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Raising Children with Parents in Prison For the Parent left behind with children AND for the Children that have a parent inside. Discussion of unique challenges facing this group!

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Old 05-17-2018, 12:10 PM
4mychildrenonly 4mychildrenonly is offline
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Default He doesn't call them

Let's start by saying I have been divorced from their Dad since 2014. I believe him to be a pathological liar and narcissist. I have kept it civil for the childrens' sake the entire time however...
In July his house was raided by FBI for distribution of child porn. My children happened to be spending their 'summer week' with him when this occurred. They had to go for forensic interviews to determine if they were victims and (thanks goodness) there was no evidence or reason to believe they were ever involved. However, I kept the children from overnight visits with him, only allowing him to spend time with them for lunches/dinners as long as at least one of the grandparents were involved.
October he was arrested & charged with 9 counts distribution and 1 count receipt of child porn. He was released on house arrest, no internet access, a week later. I allowed the children to visit for hours at a time, no overnights and again, only if a grandparent was with them.
December he accepted the plea offer & plead guilty to the 1 count of receipt. This carries a mandatory minimum of 5 years with maximum of 20 years.
I warned him that when he entered his plea with the judge he would most likely have his bond revoked and he said that wasn't going to happen. I strongly suggested he prepare for it anyway and allowed the kids to spend that Sunday (his court date was Monday) with him (and his parents). He spent the entire day in the downstairs apartment watching football with his buddies, the kids only saw him a few times. He entered his plea the next day and the judge immediately revoked his bond.
Fast forward to Feb, he was sentenced to 9 years, nothing suspended with then 20 years supervised release. I believe the judge did this purposely since my youngest will be 18 when he gets out (even with 'good behavior').
He RARELY calls his children. He calls his Mom and his 'girlfriend'. Both of these women tell my kids that their Dad says to tell them he loves them and misses them and both my kids ask why he doesn't just call them. (My oldest has a phone.)
He RARELY writes to them and when he does, it is full of 'poor me' 'I'm sad' 'pray for me' 'worst time of my life' 'it's indescribable what I'm living through', etc.
He has been moved out of state to NJ (we are in VA) and he ends his most recent letter with he wants them to come visit him. (This is the first letter they have received since his sentencing in Feb - we just received it yesterday.)
I deal with my children every day, crying or upset because their father doesn't call and rarely writes. Both kids are in counseling because of his actions - we learned from the forensic interview that my youngest was watching 'porn' after discovering it on his father's phone and while he didn't understand it, he felt he couldn't stop - he is being counseled for addiction. He has no access to internet except at school and in my presence only. My oldest has had a complete change in demeanor and her grades are suffering. I am angry that he is still so incredibly selfish that he wants to lay all this on their shoulders and expects them to make him feel better. Does he ask how they are? Does he write about what his Mom tells him about the kids activities, grades, sports, concerts? No. And yet his parents want to take the kids to visit him and I am not in support of that at this time.
Any advice?
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 4mychildrenonly View Post
I am angry that he is still so incredibly selfish that he wants to lay all this on their shoulders and expects them to make him feel better. Does he ask how they are? Does he write about what his Mom tells him about the kids activities, grades, sports, concerts? No. And yet his parents want to take the kids to visit him and I am not in support of that at this time.
Any advice?
It sounds like he's just carrying on with his previous level of attentiveness if I read you right. He wasn't thinking about their welfare or potential consequences of his actions when he committed his crime. He didn't plan adequately for his arrest and sentencing by spending the limited time he had left explaining to them what was about to happen and how he would make every effort to be there for them. So why would he start now?


Curious...and I'm always up front with the fact that I'm not a parent so I may not have the insight that parents do...but what do they have to gain, right now, from contact with someone who puts themselves first and can't seem to grasp the impact their choices have on growing young people?
They love him, no doubt, but you can love someone who isn't healthy for you to be exposed to.
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:55 PM
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I would continue with the counseling. It may be beat that they don't have much contact with him.until they are stronger mentally and emotionally. They can write, but hopefully get them to curb their expectations.

It is not an easy thing to explain or rationalize by any means. He is only concerned with himself and hopefully with time that will change.

