How to Explain A Parent Going to Prison to a Child

An estimated 2.7 million American children have at least one parent in prison. What's more is studies say that children who have a parent behind bars are more likely to end up behind bars themselves somewhere down the line. So with that being said, it's important to handle the case of Mom or Dad going to jail correctly from the get-go and this starts with explaining to your child exactly why they're going away.

Contrary to what you might think, telling your child that Mom or Dad is going "on a vacation," "away for awhile" or "working for the government" and tip-toeing around the issue isn't the best way to handle it. For starters, it's best to be open and honest with your child about the mistake their parent made and how they have to be punished for it. And secondly, you don't want your child to hear about Mom or Dad's jail sentence in the school yard or classroom if word got out elsewhere - you want the news to come from you.

With that being said, here are a few other suggestions on how to properly handle a parent incarceration:

Having a parent behind bars is no easy thing for a child to go through. But being open and honest with the child about the situation is the best way to handle it and the best way to prevent your child from following the trend of winding up in prison themselves.