Father of my children going to jail

Bridgette - posted on 11/16/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My ex husband is going to jail and i'm concerned with how to help my 9 yr old and 5 yr old boys deal with it. We have joint custody and my oldest looks up to his father. I don't know if I should tell them the truth, or to keep it from them. I'm afraid my oldest is going to be angry, and disconnect. He is very intellegent and difficult to talk to. My youngest does not have the same bond as the oldest because we separated before he was born, still loves his dad nonetheless. But need advice how to put it in lay terms for him as well.

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Ariana - posted on 11/16/2012

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What is he going to jail for and for how long? Whether you should tell him the truth about the charges really depends on what it is. If it's something like theft you can always tell him that his Daddy made a mistake and what he did was against the law; unfortunately, that means he has to learn form his consequences. You could tell him that this doesn't mean his Dad is a bad person but that he's someone who makes mistakes and you hope that he learns how to act properly by the time he comes out.



If it's some sort of vile crime you may not want to disclose this to your children, you could just go over how he did something against the law, and when you do things against the law you have to deal with the consequences of that. That doesn't mean their Dad doesn't love them or that they shouldn't love their Dad.



Be honest about how long it is going to be and if/when they will see him again. Will they see him while he's in jail? If so do they want to? Will that be a scary experience for them, can you prepare them for that? If they can but you don't want to how will you explain that to them?



Whatever you do make sure they understand that this is no way their fault and that their Dad loves them and wishes he could see them and it's ok for them to love him. Even if he's done something really awful don't bash their Dad.



It may be helpful to get a councellor for the boys for a while. Most kids have a hard time processing this type of situation and may direct some of the blame onto themselves (even though we as adults know this is untrue a child, especially younger ones, are egotistical enough to believe that things happen because of them). A good child councellor may be able to get through to your kids in a way you can't simply because you're their mother (you know how it goes...).



Also I would suggest having either a uncle/male friend/big brother association involved in your childrens life. Having a safe, consistant male role model is very important. This will show them that there are men who feel they are important and also how a man should act. Although you're their mother and very important to them a father figure is a very important for children (especially boys).



I do hope the best for all of you and I'm sure it won't be easy no matter how you put it. Just let them know you're there for them. Good luck!

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