the freedom of driving. –Family Man, Brooklyn, N.Y.

A.: I don't necessarily think of your wife's comment as an independent thought. Her idea that she should not drive sounds particularly old-school. I wonder what lies beneath her comment. It could be that she truly does believe that women shouldn't drive, or at least that wives shouldn't.

More likely, she has a fear of driving. If she hasn't driven before (which is common for New Yorkers who don't need a car to get around), she may feel unsure of her driving ability and skittish about getting behind the wheel with her children.

Probe a bit to find out what the real issue is. If she is nervous about driving, giving her a car may not be a viable option.

Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or C/O Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.