Explaining jail to a 5 year old.

Jessie - posted on 11/13/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My son's biological father has just been incarcerated and is looking at facing several years in prison... I'm remarried and my son recognizes my new husband as his father, but still knows he has a REAL father. My son has seen his father once since the divorce started back in 2005. My hubby and I are talking about ending my ex husband's parental rights and having an adoption started... however I can't decide if its right to tell my son that his REAL father is in prison and why he's in prison (after the divorce and all the domestic abuse my ex husband continued to stalk me and make death threats, etc) I don't want to confuse him, but I don't want to lie to him or have him resent me in the future for not telling him the truth. What would you do?

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Hope - posted on 01/01/2014

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My question to those of you who are familiar is what do you do when the mother is the incarcerated parent of a 6 year old girl? I am at my wits end as a stepmother & her father is beside himself every time she cries that she misses her mommy. The mother is a repeat offender & she has missed most of her 3 years of school now but we are down to 5 months for her weekend ferlows from a halfway house or something like that. I feel lost in research because usually it is the father NOT the mother that does this type of thing. It seems when she goes to see the grandmother on the moms side she cried a lot about missing her mother & someone is telling her at grandma's that it is a mistake all of the times that mommy was put on what we called "an adult time out". I think honesty would be more beneficial but I'm so lost in this matter... Ugh... After 5 years & zero resolution, I have to ask for help... :(

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Mimi - posted on 11/09/2012

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I have a 10 year old and his dad has been in an out of jail for the pass 3 years.. He has been there for him. But he got arrested again and this time he will be in jail for 5 years... He has been staying with us so, my son notice his dad has not come home. He came up to me and ask me Mom is daddy in jail again. I was in shock because we never spoke of that before and he never asked me before I did not think he was aware. I was speechless what do I tell him.. So on the way to school he asked me again mom what happened what did daddy do. So I got on his level and I told him you know that when an adult does something bad and wrong the law takes authority and punishes the adult and because of his wrong actions and decisions daddy was punished. It doesn't make him a bad dad but he has to pay for his mistakes. My son came back and replied, well there is people that would help him get out are we going to help him. I told him that this time he will be punished for a long time but I will try my best. Then he asked me so what did he do. I was just pulling up to his school so I told him I don't want you to worry daddy is an adult and he could handle what is happening to him and he would like you not to worry and concentrate at school. When I pick you up I would answer your questions. I don't know how to tell my son his dad has a drug problem and was arrested for having drugs on him. Believe me I am so shock because I trusted him that he was clean. So I'm extremely disappointed in him as well. What can I tell him????

Sharalyn - posted on 11/14/2009

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Your son is still too young to fully comprehend the seriousness of this matter. I would wait until he is old enough to understand and realize what his father did was wrong and you did the right thing by protecting his innocence by waiting awhile longer. As far as the adoption goes, I think it is a good idea because to have a negative influence around your child is not prudent. Hope this helps.

Tonia - posted on 11/14/2009

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Jessie my daughters dad was incarcerated when she was 8 months til she was 4! So I know, girl! OMG your story of your relationship with the guy even sounds like what I went thru... I too am remarried and have a seperate life, from all that now. In my case though her dad had an over bearing mothering who fought me all the way on seeing my daughter so my daughter visited his parents in the process while he was gone. They just excused his behavior and glorified him. In my case it was all from meth these troubles came from. The whole ordeal was VERY hard to go thru. Anyways he does infact see her now. He has been out for 2 years. I would not talk crap about him and say he is doing horrible but I also would not say he is doing great either. Well I have had him and his parents all subtly brainwashing her. At this point I am evil (because I have rules, don't glorify material crap, and punish her). So in my case I have had to call him out on few things based on the things she comes home and says all twisted around. I have always been told by everyone else to not bash him, let her find out on her own. I just wanted to tell you a bit of my story so you knew someone could relate.
I myself still don't know ow to handle my situation.

Catherine - posted on 11/14/2009

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If he does ask.. just explain in words he will understand. Say he made some bad choices and he's being punished for them. That answer may satisfy him. Sometimes they just need a simple answer. If he presses the issue just keep it simple and short. He was doing things that weren't nice and so he's going away for a time out. (A friend of mine actually told her little girl that. She seemed to accept it pretty well.) As he gets older if he asks for details, you can give them, or even let the real father tell him. Either way you go though, don't lie to him. That's probably the worst thing that you could do.

Mandii - posted on 11/13/2009

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honestly, i know how u feel. i was in a similar situation with my 3 year old and his father. i really dont agree that u should lie to him. thats not the right thing to do especially when we're trying to teach our own children not to lie. but i also dont think that you should go into details about it. you know? i mean, dont meantion anything unless he asks "wheres my dad" or something of that nature. but unless he doesnt ask, then i wouldnt tell. and if he does ask, just be careful what u say and how u say it. remember, he's still just a child. when he gets older and wants to know the details, when hes mature enough to handle that, then im sure that would be ok.

hope my advice helps

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