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How to Involve Your Partner in Parenting While They’re In Prison

If your partner’s been sentenced to prison, you might feel a whole mixture of different emotions. You might be angry with them or angry on their behalf. You’ll likely also be worried and anxious about how you’ll manage without them – financially, practically, and emotionally.

Parenting from Prison

If you want your partner to remain involved in your children’s lives, then it’s important to help them maintain a role as a parent. Obviously, you need to be sure that your partner is happy with this, too.

Here’s how to involve your partner in parenting while they’re in prison.

Keeping in Regular Contact With Your Partner (e.g. in Indiana)

The most crucial thing you can do to help your partner to stay connected with your kids is to keep in regular content. If you can’t afford to take phone calls from prison, then write regular letters. Let your partner know how often you’ll be able to write (e.g. weekly).

Where possible, let your kids talk to your partner on the phone too or include their writing or drawing in your letters. Even if you have a very young child who can only produce a scribble, it could mean a huge amount to your partner to receive it in prison.

What if you’re not sure which prison your partner is in? You can look them up online using just their name. There are databases of prisoners available for every state. For example, in Indiana, start searching here for inmates.

Letting Your Partner Know What’s Happening in Your Kids’ Lives

When you’re solo parenting, you’re likely highly focused on your kids and your family’s survival. You may not have much time to update your partner on events in your kids’ lives – but try to include some news where possible.

For instance, you might let your partner know that your daughter has started playing for a soccer team, that your son got 10/10 for his spellings for the first time, or that your kids had their school photos taken. Even small bits of news can mean a lot to your partner.

Taking Your Kids to Visit Your Partner

Take your kids to visit your partner as often as you can, if they’re allowed to visit. Physical face-to-face contact will mean a huge amount to them and to your partner too. There are lots of non-profit organizations out there that work to facilitate visits between kids and parents in prison.

Make sure your kids know what to expect and how to behave when visiting. You may want to call the prison or look on their website in advance so you know what to prepare for. For instance, you and your kids may need to avoid certain types of clothing.

If it’s not possible for you and your kids to visit in person, look into “televised” visits so you can visit virtually.

Encourage Your Partner to Take a Parenting Skills Program or an Educational Course

Some prisons offer certain programs for prisoners, such as Parenting Inside Out, which is for incarcerated mothers and fathers. If your partner is willing to engage with a parent, this could help give them the support and encouragement of fellow parents, as well as building their skills to help them connect better with their kids.

You may also want to encourage your partner to continue studying while in prison. If they have access to educational courses, this can help boost their employability after release – plus it’s a constructive way to spend time.

Helping your partner to stay involved in parenting while in prison could be very challenging, but also very worthwhile. It helps your kids to feel more secure and it could mean the world to your partner too.

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