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Coping Skills

How To Cope With A Loved One In Prison

Cope? You mean I should actually be able to COPE while my child is in jail? This statement will likely evoke a similar response from any parent who has ever looked for help after their child has been incarcerated.

Although it may seem impossible as you go through this difficult time, it truly is possible to cope, with the help of others. Let me show you how.

Before I jump into that let me share a bit of knowledge with you that I’m certain you can relate to:

  • It is common to feel guilt and shame and even blame yourself for what “went wrong.” This is especially true when there may be outsiders who think your parenting skills, or lack thereof is to blame.
  • Most parents consider keeping this to themselves and just figuring it out on their own.
  • You may feel like you’ll never get a handle on what’s ahead of you, especially if there is grandchildren involved that you become the caregiver of by default.
  • You’ll find that there is no shortage of information out there to help the incarcerated individual, but very little if any support and guidance for the parents who are struggling to keep it altogether.

Now for some things that may help you:

  1. First and foremost, don’t blame yourself. You are not responsible for the actions of your loved one.
  1. Follow through on your own personal goals. Don’t put your personal well being on hold. Even though it is hard to do, your life has to go on.
  1. Find close friends or other family members that you can turn to for support and understanding. Choose people you can talk to in safety.
  2. Begin to journal your thoughts, positive and negative, as a means to have an outlet.

Take a deep breath, you can and will get through this. It will take a plan and a whole heck of a lot of patience and prayer. Picking just one of the tips above to focus on at a time will start you down the right path.

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