The child with a substance abusive parent is almost always adversely affected and carries a greater chance to become addicted itself. Government data shows that since 1991, the number of children who have incarcerated parents has increased by 80% (Poehlmann & Eddy, 2013). In 2007 an estimated number of 1.7 million children had parents who were in prison (Poehlmann & Eddy, 2013). The rate of incarceration rose in the 1980s and 1990s with the change in law that changed its inclination to punish rather than reform drug offenders. Hence, the judiciary imposed greater reliance on incarcerating the drug offenders. Data shows that 1 in every 100 people in the US are in prison out of which 1 out of 30 are in the age group of 20 to 34 years who have at least one minor child (Poehlmann & Eddy, 2013).
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Behavioral and psychological problem are common among families of incarcerated parents (Poehlmann & Eddy, 2013). Research indicates that children of incarcerated parents are more likely to exhibit antisocial behavior (Poehlmann & Eddy, 2013). Parental absence, especially due to incarceration leads to economic problems and increases propensity of the children to become substance abusers themselves. The increased risk of the children to be addicted to illegal drugs makes parental incarceration a danger to them.
This paper is an elucidation of the research that has been conducted to understand the state of the children in such a family. The aim of the paper is to understand the effect of heroine abuse among parents on their families and children.
Prevalence of Children with Incarcerated Parents
Data on children with incarcerated parents is difficult to find in many countries, as the data is not abundantly available. Researchers have tried to collect data to understand the prevalence of such incidents on children in many countries. Dennison, Stewart, and Freiberg (2013) tried to find the number of children in Queensland who have parents in prison and have gone through such experience throughout their lifetime.
Further, the research also tried to find the provisions that the children received when their father/mother was incarcerated. The preliminary study of literature revealed that three questions emerge in case of North South Wales (NSW) estimates – first, is the question of generalizability of data, second, the degree of contact the children had with their parents in prison or their contact with the parent before he was imprisoned, and third, the nature of relation of the child with the primary care giver while the father is in jail. The study conducted by Dennison et al. (2013) collected data for a year from 2008 to 2009 from children in Queensland and collected data related to their entire childhood and their experience with an imprisoned father. The research questions of Dennison et al.’s study was:
How many children in Queensland experience paternal imprisonment in one year and across their childhood? What degree of contact did these children have with their father prior to his imprisonment? Who is the primary caregiver of the children while their father is in prison? (2013, p. 342)
The methodology adopted for the research was based on the male prisoners within the six-months period in five Queensland prisons such as “Brisbane Correctional Centre, Maryborough Correctional Centre, Townsville Correctional Centre, Lotus Glen Correctional Centre, and Capricornia Correctional Centre” (Dennison et al., 2013, p. 343). There were a total of 2962 intakes, of whom 36% i.e. 1055 were asked to participate in the study. Of these 1055 prisoners, 381 were rejected, as they did not have any children within the age of 0 to 17 years. And 83 prisoners were not requested to participate as the prison psychologist declared them unfit to commit them to the task due to unstable mental condition. Thus, the total of 591 men were eligible to participate in the research of which only 303 participants agreed to participate (Dennison, Stewart, & Freiberg, 2013 ).
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The study presents a clear understanding of the demographics of the fathers who participated. Table 1 shows the demographic profile of the participants in the program.
Table 1: Participants profile in the research, Source: Dennison et al., 2013.
|Age||Range||18 – 58 years|
|Current Sentence Length||Average||19.6 months|
|Number of Children||Range||1 to 9 children|
|6 to 9 children||6%|
The next par to of the research assessed the quality of the relationship of the imprisoned fathers with their children less than 18 years. Dennison et al. (2013) devised an 11-item questionnaire to collect data for the study. The first three questions asked the basic demographic questions such as their age, sentence status, and the number of children they have. Questions 4 to 7 were completed separately for each child of the participants (Dennison et al., 2013 ).
This included questions related to the “child’s birth date or current age, the child’s descent, gender of the child, and if the child was the biological or step-child of the participant” (Dennison et al., 2013 , p. 342). If the child was named as a stepchild then the participant was requested to mention how long he had been a stepfather tot eh child prior to hos imprisonment. The 8th question asked if the father was living with the child before his imprisonment, 9th question asked about the primary caregiver of the child while the participant was in prison, and 10th if the father was expected to live with the child after he is released from prison.
The 11th and final question asked the participants where they had been living before they were imprisoned. The data from the survey were subjected to a statistical analysis and two estimates were calculated: (1) estimate of number of children in Queensland who had fathers in prison for the year 2008 to 2009, and (2) number of children who had experienced parental incarceration in childhood (Dennison et al., 2013 ).