When it comes to visits, talk to the counselor first. See what they would recommend for your children. Don't be guilted if it isn't in their best interest.
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:13 PM
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Welcome to Prison Talk.

What do the kid's counselors say about them traveling to visit Dad in a federal prison in NJ? That could be the answer to your question.

The final decision is still up to you to make. They would be exposed to the federal prison system, which some folks disagree as to whether that is a good idea, or not. Since even with maximum good time he will be locked up for more than 8 years, you have plenty of time to decide if that's what you want to do.

You could also set some guidelines on more phone calls and letters to your children before they will be allowed to visit. It's your choice.
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:05 PM
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What is your child custody agreement?
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Old 05-18-2018, 06:56 AM
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ok, about the visiting......they may not even be ALLOWED to visit.
Im not 100% sure on this but I'd check it out.
Especially if its contact visiting.


Im sorry the kids are going thru this.
Agree with the others....continue with counseling. You might even make an appt for yourself as well to get help trying to figure out how to help your kids.
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:05 AM
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First I want to say how amazing it is that you let him still see them after what he has been charged with! I don't know if i could handle my daughter seeing her father after that regardless of there being no evidence or not. BIG PROPS TO YOU!!!

I'm a little half and half about visiting. Maybe they need that? Maybe something will snap and they will let their anger out on him during the visit and it will help them. OR maybe itll do the opposite. Also are they allowed to visit?

Does he really want them to visit, do people know what he's charged for? Is in in protective custody? People could very well find out if he's not in protective custody and one of your children says something a little to loud, and that would be very bad for him. That is not taken lightly in prison/jail.

Talk to their therapist about it, and they will probably talk your children through it.
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:55 AM
4mychildrenonly 4mychildrenonly is offline
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I agree, but I will say they did not see him this way until all this started. Towards the end of our marriage, he was never really part of our family outings. He either refused or made plans to watch sports or play music with his buddies. He was moody and rarely left his 'sitting room'. My daughter remembers this a little, my son does not.

Once I left him in 2013, he became the 'fun Dad'. I was the same Mom in charge of homework, meals, chores, dr/dentist appts, school events, family events, bdays. We still had fun - I've always paid for our theme park passes, we went on vacations and on weekends we would play, bike, swim, hike, exercise - basically anything that kept us active.

He had them EOW and did only fun things. Movies, stayed up late watching tv, slept in, ate out or fast food then dropped them off again for 'real life'.

I knew they would eventually learn the real person he was but I could have never imagined it would be like this. During all this, they quickly learned that he lies and is selfish, my daughter even commented that she can tell when he is lying, his mannerisms and lack of eye contact. She even went as far to recall their past conversations where she realized he was lying before all this happened. I felt very sad for her when she realized this. During all of this, I would tell them exactly what to expect when it came to the charges, the arrest, the house arrest, the plea & the sentencing. He would tell them he knew they would drop the charges - they didn't, then he would not go to jail - he did, then he would not be in for long, certainly not the 'mandatory minimum of 5 years' - he got 9 years. I prepared them for the worst, and if I hadn't done that, I believe they would be even more upset with each and every major turn.

Even after all this, they still love their Dad, hanging on to the fun times and as a Mom, I will not be the reason they cut him out of their lives. They have to come to that conclusion on their own. In the meantime, I just encourage them to keep living their lives, enjoy every moment as a child that they can and we will just hope & pray he will start to come around that he needs to focus his energy on their joy, not his sorrow. If he doesn't, well he will be the one missing out on their lives and love because I do believe, with time & counseling, they will be able to move on. Sometimes I feel discouraged but it's all still new to them, so I am being supportive & will try hard to be patient while they take their own time to process it.

Thanks for your reply!

Quote:
Originally Posted by miamac View Post
It sounds like he's just carrying on with his previous level of attentiveness if I read you right. He wasn't thinking about their welfare or potential consequences of his actions when he committed his crime. He didn't plan adequately for his arrest and sentencing by spending the limited time he had left explaining to them what was about to happen and how he would make every effort to be there for them. So why would he start now?


