Life Advice



Ask Amy: Atheist worries about ‘thoughts and prayers’

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

My husband and I have brought it to the attention of the in-laws, but they shake it off and say I should just join them and let kids be kids.

Am I wrong to think that young children should have an adult (or responsible teen) watching over them when at family gatherings?

I love our nieces and nephews, but it gives me stress to see them acting out of control or getting into dangerous situations.

– Stressed Aunt

Dear Stressed: Young children are extra-vulnerable when visiting others’ homes, because of the exact dynamic you describe: Lots of kids of varying ages, unfamiliar hazards, and inattentive elders who are drinking and distracted.

Yes, at least one adult or responsible person should definitely keep an eye on the children.

I would react the way you do – nervously surveilling the scene and leaping up. Perhaps instead of physically intervening you could notify a parent: “Brandon seems very close to the lake. Do you see him?”

Dear Amy: “What is Fair” seemed unduly worried about how to distribute gifts to family members who have different numbers of children.


I liked your suggestion to give “family gifts,” such as memberships or experiences.

We have started doing this and honestly – it cuts down on the amount of “stuff,” while offering families opportunities to try new things.

– All’s Fair

Dear Fair: I’ve been doing this, too.


(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.)

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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