'Teen Mom' Amber Portwood's 3-Year-Old Is Going to Prison -- Finally!

Amber Portwood Dr. Drew PinskyCan you think of anything more depressing than taking a 3-year-old to prison to visit her mom? That's what Teen Mom star Gary Shirley has on his agenda. Leah, the toddler daughter of Teen Mom Amber Portwood, will finally get to see her mother after months of being told she was "driving a Twinkie truck" (among other lies). It's about darn time!

I know, I said it was depressing. But that doesn't mean Gary and Amber should continue to lie to their toddler for the five years Amber is expected to remain a guest of the Indiana Department of Corrections. As uncomfortable as we all are with the idea of kids inside prisons, it's almost guaranteed to be better for the child in the long run.

Study after study has found that kids who maintain a consistent connection with their incarcerated parent have a better chance of success in the long run. The sadness and confusion over being separated from a beloved parent is lessened by the contact.

Think long and hard about it; tamp down that knee-jerk, "no way in hell would my kid ever see me in a jumpsuit." What do kids need in their lives?

More from The Stir: Sober Amber Portwood Is a Different Person

Consistency, right? That's what visiting Mom in prison will give Leah. After years of being thrown back and forth between Amber and Gary, Dad's decision to take her to visit her Mom means this kid will finally have something that makes sense, a semblance at least, of "normal" -- or as close as she's going to get, considering Mom chose prison over getting clean out in the real world. With the constant supervision of the guards, Amber and Gary won't even be able to squabble the way they always have in front of their daughter. Leah will actually get Mom AND Dad on their best behavior!

If anything, this is the perfect age for this to happen. At 3, Leah is still young enough to accept her parents' explanations of where Mommy is and why, without asking tough questions. As she grows, this will be "normal" to her.

And while Leah's well being should be paramount here, it doesn't hurt that this should help Amber with her rehabilitation. Watching her with Dr. Drew in her behind bars special, she seemed the most lucid and human she's been in years. You could tell that she was completely off the drugs. But there was still a sadness that went much deeper than simply being in prison. This is a girl who wants to be important to someone, who wants to do something right for someone.

Being able to physically mother Leah, even for brief visits, should fill that need in Amber, push her to get through prison, and come out on the other side as a better mom. And that, in the long run, will be good for this little girl too.

What do you think? If you were Gary, would you take Leah to visit her mom in prison?


Image via MTV

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Elena Isabel Kilcullen

Seeing her mom in a prison is better than not seeing her at all...

nonmember avatar lilijane

They should tell her the truth, she'll learn it eventually. Truck drivers see their kids, better she should know that her mom wants to see her but CAN'T, rather than she WON'T. I am glad she'll get to see her. At her age seeing her in a prison won't be as bad as if she were older and understood more.

nonmember avatar Amy

We do not have children to fill the voids in our lives as you are suggesting amber should do with Leah. I agree that they should tell her where her mother really is and as the child of someone who was formerly encarcerated I can say that it is highly inappropriate to take children into prison. Consistency with her parents could also be removing her from her mother who could potentially be the worst example of a mother I have ever seen

femal... femaleMIKE

I used to work in a prison. Our motto was there are more criminals outside of the prison walls.

The child is safer visiting her mother in a correction dept then meeting up with her at some mall.  Security in the viisitng room is tight.

Melissa Greenawalt

I think the best thing for Leah would be for her parents to be truthful with her. I personally would NEVER want my baby to see me behind bars but, I would rather me be in her life than not there at all. Even though she talks to leah on the phone when she can, kids still need their parents to PHYSICALLY be there too. I never liked Amber but, now that she is clean and really trying, I have alot of respect for her now and Im proud of her. Im praying she comes out a better person and mom. God bless her and her baby, Im really rootin for her!!


riadolph riadolph

I've been in this situation with my two young children and taking them to see their father while he was away was the best thing for them, and for me too! Our daughter was born while he was gone, so these visits allowed them to establish the bond that my husband already has with our son. Was it hard, absolutely, but do I think that I did the best thing for them both by taking them to see their daddy, without a doubt!

MomLi... MomLily67

It could be a very important faactor in Amber's rehabilitation, and maybe Gary  is aware of the change in her, so he has decided to take the baby to visit mom.  Hope it all works well.

nonmember avatar guest

absolutely. i had to to take my oldest to see his father in prison, when he was about 2. we drove 8-11 hours one-way to see him. sadly, he's been out for several years, and after i left him, he hasn't bothered to see his children. blames me for that, of course. i was the one who drove 500 miles through 3 states, but of course, it's all my fault.

Amanda Gray Acosta

The real test is when Amber gets out of prison. Yeah she is clean and "trying" right now but she has no other choice but to be clean in prison. If she comes out of prison and actually stays clean and proves she is a changed person then thats when my opinion of her will change. Im glad she got put in jail, it was bound to happen but I hate that Leah is right in the middle of it. You never know this may be a blessing for this family. I really hope this gets her to open her eyes and clean up her act. Leah deserves a better mom than what shes got right now and hopefully prison will help her get one. Amber is missing out on so much of Leah's life right now and if that isnt enough to change her then she doesnt deserve Leah.

Deborah Stephaine Wojtowicz

Yes and and maybe it will give Amber time to realize how importaint it is to change for the better .When she gets out of prison.If not then I hope the dad keeps her away from her mom .

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