Life Advice



Ask Amy: Mom wants to keep news of first child a secret

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Alas, I cannot answer your question for you. Yes, I do believe your children have the right to know about a sibling. Not knowing anything about you – or them – I’d like to think that your children might be shocked but would ultimately be very understanding about this long-ago choice.

The child you gave birth to might also be searching for his own biological relatives.

Yes, you have the legal right to deny him this knowledge, but – should you?

I do know this: The ubiquity of household DNA testing kits is forcing a lot of stories like yours out into the open. A simple dab of spit can reveal all.

You can either try to control the narrative now or deal with family members down the road who would be shocked by the story, and also dismayed by your silence.

Like that long-ago choice you made, this one won’t be easy – but maybe you’ll choose a brave uncertainty over peace and quiet. It really is up to you.


A counselor would help you to sort out your thinking, and also find the right words to say.

Dear Amy: My brother is a widower and a single dad. His wife died two years ago due to cancer and he is raising his nine-year-old daughter.

He is now starting to date again, and met a nice girl on a trip to another country. Even though they don’t live in the same place he is very invested in the relationship with his girlfriend. Whenever he is not working, he talks with her over the phone and video calls.

I’m very happy for him but now due to this, my niece is complaining that my brother is not given her any time. She says he spends day and night on the phone and is not spending time with her.


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