What Will Happen to Me?

Wiladene Keen By Wiladene Keen, 8th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Kids

Many young children are affected by the fact that they have one or more parents in prison. The numbers are high, and rising way too fast. Here are some facts we all should be aware of.

Statistically Speaking

in 2010, a research study on the number of children in the United States with a parent behind bars was alarmingly high. According to the source I used as reference for this article , one in twenty-eight (1/28) kids in America has a parent in prison. This translates to 2.7 million kids, or more than one in one-hundred (1/100) parents are incarcerated.

The children become victims themselves over time because of the stress they deal with in having a parent behind bars. Among the disabilities that plague them is how their schoolwork and attendance is affected. This is probably the worst non-physical stigma that they face. They become disillusioned, saddened, belligerent, socially disconnected and that's just naming a few of the maladies they face. It's a given that these attitudes will severely compromise their attention and desire to excel in school. Compared to the overall population that comprises this 2.7 million children, twenty-three percent (23%) are expelled in comparison to the number of expelled student for other reasons. A further breakdown shows that African American students make up one in nine, Hispanics make up one in twenty-eight , while Caucasian students account for one in fifty-seven.

What are the Effects?

Long term effects that jeopardize the welfare and productivity of these children are a lack of emotional bonding, poor peer relationships, anti-social behavior, low self esteem, diminished cognitive abilities, anxiety and withdrawal.

Of course, not absolutely every child will demonstrate such dramatic symptoms or behavior. Some of the children who live with the knowledge that they have a Mother or Father in prison use that fact to make sure they don't follow in their footsteps. They are focused on making sure they don't fall victim to a pre-determinate behavioral pattern. In other words; they want to do better.

Most children who fall into the category of statistical figures mentioned earlier ask the question "what is going to happen to me" now that Momma or Daddy has to go away for three-five years. Was it something that I did? Another heartbreaking question. Those three-five years can make a world of difference in the life of a five-nine year old child. These are after all, critical development times, where some life-long attitudes are developed and locked in.

What Can We Do?

Logically speaking, first of all, the children who are involved need to be made to feel that they are not to blame. They need assurance that they will be taken care of, that they will be loved and that they will be encouraged to excel in their school work, to make friends and learn to trust others.

They will need to understand how the justice system and the correctional systems work; that if you commit a crime you must be punished. An attitude of self-righteousness will only prove to harm the child in the end. He/she must come to terms with what happened with a parent, and although it is not necessary to delve too deep into the ramifications of committing a crime, enough should be said in terms they will understand and relate to. Doing this can ward off any adverse psychological damage that could result if the situation is not properly diffused.

Post-incarceration is just as important for the children of parents upon their re-entry into society as it is for the inmate. Interventions and highly visible support is tantamount here. The focus and the significance go back once more to the best avenue for maximum effectiveness...the family unit.

This happened to me when I was nine years old. My Father went to prison. Read my own personal story in my newly released book "Not Easily Forgotten" available right now for sale in the Create Space e-store by following this link..

Tags

Correctional Systems, Depression, Inmates, Jail, Parents Home Life, Prison Systems, Prisoners, School Issues, Social Anxiety

Meet the author

author avatar Wiladene Keen
I am an avid blogger and compulsive writer who loves to allow her mind to roam free and be creative. Follow me on Twitter @queencitydame

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