To be a mother or father


It is not easy to be apart for both mom or dad and the child. But sometimes you have to think about how to change your life.

This booklet cannot cover all the issues, but it wants to start with at least some that are important to the family when they live apart.


The fact that a person is incarcerated does not mean that they are a bad mother or a bad father, and therefore the welfare of the child at this time is an important issue.

If you're a mom or dad in prison, the thought of being away from your child (every one of them, as many as you have) can be unsettling and frightening.

Many parents talk about their feelings of guilt, helplessness, even despair. Some consider ending the relationship, believing it will protect their children from future upset. This is rather an exception. Children of all ages need help to understand what happened to their parents. You are the best person to explain it.

Your relationship will change, but your child needs to know that you love her and care about her. She needs to know that she is not to blame for what happened, so maintaining contact is very important.


Perhaps the only chance for such contacts is the opportunity for the child to come and see where you are. On the other hand, a date can be more upsetting, because after it the absence and separation are even more noticeable.

Therefore, it is important to think about how to make this time as positive, warm and kind as possible. Think about how your child will feel, especially if you have to discuss things with the caregiver. Get ready to say what you want and hear what the child wants to say. A date is a good opportunity to celebrate some special events.

A phone call gives you the opportunity to talk to your child at home, even if he is still too young to talk. If you can choose the time for such a call, try to do it in a way that is most convenient for the child.

If you have a choice, don't call when the child is likely to be very tired or watching their favorite TV shows. If you think your child wants to talk to you one-on-one, arrange for the person caring for your child to arrange this.

Letters can become something very special for a child, because it is his own treasure. The same goes for pictures and photos.


Whoever takes care of your child, it is important to establish a normal relationship with this person. However, these relationships can be difficult. As a mom or dad, you may want to play a bigger role in your child's life, while that person worries about the child day in and day out. Think about what really matters to you, how your decision will affect your child, and then try to agree with this person.

You should also discuss with the person caring for your child any issues relating to your detention. It is best to be as open as possible with a child, because he can actually understand much more than we can sometimes imagine. If we ourselves are open, we thereby give the opportunity to others to tell us something that may upset or infuriate us. It is important that the person caring for your child understands what you are giggling about.

Other important people

There may be other important people in your child's life, and you should also think about contacts with them. It can be relatives, friends, girlfriends, school society. They will help you create a more complete picture of your child's life.

Problems in life and relationships can arise, but when we talk about them, it can help. Keep in touch with the child and the person who takes care of him in all possible ways, and it will be better for all of you.


One of the most difficult problems you may face when you are incarcerated is telling your child what happened.

If a child does not know where his father or mother is, he may despair because he does not understand what happened. She may think that it is impossible to ask, and therefore imagine things much worse than what happened. There is also the danger that the child will look for other ways to get answers, and those ways may not be the best.

If you talk to the child, you can calm him down. This will help the child to open up to you the problems that he may have.


There is no single right time or place to talk to your child about this. However, it is always better to do it as openly and as quickly as possible. A child can know and understand much more than we imagine.

If you have to tell more than one child about it, it's better to talk to each one separately in a way that is best understood and close to them. Every child is different, and you have to plan what, when and how to tell them.

The most important thing is that you have time to do it when you yourself are calm and have time to answer questions. It should also be convenient for the child.

It can be difficult for a child or young person to hear what you say. Some things may have to be explained several times and at other times too.

It may be better for the child to talk with another person in whom he feels trust. It can be someone from relatives, teachers, neighbors 

in etc. Sometimes children want to protect people close to them and do not want to reveal the reason for their upset to others.


Most children want to know where and why their parents are. It is important that they do not consider their parents as bad people, even if they did something wrong. They need to make sure they are safe and have a chance to talk to them. Children often think that they are to blame for what happened. They need to know that it is not their fault.

Try not to give the child too much information at once. The child needs time to understand and ask questions about what was said.

It can be helpful to talk about your feelings, because a child can have many very different emotions. It is important that she knows that it is normal to show similar emotions in such a case.

Babies and very young children are obviously not yet able to understand what has happened, but you can also talk to them like mom or dad. As they begin to understand more, you can explain what happened using simple words.

After the child has learned from you about the situation, it is important to listen to him. If she doesn't want to talk about it, don't force her. Make sure that you are for her and on her side.


Despite the fact that dad or mom is not there, try to give the child a sense of the future. Count the days until a special day - birthday, next date, vacation, etc. Some children like to keep a diary, others can simply tear off pages from a tear-off calendar.

You should talk to your child about how important it is for you both to keep in touch. With the help of letters, phone calls, dates, the child can choose how permanent this contact will be. The child needs your support and encouragement in what is important to him.


Unfortunately, you cannot prevent other people from knowing about the situation that happened to you. It is important to find time to help your child overcome the upset that other people can talk about and remind the child about. Perhaps it also makes sense to talk to some of these people so that they help the child in such cases. It can be teachers, neighbors, etc.

Living truthfully is not easy, sometimes you may need help in this. The following organizations can help you understand yourself and others with advice and participation.