Life Advice



Ask Amy: Mother frets over monstrous middle name

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My 24-year-old daughter is expecting a baby boy.

She told me that she plans to use her biological dad's name as her baby's middle name.

Her dad, "Tobias," and I divorced when she was six and her brother was four. At the time, the literature advised divorced parents to never say anything unkind about one's ex. Thus, I did not tell my daughter how horribly I was abused, both physically and verbally, his serial adultery, as well as his alcohol and cocaine use that drove us to near bankruptcy.

He mercilessly targeted me, but never harmed our children.

After lots of therapy I still cringe when I hear his name.

My daughter has a good relationship with her father. I’m happy about this, but I can hardly bear the thought that an innocent baby will have the name of a person I consider to be a monster.


On the one hand I want to tell my daughter about her dad so she can pick another middle name. On the other hand, I worry that I would selfishly evoke unwelcome turmoil and think I should remain quiet.

Your thoughts?

– K

Dear K: Protecting a child’s regard for her father while she is young is the right thing to do – as long as you know that the child is safe.


swipe to next page




Andy Capp BC John Cole Fowl Language For Better or For Worse Jimmy Margulies