When a parent is arrested for a minor infraction, it is not likely that they will be sentenced to any long-term jail time or any jail time at all. This is even truer for those who hire an experienced criminal lawyer to defend their charges. So in cases like this, it is easier for adults to hide an arrest or overnight detention of a parent from children. Many find that a simple tall tale to protect kids will do like dad and mom took a vacation. When a parent is arrested for a crime that results in long-term jail time or imprisonment, a simple tall tale won’t be necessary. This is because a cover-up story for their parent’s situation won’t change the fact that the child will experience a significant sense of loss. In these scenarios, it is important to focus on helping the child cope.
Lets look at several ways how to help a child with parents in jail
Being the good listener
The best way you can help a child who has a parent serving a long-term jail sentence is to be a good listener. Listen without judgment, and encourage them to talk about their feelings and how they change from day-to-day. When you generously listen and listen without judging or, children feel like they have a safe place to fall, which in turn keeps them open and honest with you about their experience. This allows you to better protect them from being a danger to themselves, and guide them in the right direction. But aside from listening.
Being there for them
Remember that what may seem like an ordinary or even happy day can be a stressful or painful time for a child. Days of jail visits, holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries can bring about emotions that sadden or agitate them. So on days like these, being extra aware of their feelings is important. Simply reminding them that they are not alone, and never will be, can make them feel safer, more relaxed, and loved.
Provide them with a professional grief counseling
Another helpful deed you can do for a child with a jailed parent is to provide them with a means of professional therapy or grief counseling. This gives them a platform to discuss their feelings with an unbiased party that is not a superior to them.
Avoiding speaking negatively about their parents
One of the biggest mistakes people unknowingly make is speaking poorly or negatively about a jailed parent in front of a child. No matter how angry you are, or how much you disprove, this habit can cause mental anguish and confusion for kids. Keep in mind that they love their parent no matter what, and wants to think of them as a good person. Lastly, be prepared to answer all their questions, and be patient when answering them. It is best to be as honest as possible without alarming or scaring them. So practice if you have to.