How do you cope with your only child being locked up?

La Tanya - posted on 09/11/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )

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Im a single mother like many trying to do my best by my seed, but the streets sucked in my one and only child, my sun, my world. Now I know I wasnt the perfect teenage mother, but I did what I had to do to take care of mines without assistance from anyone. As I matured I start becoming aware of my parenting faults, nothing major. My son is very respectable, loving, smart, always eager to help out going young boy. Hanging out with the wrong crowd the kid got caught up in some bull*#%. Violated probation now doing 6 months in an out of state facility. Long story short, I miss my baby. Its starting to take its toll on me. This is one of the hardest times in my life. You would think it would be a vacation, but my son is my world, a piece of me is missing. Visiting him makes me mad knowing that he aint leaving with me. Im strong, but damn.

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Eronne - posted on 09/14/2009

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Oh I really should shut-up now but I can't. As Jude asserts, I too used to believe it was a matter of 'grow-up, smarten and get your life together'. I then started to actually work with juvenile delinquents and found that the simplistic approach that once 19 or 21years of age has been reached it's up to them, just doesn't work. There is so much more to discuss here.
First and foremost is what the system does to children. As stated I have had many street kids and potential gangsters live in my home. They are almost all grown now and I discovered the most amazing fact. The ones that have chosen an inappropriate adult life are the ones that went to jail. The ones that didn't get caught have now moved on to be fine adults. I don't have the statistics to back up this anecdotal discovery but it is supported by logic. A child in the system is labeled. His main-stream education is disrupted. His new found friends are criminals. And his self-image is hugely damaged, now considering himself a criminal. These are damages caused by incarceration...on top of that breaking the law has other repercussions.
I truly believe, as do many young offenders, that the current trend towards tougher penalties for children, is wrong. The recidivism rate increases by 3% each time a child is arrested! Their brains are not wired the same as adults. We need another solution.
So La Tanya your biggest issue with your son, will be to convince him that he is better than the life he is in right now. A second offense would be devastating.

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Eronne - posted on 09/14/2009

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Visit whenever you can, talk to him every day and write letters or send cards. I have lived through this with my own youngest and with four of the street kids I took in. Your son will survive but to help him to not choose a criminal lifestyle will be your toughest battle. Unfortunately the worst thing that happens to an incarcerated child is that they learn more about being criminals than about being good citizens. The whole system sucks and is more than likely at the heart of our growing social problem with young people. Like your son, mine served the most time for staying out past 10 (curfew breach)!
I have set up new community 'Mom's with Kids in Trouble' to discuss these issues and to help create a united voice for change. Don't give up on him - you are the only thing standing between him and inappropriate choices in his future. My son made it...your's can too.

Heather - posted on 09/14/2009

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La Tanya,

(((((HUGS))))) to you! I can only imagine;( Although my son wasn't incarcerated, per se, he was in placement almost 2 yrs. ago. I, too, am a single mom trying to do the best I know how. It's definitely tough. Alex got himself into trouble, although I have to say... he has not had an easy childhood. He's seen me be physically abused (multiple times), we've been homeless (that was 5-6 yrs. ago), his father's not been an active part of his life and so on. He was away from home for a year and 3 months, and it was the worst year and three months of my life;( I saw him for the 1st several weekends he was gone, then he was sent to a place further away (I don't have a vehicle, which makes things much more difficult), so I hardly saw him at all the rest of the time (2 or 3 more times, till he got to come home). The stuff he would tell me went on in these places! I was hopeless to say or do anything to stop it;( Alex had always been a really well-behaved child, up until this point. He excells in school (always has=) and has decent friends. His teachers adore him and so do the majority of the friends and people I know. It's like, he's had this awesome personality and demeanor outside of home, then comes home and just lets loose! Alex is multiracial (black, white, Cherokee indian), too, and we've had "issues" with people where we live. He grew up in OH (where I grew up) and MD (where most of his father's side of the family is), so we really never had to worry about stuff like that (racism), but now that we live in the "old south" (WV), things are much worse here than we've ever known. That, too, has an effect on us, and not a good one. Finances are a huge reason why we moved here, but I definitely envision us leaving here, for sanity's sake;) I definitely feel your pain, and love, for your son. I will keep you both in my prayers and hope that things get better for you, both. If you ever need to talk, or vent, message me.



