Life Advice



Ask Amy: Non-vaxxed neighbor considers options

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Your suggestions?

– Concerned

Dear Concerned: I agree that this child is too young to visit her father in prison. I disagree, to some extent, regarding phone calls. Depending on the context and on the father’s ability to communicate appropriately with his daughter, monitored phone or video calls should be considered.

The child’s father should be encouraged to write to his daughter, and – once the mother has vetted his communication – the daughter can write back.

Not knowing the context, backstory, or personalities of any of the people involved, I mainly note that this child’s mother is the custodial parent, and it is her duty to always make choices in the child’s best interests. If she decides that no-contact with “W” is best for her child for the next few months, then “W’s” family members must respect that.

Studies show that having an incarcerated parent can have a profound impact on a child’s physical and mental health.

Your granddaughter should research the impact of incarceration on families. She is mistaken that she can’t afford a counselor. Licensed social workers are eminently qualified to work with this family, and by making some phone calls, she can get low or no-cost help. has a wealth of information for families of those incarcerated. A film featuring four young people reflecting on their experience with an incarcerated parent is both illuminating and heartbreaking. (


Dear Amy: I’m laughing about your issue with the use of the term “maiden name.”

Aren’t there bigger fish to fry? Some women, such as my daughter, took her husband’s last name when they got married, so if she’s filling out any legal paperwork, it will ask for her maiden name. What’s the issue?

– A Reader

Dear Reader: “Maiden" as a term refers – or implies a reference — to a woman's presumed “maidenhood,” or virginity. Some women really don't want our surnames characterized that way.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2022 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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