Families and Incarceration: My kids don’t want to visit dad in prison because it takes up their whole day. What can I do to change their minds?

When your husband first went to prison, the kids and you devoted every weekend to seeing him and nobody wanted it any other way. Lately, the kids have gotten busy and don’t want to take time out to see him. You can help the situation:

Remind them: Without laying on the guilt, review with them how important their visits are to their dad. Bring up a time or two when they brought him a drawing or a great report card and how happy it made him feel. Simple statements that he loves seeing them can be beneficial.

Respect them: In most cases, kids don’t want to stop their lives every weekend to go see dad. It isn’t a lot different than when kids do not want to spend nights at grandma’s anymore because they would rather hang out with their friends. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know you understand.

Solutions: Fix it. If it is sports they don’t want to miss, sign them up for a league that plays its games on weekday evenings. Sleepovers with friends can easily be done from Friday night to Saturday morning, still leaving time for the visit. Help your children identify the concerns and find workable solutions for them.

Tell dad: As hard as it is, tell him the truth. He may decide that visits once a month will work as long as he can speak to the children by phone on a regular basis.

Final thoughts:  While the visits are important to the family, the children are growing up and there may be times when it is impractical to stop life and head for a prison visit. Don’t take it personally or get angry. They are just growing and learning about life. Find solutions and compromises that everyone can work with.

You might be interested in:

A parent’s guide to surviving the teen years.

What can a local church do to help my family while my husband is in jail?



About Mark Miclette 682 Articles
writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.