Talking to kids about an incarcerated parent

Alan Yellin, PhD Psychologist, shares advice for parents on how to best tell their children that their parent has been put in jail
Parenting Tips | Telling Kids About An Incarcerated Parent
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Talking to kids about an incarcerated parent

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It's never an easy conversation to tell a child that their parent is incarcerated, but it is important to be honest about it. I usually suggest that the parents sit down with the child and say, "I want to tell you that mommy or daddy can't spend time with you because they are in jail or they are incarcerated right now." I also think it's a good idea to let the child know why. That is, they did a bad thing, or they got into trouble for something, but there are still ways that the child can communicate with that parent. If a phone conversations are allowed, the child may want to talk on the phone. The non-incarcerated parent may wish that the child write a letter to the incarcerated parent, just so that the child knows that there is a parent in their life. There is a reason that they can't be seen. Hopefully, if it turns out, that the parent will be able to get out and see them, some day.

Alan Yellin, PhD Psychologist, shares advice for parents on how to best tell their children that their parent has been put in jail

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Alan Yellin, PhD

Psychologist

Dr. Alan Yellin is a licensed psychologist as well as licensed marriage and family therapist.  He has been in practice for over 30 years working with children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Yellin did his post-doctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. In his practice, he sees children with learning problems, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fears and social skills issues. Additionally, he has a sub-specialty in working with children from divorced families as well as helping parents deal more effectively with their divorce. Dr. Yellin’s practice also includes working with adolescents and adults with depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive issues as well as issues around life passages. Dr. Yellin believes that therapy works best when the client and therapist have a collaborative relationship as they explore thoughts and feelings and work towards solutions, and uses a combination of scientific data along with humor to help people achieve change. He is in a long-term happy marriage and has two grown children.

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