Heather

[deleted account]

Quoting Jude:

I know it's hard but he is a grown man now. This is how I feel- regardless of what kind of childhood we had, when we reach adulthood we have a moral and financial obligation to ourselves first and then our family and then our country. Your son is now responsible for himself and the first thing you have to do is be an example of the kind of adult you want him to be. Put your own wellness first- physical, emotional, and spiritual. Get yourself right first- deal with your childhood, your issues, your future. Be the person you want him to become.

The prision has services for family members to help them understand how best to help him. Take advantage of them. Spend time with him and share positive things about your life and his family (it's a bit like being a military spouse- you don't tell soldiers the bad stuff cause they have enough stress and you want them to focus on staying healthy where they are).

Work with him to plan his future in GREAT DETAIL. Start by trying to get him into an academic goal (prision has school). Get a three ring binder and open it up and title the first page "Day One.' Now begin outlining a plan in detail on what is going to happen each day for the first year he is out. It's a project you do a little at a time each visit. This will keep his eye on the future and begin to give him hope that when he gets out he just has to follow this plan. Get creative- put in a pic of the people he will see the first week, get a brochure from a school or job site, put in a reciepe for his favorite meal, get a pic of the place he will go to see his probation officer, put in pics of women and kids (cause when he gets straight, he could have a family). As you go along, find more stuff to write and put in his book. Share it only with him!

Good luck dear! Jude


I agree with Jude.,In order to help your son, you must first think about your well-ness.  He has alot to think about and time to think about it,. This is a good time to speak life into your sons future.  Something good can come out of it,. i been through this and i know this road seem endless but if you drive in the right direction,. all will be well. Now is the time to speak destiny in his life, Theres is so much he can offer and being a static is not one of them.  As for yourself,. seek guidance I don't know what your faith is in, but I know Someone who helped me when I went through this and I never looked back,  He gave me peace that surpasses all.,  I made it with His help.  And God can help you and your son.

[deleted account]

I know it's hard but he is a grown man now. This is how I feel- regardless of what kind of childhood we had, when we reach adulthood we have a moral and financial obligation to ourselves first and then our family and then our country. Your son is now responsible for himself and the first thing you have to do is be an example of the kind of adult you want him to be. Put your own wellness first- physical, emotional, and spiritual. Get yourself right first- deal with your childhood, your issues, your future. Be the person you want him to become.



The prision has services for family members to help them understand how best to help him. Take advantage of them. Spend time with him and share positive things about your life and his family (it's a bit like being a military spouse- you don't tell soldiers the bad stuff cause they have enough stress and you want them to focus on staying healthy where they are).



Work with him to plan his future in GREAT DETAIL. Start by trying to get him into an academic goal (prision has school). Get a three ring binder and open it up and title the first page "Day One.' Now begin outlining a plan in detail on what is going to happen each day for the first year he is out. It's a project you do a little at a time each visit. This will keep his eye on the future and begin to give him hope that when he gets out he just has to follow this plan. Get creative- put in a pic of the people he will see the first week, get a brochure from a school or job site, put in a reciepe for his favorite meal, get a pic of the place he will go to see his probation officer, put in pics of women and kids (cause when he gets straight, he could have a family). As you go along, find more stuff to write and put in his book. Share it only with him!



Good luck dear! Jude

Noeleen - posted on 09/11/2009

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I don't know what to say, my heart goes out to you. Be brave, strong and try to make sure that you son doesn't get mixed up with those people when he finally gets home.

easier said than done I know. I wish you good luck...you deserve it. Try not to blame yourself, young single mum you did your best I am sure.

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