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Raising Children with Parents in Prison For the Parent left behind with children AND for the Children that have a parent inside. Discussion of unique challenges facing this group!

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  #1  
Old 09-21-2017, 06:33 AM
Iwillgetby Iwillgetby is offline
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Default What to tell my kids

My gf is in jail for 9 months and I have 2 kids 10 and 12. I've told them for the last two months that she is staying with her mom that's sick. But with the holidays coming I just don't know what to say to them and I can't tell them the truth.
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:37 AM
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Hi there , i am sorry you are in this situation. I would say tell the children the truth. They are old to have a basic understanding. Explain your GF has done something wrong and she has to jail.However she is sorry and she will be back home soon.

I know its not easy but children are more resilient than you think and they will understand if you support them and trust them with the basic truth.
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:49 AM
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Ok I'm thinking she lived with you prior? If so I'd say she's in jail almost everyone everywhere knows someone or has heard of someone in jail somewhere, even kids. If not say she had to go away to some kind of retreat and when that's over she can come home. But at 10 and 12 they are not dumb so personally I'd go with the truth. Good luck.
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:32 AM
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Thank you you so much. Yes we have lived together almost two years.I'm leaning toward telling them the truth to and I know that part of it will be ok it's just there mother may use it against me somehow in that if she finds out she may not allow them to be around my gf and we live together
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:44 AM
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I think children need the truth,at their level of understanding. We told my grand daughter my son had gone away working when he was in prison. However she was 6 and she picked up on conversations .She asked if her uncle was in jail I told her yes and she was ok with it.
We told he had done something bad and he would be home soon, she kind of liked it to when she is sent to her room when she has been naughty.
Its better then hear from you than someone else.
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:57 AM
onedayatatime13 onedayatatime13 is offline
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I first told my kids he was working out of town. After 7 months, I finally told them. They kept asking when he was coming back. They are about the same ages as your kids. We are looking at years and not months. If it was 9 months, I might not have told them to be honest and left it as he was working a special job to make money.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:04 AM
onedayatatime13 onedayatatime13 is offline
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Also, I told them 75% of what he did. I told them the time range. My youngest son is very close to him and will talk to him on the phone. I actually told him first. I prefaced as he did something wrong and is taking responsibility. I have hidden all the angst from them and they haven't seen me stress out.

I told my older one the other day. He cried. He is uncomfortable with it. I can tell. He is not sure. He doesn't want to talk about it. So I'm leaving him be.

He sent presents for both of them and I couldn't lie to them anymore. I will protect them from the heart ache of all of it though. I spend a lot more time at home with them and cut back on working as much. I want them to have as much normal as possible.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iwillgetby View Post
Thank you you so much. Yes we have lived together almost two years.I'm leaning toward telling them the truth to and I know that part of it will be ok it's just there mother may use it against me somehow in that if she finds out she may not allow them to be around my gf and we live together
I get that X's can be a huge problem. But unless your girlfriend is a danger to your children she can try to stop them from seeing you but it won't usually fly with most family law services. Do you have joint custody? Do they live with you? Lots of issues to consider, so before you panic get some actual legal advice then decide what's best for you and your children, don't even worry about GF, she's the one in jail, she got into her mess, you and kids come first.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:56 AM
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I agree that they should be told the truth. They are plenty old enough to understand. All but the youngest of my children understand that my husband is in prison because he broke the law. The youngest is 3 and she only understands that daddy isn't here and she sees him every other weekend and talks to him on the phone.
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by xolady View Post
I get that X's can be a huge problem. But unless your girlfriend is a danger to your children she can try to stop them from seeing you but it won't usually fly with most family law services. Do you have joint custody? Do they live with you? Lots of issues to consider, so before you panic get some actual legal advice then decide what's best for you and your children, don't even worry about GF, she's the one in jail, she got into her mess, you and kids come first.