Curious...and I'm always up front with the fact that I'm not a parent so I may not have the insight that parents do...but what do they have to gain, right now, from contact with someone who puts themselves first and can't seem to grasp the impact their choices have on growing young people?
They love him, no doubt, but you can love someone who isn't healthy for you to be exposed to.
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:08 AM
4mychildrenonly 4mychildrenonly is offline
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I agree, it is my final decision and as any other parent, I am also used to be the 'bad guy' when I am trying to keep their best interest at heart, even when they think I am wrong.

The counselor agrees that it is not a good idea right now but encourages them to write to their Dad about how they are feeling. They just can't seem to bring themselves to let him know they are hurt & angry.

Now that I finally have his address, I plan on writing to him. I know at this point he would never call me as he knows I won't mince words. His parents & girlfriend let him cry and sympathize with him and he knows I will not do that so the only way I can communicate will be to write. I agree with setting him straight and giving him guidelines if he ever wants me to agree to bring the kids to visit him but I will also make it clear that it won't be happening anytime soon. I believe they are too young and too confused/angry to handle going to a federal prison anytime soon.

Thanks for your reply!
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Originally Posted by fbopnomore View Post
Welcome to Prison Talk.

What do the kid's counselors say about them traveling to visit Dad in a federal prison in NJ? That could be the answer to your question.

The final decision is still up to you to make. They would be exposed to the federal prison system, which some folks disagree as to whether that is a good idea, or not. Since even with maximum good time he will be locked up for more than 8 years, you have plenty of time to decide if that's what you want to do.

You could also set some guidelines on more phone calls and letters to your children before they will be allowed to visit. It's your choice.
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:20 AM
4mychildrenonly 4mychildrenonly is offline
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We had Joint Custody - I had primary physical custody. He did not want 50/50 custody. Our custody agreement specifically stated he had the right to reasonable visitation as we found mutually convenient and in the best interests of the children. He moved 3 towns away, completely out of their school district so we decided on him having them every other weekend, 1 week during the summer & we shared major holidays & school holidays. I did my best to accommodate their desire to spend time with their Dad and only refused if we already had plans that could not be changed. He also came into town every Wednesday to take them to dinner.




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What is your child custody agreement?
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:22 AM
4mychildrenonly 4mychildrenonly is offline
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You might be right - to be honest, I haven't even bothered to check since I do not plan on allowing it any time soon and even then, I would want to check it out first on my own to be sure the kids could even handle it.

Thanks for your reply!
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ok, about the visiting......they may not even be ALLOWED to visit.
Im not 100% sure on this but I'd check it out.
Especially if its contact visiting.


Im sorry the kids are going thru this.
Agree with the others....continue with counseling. You might even make an appt for yourself as well to get help trying to figure out how to help your kids.
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:27 AM
4mychildrenonly 4mychildrenonly is offline
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Trust me, I didn't allow it in the beginning and only agreed because my children wanted to see him. I had to find out what the distribution charge meant exactly before I was comfortable with any visitation what-so-ever.

As far as the visiting, I don't think they would confront him. They have both chosen not to confront him in writing and the one time he did speak to them, the both were just so happy to hear his voice that they only said, please call us more. Then he would tell them he had to go & to give the phone back to his Mom or girlfriend to whom it would talk to for another 5 minutes. This never happens when I am around - I believe he arranges a time to call when he knows my kids are with his parents so he can avoid the chance of me getting on the phone.

I think maybe, eventually, they will write to him about their feelings. I hope they do. In the meantime, I have made it clear they will not be visiting him anytime soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jordan321 View Post
First I want to say how amazing it is that you let him still see them after what he has been charged with! I don't know if i could handle my daughter seeing her father after that regardless of there being no evidence or not. BIG PROPS TO YOU!!!

I'm a little half and half about visiting. Maybe they need that? Maybe something will snap and they will let their anger out on him during the visit and it will help them. OR maybe itll do the opposite. Also are they allowed to visit?

Does he really want them to visit, do people know what he's charged for? Is in in protective custody? People could very well find out if he's not in protective custody and one of your children says something a little to loud, and that would be very bad for him. That is not taken lightly in prison/jail.

Talk to their therapist about it, and they will probably talk your children through it.
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