Helping Your Child Cope With What Others Say
Unfortunately you may not be able to stop other people knowing about your situation which means that there may be times when you will have to help your child deal with people saying or doing things which upset them. They will need your support and reassurance that they have done nothing wrong.
Living with the truth is not easy and there will be times when you need someone to turn to. There are also organisations listed under the Useful Organisations database on this who are there to help and listen.
Visiting Prison With Your Child
Enabling a child to visit their parent in prison is an important way of helping them come to terms with being separated from them.
There is no easy way to prepare a child and it will take time and thought. If you have more than one child they will all need reassurance, but may have different questions and concerns.
Some children may not want to visit and they should not be forced, but they will need to talk about the decision they have made.
If you are anxious about visiting yourself, try and find someone who will go with you. If you definitely do not want to visit, but your child does, you will need to arrange for someone else to take them.
There will be a lot to explain about the visit – this may be the first time your child has a real sense of where their parent is. It is best to be as truthful as possible – they may already know and understand more than you realise.
Children of any age need to be prepared for what the prison is like. It is important that you explain about the security measures: searches, locking doors, people in uniforms – even sniffer dogs. Visit rooms are all different, but they can be very noisy and busy places.
It can be helpful to visit on your own first so you know what to expect. It will also mean that you can talk through the visit with their father/mother. They should be able to give you the information you will need when planning the visit. This may include the following:
Are there play facilities in the visitors centre or prison?
What types of visits are available-is there a better time to bring children, e.g for Children’s or Family Visits
Is there anything for older children to do?
Can the children touch their father and move around?
What can the children take in, e.g. pictures, photos, letters?
What about pushchairs, nappy-changing and feeding?
If you have other questions you should contact the prison or its Visitors Centre.