Traumatic loss like a death
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What happens to a child when their father goes to prison?
Research shows that parent-child attachment directly affects cognitive and behavioural development in children, and this disruption can lead to social and behavioural problems later in life. When a parent goes to prison, young children often develop emotional responses such as sadness, fear and guilt as a reaction to the parent鈥檚 incarceration.
How do you prepare a child for a parent going to prison?
First, prepare the children for what prison might be like 鈥攇oing through security clearance, sitting in a visiting room, seeing their parent in prison clothes, etc. As with phone calls, you might help the children come up with some ideas of what to talk about.
Can a child visit a parent in prison?
Once a child understands incarceration and what it means for them, they may be able to visit their parent in prison. Prison visitations are often portrayed on television and in film, but reality often differs. Visitors may have to wait an extended period of time before seeing an inmate, which can be challenging when visiting with young children.
What do children want to know about their incarcerated parents?
Children want to know they’re not forgotten鈥攂ecause they haven’t forgotten their parents. Building a meaningful, positive connection between your children and their incarcerated parent may not be easy but it is possible. And your efforts could encourage a supportive relationship that benefits everyone in the family.