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Ex who goes to prison, what to tell the child?

(65 Posts)
MsFrosty Tue 26-Feb-19 16:02:04

If your ex was going to prison and could be sentenced for more than 18 months, what do you think is reasonable to tell an under 10 year old? Child and ex have a regular relationship so ex being missed would be noticed. Do you tell the child the truth?

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Tue 26-Feb-19 16:03:51


What has he been convicted of? How mature is the child?

Jackshouse Tue 26-Feb-19 16:04:20

I would. It’s better for you to tell him the truth than for him to find out from somebody else.

Tirednessandmoretiredness Tue 26-Feb-19 16:04:25

I think it would depend on what he was going down for.....

Popc0rn Tue 26-Feb-19 16:05:36

My friends dad went to prison for a couple of years (for fraud), her mum told her that he was working abroad. She found out the truth when she was older and was fine with it.

That was back in the 90s though, so probably easier to lie about it then pre skype/facetime etc.

LemonBreeland Tue 26-Feb-19 16:05:40

I think these things often have a way of coming out so the child should be told.

Will the child not be visiting the prison at all?

thecatsthecats Tue 26-Feb-19 16:10:00

To be clear, is the child the ex's?

It also depends on what the crime is, to be honest. If it's the sort of crime where you would cut contact afterwards, and the child might feel some sort of abandoment, then they need to know they weren't left because of who they are.

PCohle Tue 26-Feb-19 16:12:41

I would opt for the truth to be honest. To much to explain away otherwise and too much chance of the truth coming out in a manner than might be more distressing to the child.

My view might be changed if the offence was such the father wouldn't have any future contact with the DC, even on release.

Bitterprisonwife Tue 26-Feb-19 16:14:49

Try and tell the truth as much as possible , as from experience people are cruel and take great joy about gossiping .

Chloemol Tue 26-Feb-19 16:23:05

Yes you tell the truth, you can’t justify lying to a child

Alloftheboys Tue 26-Feb-19 16:23:22

Too vague.
Depends on the charge and maturity of the child.

MsFrosty Tue 26-Feb-19 16:23:43

Offence is white collar so no danger to the public and ideally contact would resume post sentence.

MsFrosty Tue 26-Feb-19 16:24:41

Child is sensitive but also attuned to listening in on conversations so concern is that when it gets into the paper/Facebook he would hear gossip

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Tue 26-Feb-19 16:28:26

Thanks for the update.

In that case, I would be honest with the child. Say that ex did a bad thing, and that this is his punishment.

(Also if there's any risk that other kids at school find out via their parents/social media etc, he will find out any way). Best that you talk and come up with a strategy for him to deal with it.

Bitterprisonwife Tue 26-Feb-19 16:31:24

Please take care of yourself in the mean time and try not to read the newspaper / Facebook comments someone else’s sentence can effect you in ways you never dreamed xxx

ThanksForAllTheFish Tue 26-Feb-19 16:32:53

If the child is really young I know there’s a seasame Street phone app for this very thing (discovered it when searching elmo apps a couple of years ago) it’s called something like Sesame Street - my daddy’s been incarcerated. It’s obviously aimed at very young children so might not be relevant if your child is 8/9.

MsFrosty Tue 26-Feb-19 16:34:20

Just to advise child isn't mine but close to us. Both parents disagree over what to tell the child. One wants to tell the children and the other doesn't. Its very awkward but I can see both sides

pinkhorse Tue 26-Feb-19 16:35:04

My brother in law went to prison recently and my dsis told her dd (9) that he'd gone to work away.

trulybadlydeeply Tue 26-Feb-19 16:38:28

I think you have to be honest about it, and explain in basic terms. Otherwise if the child finds out from someone else it could be extremely hurtful for them. Dependent on their age you could also discuss how to respond if someone does bring it up, and who to tell if anyone is nasty about it.

Will you or your ex's family be taking the child to visit? 18 months is a long time for a child (and for a father) and the prison should be supportive and facilitate contact - many will have family days which are geared around young children.

Purpleartichoke Tue 26-Feb-19 16:39:07

My daughter is 9. She also has bad anxiety. I would still tell her the truth. You can never go wrong with an age appropriate version of the truth.

Bitterprisonwife Tue 26-Feb-19 16:39:42

Also the possibility of visits may arise , and they will be very hard to disguise as work or anything else I swore my children wouldn’t go to visit as prisons are no place for children but unfortunately once it hit the papers and people took great delight in telling my dcs which resulted in shear anxiety from both dcs about those places and the story’s they had been fed I relented and took them .

Myheartbelongsto Tue 26-Feb-19 16:40:11

My boyfriend went to prison.

I told my children that he was working away and his son the truth.

OrdinarySnowflake Tue 26-Feb-19 16:41:12

Realistically, if they don't tell why daddy has gone away, they'll have to lie as the child will notice their dad disappearing for 18 months.

Sooner or later, someone will correct them if they repeat the lie, and then they will not trust both parents. Be honest.

Disfordarkchocolate Tue 26-Feb-19 16:43:34

I think you should be honest with children when you can, especially with something she could find out herself ie if it is reported in the local paper. If he's going to be gone between 9 and 18 months she could visit him in prison.

Lovemusic33 Tue 26-Feb-19 16:50:28

I would tell the truth, if they don’t tell the child the truth it could cause a lot more damage later on when they find out family lied to them, you just tell them that daddy did something and he needs to be punished.

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