Thanks yes we have joint custody. No they live with Mom. I can't help but worry about gf everyday. But I do think I'm going to tell them the truth,I'm so tired of hiding it and not having anyone to confide in
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:03 PM
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I'm strongly in favour of telling the truth to kids.
- Kids that age know and can understand a lot more than we think they can. There are 3 million kids in the US with a parent in jail and many more who've been through it at some point; it's not rare.
- They will find out at some point. Better they hear it from you than at school from a 'friend'. You can help them deal with the hurt, but if they find out you've lied to them (even with the best of motives) they may well feel that you've also violated their trust.
- As others have said, this can be presented, especially with a short sentence as an instance of 'people make mistakes but we still love them and we help them get over it and live better'.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:14 PM
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My youngest son did ask me tonight, why did I lie to him for so long? I told him I didn't know how to tell him and we were hoping for a better outcome. He asks a million questions. Something I don't have answer for him and that is the hardest part. When he has had enough, he changes the topic.

My older one cried and doesn't want to talk about it.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by onedayatatime13 View Post
My youngest son did ask me tonight, why did I lie to him for so long? I told him I didn't know how to tell him and we were hoping for a better outcome. He asks a million questions. Something I don't have answer for him and that is the hardest part. When he has had enough, he changes the topic.



My older one cried and doesn't want to talk about it.


Those are the kind of situations I'm worried about. They are just getting past there mother and I divorcing a year ago and now if I do tell them the truth it's just one more hardship for them to deal with. I know I have to deal with it I'm just not ready. I'm hoping that she gets the work release that her lawyer says he can get for her but it's a long shot I think
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:50 PM
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You need to decide what is best for the kids..... you having someone to confide in is not a reason to tell them. This is your drama and you need to shield them from that stress. Also, please do not put them in the middle of you and the Exwife.... if you tell them you may need to tell her first. You cannot ask them to keep a secret from their mom. That would just be wrong IMO.
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Old 09-22-2017, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iwillgetby View Post
My gf is in jail for 9 months and I have 2 kids 10 and 12. I've told them for the last two months that she is staying with her mom that's sick. But with the holidays coming I just don't know what to say to them and I can't tell them the truth.
I find it sad that you cannot tell the children the truth as they are old enough to know. IMO you are teaching them that being dishonest is okay and what happens when they find out what was really going on when she vanished from their life?

Tell them she made some mistakes and is owning up to them. Explain that the holidays are going to be a little less enjoyable but there are many more to come.

It's only 9 months, be honest, buck up and get through this, as there are many more here doing a LOT longer than you.

Again, lying to children of this age (if they were younger, they wouldn't necessarily remember) is disastrous to their future and doesn't teach them anything.
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Old 09-22-2017, 04:54 AM
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You need to decide what is best for the kids..... you having someone to confide in is not a reason to tell them. This is your drama and you need to shield them from that stress. Also, please do not put them in the middle of you and the Exwife.... if you tell them you may need to tell her first. You cannot ask them to keep a secret from their mom. That would just be wrong IMO.


Thank you but none of this is what I meant,when I mentioned needing someone to confide in I didn't mean my children(that's why I'm here because I have no one to confide in)and I would never put my kids in the middle of this situation.
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Old 09-22-2017, 06:04 AM
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I agree that you should tell them. The children already know that something is very wrong, they just don't know why, which probably confuses them even more. That will become more apparent during the holidays.

It's your decision to make, but I think you are making a mistake by not telling them (age appropriately).
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:28 AM
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Thanks yes we have joint custody. No they live with Mom. I can't help but worry about gf everyday. But I do think I'm going to tell them the truth,I'm so tired of hiding it and not having anyone to confide in
You should tell them, but I don't think you should think of them as your confidants. Because they are not and that's a huge burden for kids to carry. GF is your problem not theirs. You have plenty of people here to confide in who have been in your shoes, some still are some have gone through this over and over.
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Old 09-27-2017, 05:56 PM
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I think alot of it is because kids around that age are taught that prison/jail are full of only HORRIBLE people who do HORRIBLE things. And that's why kids have a hard time with it. They don't get that more than half of the people in prison are not there for "horrible" things just stupid decisions/mistakes. So I would explain them what she did (since its 9 months I doubt its anything HORRIBLE. bad maybe, but not horrible) and that she made a mistake in doing it and is working hard to make sure she doesn't do it again.
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