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How An Arrest Can Negatively Affect Your Kids

Apr 18, 2019Blog

While adults may experience a difficult time when a family member is not home due to an arrest, children’s issues can linger longer and affect them more deeply. Depending on the child’s age, they may harbor real fears of the absent parent never returning home. Once the initial shock and fear has passed, feelings of anxiety, worry, anger, and even depression can begin to set in. Here are some ways an arrest and a prolonged stay in jail can negatively affect your kids.

Fear the Loss of a Parent

When you consider that some children can be more sensitive and emotional in their personalities, the added stress of parental separation can affect the child’s school work, their relationships with friends, and even cause behavior problems at home. Often, it is fear that is at the root of these outward symptoms. Children will naturally resist separation from parents, so when it happens – they can feel as if the world is spinning out of control.

This level of fear can manifest in physical symptoms of feeling sick, frequent nightmares, difficulty falling asleep, and catastrophic thinking.

Negative View of Law Enforcement

The children of an incarcerated parent may view the justice system as the enemy, sent to destroy their family and their happiness. They become angry and resentful towards all police officers. When young people mistrust police, they can also feel socially excluded and view the world as a hopeless and violent place. Having a frank discussion about legal and illegal behavior along with a healthy respect for the justice system may be necessary after a parent has been arrested.

As young people get older, it is vital that they understand how to behave correctly while having direct contact with a law enforcement officer. They need to know not to associate the arrest of a parent with a negative reaction to all police officers.

Shame for Their Family

A prolonged stay in jail can bring about financial issues and worries about the family’s security. While this may be a less than positive situation, children understand that it is temporary issue that can be resolved. The public stigma can cause children to feel embarrassed around peers. They may want to withdraw from social functions and physical activities. It can important for the at-home parent to keep a positive attitude and provide clear, but not critical feedback when children’s behaviors of withdrawal become apparent.

The time can be used as a learning opportunity to teach children that mistakes have consequences, and the family experience can foster strength and a greater closeness.

Rebuilding Trust with Children

Time spent in jail can break the bonds of trust between children and parents. Make sure you address any issues of guilt or abandonment by letting the children know that they are not responsible for adult behavior and sometimes everyone makes a mistake. When discussing these matters with smaller children, the details of the arrest should not be addressed. Instead, constant reassurance that everything is being done to bring the incarcerated parent home.

The rebuilding of trust with older children may start with an apology and an honest discussion of the parent’s faults. Recognize any opinions or perspectives that your child may share as valid, because there are always different ways a situation can be viewed. But, they should be reminded to keep things in perspective, as children will often take a catastrophic view on temporary situations.

Contact 8 Ball Bail Bonds to get the help you need when a loved has been arrested. Our focus is always on the family and we value responsive customer service by making ourselves available when you need us most. We work to expedite the bail process to get your loved one back home, with the family as fast as possible by leveraging our experience with Bail Bonds in Las Vegas to provide positive results.