In jails across the country, there are people who are arrested and detained for various crimes. Their children also suffer with them as they face hardship and developmental risks as consequences of the crimes their parents have been accused of. Sadly, these children are affected developmentally, through relationship and security. Aside from the children, the people left to care for them are also affected. Based on research, children with parents in jail are exposed to risks such as behavioral problems, substance use and abuse, truancy, academic failure and criminal behavior as a juvenile or adult. These risks increase due to change of guardianship, poverty and the way their parent’s case may be progressing.
Most parents who are held in jail have contact with their children, but there are those who are unable to communicate with their offspring. This may be due to the age of the children and the concern that children do not understand the situation or may develop a negative or withdrawn attitude towards their parents when they visit in jail. There are factors that affect the type of contact and relationship children have with their parents, such as jail policies, the condition of the jail and the length of the parent’s stay in jail, as well as he distance between the facility an their home.
How Parents In Jail Affect Children
Here are a few ways children are affected when their parents are detained in jail and unable to post bail due to financial restrictions. However, if parents opt for bail bond assistance, such problems could be avoided, because “bail exists to still allow you to keep your freedom until trial,” says Bail Bonds DIRECT. So parents can still care for their children while preparing for their case.
Emotional issues that develop due to parents being jailed can also lead to physical problems. Some children suffer from anxiety associated with sleepiness, and those that witnessed the arrest often suffer from panic attacks from time to time. Other children suffer from eating disorders resulting in serious health conditions.
Emotional problems are developed quickly in children when their parents are jailed. Most of the time, children develop a certain level of anger at their parent or the police and other authorities. The most common emotions felt by these children are guilt, fear, sadness and loneliness. In the long run, these emotions may stick with children thus leading to a decrease in self-esteem along with uncontrollable violence.
Once children are affected emotionally and physically, and when they get no solid parental support at home, they tend to neglect their studies. They start to fail academically with changes in their behavior that can sometimes lead to suspensions or expulsions.
When parents are in jail, their children are often drawn into a life of crime too. They tend to participate in risky activities, join gangs and experiment with illegal activities. Sadly, as they grow older these children might also find themselves behind bars one day.
Children whose parents are in jail find it somewhat difficult to socialize. They become awkward, shy and embarrassed by their parents’ situation. In fact, some children are bullied by this and they either become violent or withdrawn in society.
Valerie Howards is a freelance writer specializing in criminal cases, bail bonds, the latest apps and devices used in legal issues and offers legal information about sex crimes.