Psychological effects on children of incarcerated parents
Children form incarcerated parents are associated with poor health in their childhood and young adulthood as they lack maximum parental care (Jonson-Reid 2013). There is an underlying mechanism that links the history of parental incarceration with poor social and mental outcomes which may include lack of safe, stable, and nurturing relationship with the complete family. Most of these children are associated with violence exposure and a defense mechanism against guilty of family disconnection due to incarceration. This paper, therefore, examines the psychological effects parental incarceration on children with a discussion on the effectiveness of strategies laid and programs intending the effects of parental incarceration. Children and young adults are reported to have a considerable physical and mental consequences as associated with parental incarceration.
Parental incarceration may affect children in that they may lack a person to emulate due to fear of taking their parents’ behavior that led them to prison. Parents are supports to be role models for their children. Children will often follow the behavior path of their parents. This may not take the direct parental path but children will always wish to achieve their parental mileage. Behavior adaption between a parent and a child have shown to be common within the family, with the parent setting pace for family mental and behavioural development (Gabel and Johnston 2012). The common constant changes experienced by the children of incarcerated parents include loss of parental connection, financial instability, and depression among others (Dallaire 2010). The mixture of the experienced changes and the child’s impulsive nature increases the chances of causing offensive that may also lead to imprisonment of the child.
The children experience stigmas and labels placed on them making them become juvenile offenders, causing trouble in the society. The formed stigmas on the incarcerated children become difficult to eliminate from the formed characters. Stigmatization occurs when an individual or an offender becomes discredited in the society due to their status. According to information generates by a growing interdisciplinary body of literature, the exposure of children to parental is associated with the observed negative outcomes of the mental and psychological development of the children. Among the problems associated with parental incarceration to the children include economic disadvantage, residential mobility, disruption of primary caregiver to the children exposure of the children to non-biological parental figures, and stigma. Parental incarceration has also been associated with increased risks for violence experience at the home settings, diverse types of violence, as well as elevated post-traumatic stress symptoms (Dallaire 2010).
A child experiencing such difficult moments and experiences that basically happens in the absence of safe, stable, and a relationship that nurtures developmental behaviors and unconducive growing environment usually increases the vulnerability of a child risk during the major developmental stages ("Historical Statistics on Prisoners in State and Federal institutions, Yearend 1925-1986). Parental incarceration effects to a child cause an increase in the risk of short-term and long-term physical and mental health problems. Others were recorded to be arrested due to harassment and mistreatment of their children. In such cases, many children have experienced difficulties associated with lack of parental care, especially at their younger age. This may develop depression and lack of sense of belonging, leading to mental and psychological problems due to stress and depressions.
In most of the time, mothers are not in a position to provide full caregiving to the children after the father is imprisoned. Poverty and life difficulties are always associated with cases of incarceration of either both or one of the parents. Protecting children without the knowledge of their parent’s arrest may psychologically harm them, destructing their developing ability. Children are faced with trauma associated with parental separation, which may even grow worse due to the provision of information concerning the parental arrest and the period of arrest. Conspiracy of silence, which is basically the theory of failure to disclose the arrest information to the children is considered to work on younger children. However, mature and grown-up children, especially at the teenage, are required to have full information about their parental incarceration.
However, this children may require much care and advice from counselors to control their behavior and maintain a positive attitude toward their parent despite the happening of the incident. There are also long-term effects faced by children of incarcerated parents which usually affects the developmental process of children. According to U. S. Department of Justice report released in 1994, about 6 percent of women arrested are pregnant during the time of their incarceration. However, only a few prisons will allow mothers to keep their children during this period. After the arrest of a parent, programs that ensure maximum follow up of the family especially children performance should be enhanced to prevent psychological effects associated with stress, trauma, and depression. Works Cited Children & Families of Incarcerated Parents: Arrest Sub-Committee Preliminary Report.
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