Raising Children with a Parent in Prison

Children are particularly vulnerable to suffering, given their limited ability to process legal maneuvers or assess the actions of a parent in an unbiased manner.

Children need to be informed and helped to process their own thoughts and feelings at an age-appropriate level. Support and encouragement are essential.

Children will rarely broach painful topics with the parent or caregiver. Often they will harbor all types of misconceptions and misunderstandings about the facts and grave uncertainties about the future.

Children need to be guided in exploring the most sensitive issues, participating in a family dialogue and being reassured that with one parent already gone, they will not be abandoned by the other caregivers.

School children can be unmerciful in picking on another child whose parent is in prison. Talk with the child’s teachers, guidance counselor and school principal. Stay in touch with them and regularly keep them informed.

Children will often blame themselves for what has happened, by telling themselves that if they had been a better student or more obedient, than the imprisonment and loss of the parent would not have happened.

Bringing children to visit a parent in prison needs careful consideration and preparation. Children will also need time to freely discuss the impact of the visit without fear of wounding other family members

Children are malleable they can grow, bend and heal with loving care.


Leave a Reply