Why doesn’t my parent write or call me?
There are many potential reasons. It may be best for you to ask the adult that you live with.
Some parents do not send letters or call because sending letters and making phone calls from prison can be very expensive. Some parents are embarrassed and sad that they are in prison. Some parents are not allowed to send their children letters or call. Some parents do not know that their children want to hear from them. Some parents believe that their children will be happier not hearing from them. If you have moved since your parent was incarcerated, they may not know
your new address.
However, these are only a few potential reasons and every situation is unique. There may be a different reason as to why your parent is not writing or calling. You may want to ask the adult that you live with why you have not heard from your parent.
Why is my family member there?
Your family member is there because it was decided that they broke the law, or disobeyed a rule, and going to prison is part of their consequence.
What if I do something wrong? Will I go to jail too?
If you do something wrong you might have a consequence like a time-out or not riding your bike for three days.
Is my family member okay?
Your family member has food and water, a place to sleep and comfortable clothes. As part of their consequence, they need to stay at the jail/prison/correctional facility for some time. While there, they will eat, sleep and talk with other people. If you write to, or speak with your family member, you may want to ask them what they do while they are there and what their room is like.
Is it okay if I feel confused, scared, sad, or angry?
All feelings are normal. Sometimes it helps to talk to other people like a friend or trusted adult about your feelings. You could also write or draw pictures about how you feel.
Is it okay if I still love my family member?
Yes, it is okay that you love your family member.
Is it okay if I don’t love my family member anymore?
Yes it is, and it is also okay for you to have different feelings about this later.
What can I do to help my family member?
Everyone in the family needs love and support. You can help by doing chores
at home, being a good brother or sister, doing well in school and making your family proud. And if you have bad days than that is okay, just remember to keep trying.
Is my family member safe?
The people who work at the jail/prison work very hard to keep everyone safe.
How do I tell my friends that my parent is in prison?
You should talk to your parent or caregiver and figure out what to say together. If you do not want to do this you can also speak with teachers, counselors and other trusted adults.
What if the other children do not understand my situation because it is different from theirs?
If children act out towards you because they do not understand your situation you can talk with an adult that you trust. If there is not an adult at school that you are comfortable talking to, you can talk to an adult at home or an adult that you are most comfortable with about what is happening at school.
My friend’s parent is in prison. What do I do?
Your friend is very lucky that you are concerned. Your friend may be sad, angry, or even deny that their parent is in prison so try not to force them to talk about it. Instead, allow them to speak about what they want to. If you do talk about it, make sure you are in an area where no one else can hear you because your friend may be comfortable talking to you about their parent but not want others to hear. Do your best to listen to your friend. You are doing the right thing by trying to help. If your friend has a bad reaction when talking about it, it is probably because they are hurt, not mad at you. While it may be difficult for you, know that what you are doing is helping your friend.
Here are some tips if your friend’s parent is in prison:
- Do not force them to talk about anything.
Instead allow them to speak about what they want.
- Make sure you are in an area where no one else is going to hear you.
- Do your best to listen to your friend.
- Do not hesitate to ask for help.
If you feel like your friend is really upset or that you need help, you can go to a trusted adult and explain to them what is going on.
- Think about some things you might say before talking with your friend.
- Before your conversation with your friend think of some comforting things you want to tell them. You can also tell them where they can find other answers, like this website.