View Full Version : How to tell your kid you're going to prison?


JasonUK
10-31-2008, 04:02 PM
I'm 25 and have a 7 year old son who lives with my girlfriend but I see him all the time and we get on great.

I am getting sentenced in 3 weeks and am expecting to get at least 2 years. I haven't told my son yet and my girlfriend doesn't want me to tell him as she thinks he doesn't need to deal with this. I want to tell him though as I want him to be part of my life whatever happens. I know my gf is worried that he will get a hard time over me going to prison and is thinking about him but I have to tell him.

When I was young my Dad was in prison and I got a hard time over it and my gf knows this. I promised myself that I'd never put my son through something like my Dad did but I made mistakes and here I am.

Does anybody have any advice as to what to say to a 7 year old so he doesn't take things too badly?

joetnymedic
10-31-2008, 10:05 PM
jason,
what i did with my son was sit down and tell him how much i loved him. i asked him if he remembered how when he would be bad, we would tell him to go to his room. he realized right from wrong. then i told him i had done something wrong and that someone was sending me someplace sort of like being sent to your room for what would seem like a long time to him. i reassured him that i loved him and always would and that when i came home we would be together again and be able to do the things he loved to do with each other. it worked for me, i got out, came home and i now have custody of him and we are getting along better than ever. while all situations are different, this is what worked for me. something i learned about kids from my job as well as from with my own kids, is never lie to them as they will not forget and if you lie to them once,they will always have that in the back of their mind and once the trust is gone it's gone. just remember that. sort of like don't say things you know aren't going to be that way. ie this isn't going to hurt, or everything is going to be ok. know what i'm saying? good luck. joe

ShaadGyrl
11-01-2008, 05:45 AM
I agree that u should be honest and open with your child about your incarceration. You don't have to be detailed due to his age and level of understanding, but you do want him to have knowledge about what's going on. My father was incarcerated off and on when I was a child growing up, but the one thing (May God rest his SoUl...) that I valued and respected about me and my father's relationship is that he always was open, honest, and truthful with me about his lifestyle (He was a drug dealer). I loved that he was MAN enough to sit down and have a heart to heart discussion with me about his choices that he made and the consequences he had to face....Best of Luck....But, remember he will remember when you weren't around and he'll make up is own version if you don't tell the truth....Be Blessed...Mrs. Favors

Hangingmyhead
11-03-2008, 07:18 AM
Just last week I had to tell my girls the same thing..I agreed to a plea for 25 years with paorle in 12...It was the hardest thing I ever had to do...But I also explained everything to my 14 year old about why I accepted the plea and all and I sat down with my parents and my youngest after school and explained to her that I was gonna have to leave home for a while and I would tell her when exactly I would be leaving...She is 7 and she is oh so much a mama'a girl but she cried for a little while and I have found that as long as I am honest with her she is okay as she can be. Not to say that it will not be extremely hard or not hurt but be honest and dont let him think you just walked away and dissappeared...Dont you handle things a little better when you have time to process them and know what to expect?

Good Luck...

justus1
11-04-2008, 08:42 AM
jason,
what i did with my son was sit down and tell him how much i loved him. i asked him if he remembered how when he would be bad, we would tell him to go to his room. he realized right from wrong. then i told him i had done something wrong and that someone was sending me someplace sort of like being sent to your room for what would seem like a long time to him. i reassured him that i loved him and always would and that when i came home we would be together again and be able to do the things he loved to do with each other. it worked for me, i got out, came home and i now have custody of him and we are getting along better than ever. while all situations are different, this is what worked for me. something i learned about kids from my job as well as from with my own kids, is never lie to them as they will not forget and if you lie to them once,they will always have that in the back of their mind and once the trust is gone it's gone. just remember that. sort of like don't say things you know aren't going to be that way. ie this isn't going to hurt, or everything is going to be ok. know what i'm saying? good luck. joe

Bottomline, what's highlighted in red is all that really needs to be said here.

A 7 year old is definitely able to understand the "right from wrong" concept. If you explain to him that you did something wrong and have to go away for awhile to learn from that mistake, he'll understand that. He won't like it, but he will understand it. What he won't understand is why you've gone away for so long, if you DON'T explain it to him.

My husband and I talked to our son and explained why he was going away. My husband has continued the conversation from "inside" with our son, he tells him how much he's learned and will continue to learn, and that the main thing he's learned is that NOTHING is worth being separated from our son and myself.

I think we've done a good job of dealing with this, and I feel confident that my son will not participate in risky behaviors that could end him up inside of a prison cell because of the time my husband has taken to speak with him about things like this. They have communicated through letters ever since his incarceration. They have talked about everything from school bullies to pre-marital sex (age appropriate of course), my husband's been "in" awhile, our son just turned 19.

My point is that the relationship they were able to maintain all of this time would not have been possible if we had lied to my son.

Honesty is always the best policy. Lies will always come back to bite you in the behind.

Good Luck!

angel12569
11-05-2008, 05:23 AM
I think honesty is your best option. Put yourself in his shoes and how would you feel. Lets face it it is better he hears it from you rather than someone else, cause people do talk. Although I am not the one in prison, I did sit my kids down and told them the truth about their dad, since he was already in prison and could not sit down and tell them until they went to visit him. Good luck and hope goes well.

susantr
12-20-2008, 12:44 PM
My husband will be surrendering in about a month to serve a 21 month sentence. We have not told our 14 year old daughter yet. We want to be as truthful as possible with with her. My husband was arrested three years ago in our home, when she was 11, so we're pretty certain she knows that he broke the law but we're not sure if she knows the reason for his arrest. My husband plead guilty to a marajuana distribution indictment. Neither me or my husband smoke marajuna. My husband always ran a ligitimate gourmet food distribution business. Our daughter is totally against drug use. We wanted to tell her that his sentence was tax related. We don't think my daughter would be able to handle telling her that her father was a drug dealer and we are also worried about what she might tell her friends. Can anyone give us some advise. Do you think we should seek councelling for her?

Mark2008
12-24-2008, 02:35 AM
Susan,

I think you need to tell your daughter the truth. Being 14 is not a child. While it may be difficult initially for them to handle it, it will be better in the long run. By telling them something else that seems more palatable, you mitigate the facts of the case. I would suspect that sooner or later the truth will come out. Far better for her to learn it from you, or even moreso, learn it from him.