The result of the study showed that the participants had a total of 753 children of which, 54.2% were male and 45.8% were female. 80% of the participants were the biological fathers of the children (Dennison et al., 2013 ).
In case of non-indigenous fathers 80% were biological and 20% stepfathers while among indigenous parents 93% were biological father while only 6% were stepfathers. Of the responses, the study showed that 48.4% of the children lived with their fathers before they were imprisoned and 45.2% were likely to continue living with their fathers after they were released from jail, 39.3% will visit their children, and 14.3% will have no visitation right nor would they live their children. Of the father who reported that their children were living with them before imprisonment, 87.6% will continue living with them. The primary caregiver in absence of the father due to incarceration was mainly the biological mother (83.1%), grandparents (5%), other relatives (5.7%), child safety service (4.3%), and other (1.8%) (Dennison et al., 2013).
The biological mother is more likely to be the primary caregiver (88%) when the children were earlier living with their father. The study further demonstrated on the kind of accommodation that the children have experienced or are expected to experience due to their father’s imprisonment.
Consequences of Parental Incarceration on Children
Children of incarcerated parents face a lifelong stigma, which affects them in many levels. However, research in the area is scant (Phillips & Gates, 2011). With the increase of number of children with parents in prison, stigmatization is often considered to be a crucial effect on children. The present study reviews previous literature that demonstrates the effect of incarceration of a parent on the family and the children. The effects that have been identified by researchers earlier are mostly negative. Previous researches demonstrate that children of imprisoned parents are more likely to be stigmatized by peers and society that may lead to low self-esteem and inadequate self-efficacy. Children with incarcerated parents are more likely to have health and behavioral problems and are more likely to face financial problems.
Phillips and Gates (2011) studied the effect of parental incarceration on a child’s emotion and behavior or the coping mechanism of the child. They provide a “conceptual framework for understanding the process of stigmatization and discussing how it may apply to children with parents in jail or prison” (Phillips & Gates, 2011, p. 286). In order to understand the research conducted by Philips and Gates it is first important to clarify the definition of stigmatization. Stigmatization may be defined as the distinguishing or labeling especially of the negative attributes of an individual and creating an ‘other’ in general interactions thus, encouraging discriminatory treatment of the labeled individuals (Phillips & Gates, 2011).
In the current research, Phillips and Gates (2011) argue that children of parents in prison are often stigmatized and negatively labeled because of a trait that is not possessed by them personally but because of their affiliation with their parents who are stigmatized. Often, the fact of parental incarceration is concealed from children, which may have a negative impact on their belief system. Further, children too, may try to keep the truth about their parent from their immediate peers. However, when revealed they are targeted by friends and peers, which leads to school phobia and may increase isolation among children (Phillips & Gates, 2011).
Teasing and rejection from peers may increase the risk of alienation and isolation among children with incarcerated parents. Similarly, selective disclosure may also lead to supportive relationship among close friends. Further, another threat is the perception of danger that these children may pose to the society. Children of parents who are in prison are often believed to be dangerous and that they are often shunned from society. However, Phillips and Gates believe that such attitude may be altered if the perception of the parent’s crime and if they are made to believe that children are not responsible for the crimes that their parents committed and they are just the unintended victims of someone else’s crimes. Children with parents in prison often face a lowering of social status: “Studies of children with various stigmatized conditions have found that children experience devaluation and dis- crimination from many different sources, including people who are otherwise invested in children’s well-being” (Phillips & Gates, 2011, p. 289).
The awareness of children of the prevalence of social stigma associated with imprisoned parents often has a negative effect on the behavior and emotional balance of children: “Anticipation of rejection and of discriminatory treatment can be as disabling as direct encounters with overtly stigmatizing treatment because it leads to avoidance of interactions with others and of situations in which a stigmatized difference may be salient” (Phillips & Gates, 2011, p. 289).
Thus the children become alienated from normal society and mix with people where they gain acceptance. In order to avoid judgment of others and negative stigmatization they often do not seek help, and the fear of shame often destabilizes families with incarcerated fathers (Phillips & Gates, 2011). The research presents findings that show that children of incarcerated parents often have low self-esteem, negative attitude towards society, and reduces their sense of self-efficacy.
The internalization of the beliefs of negative stereotypes often leads to change in behavior of the children resulting in children adopting delinquent behavior. Dawson, Brookes, Carter, Larman, and Jackson (2013) believe that parental incarceration may intensify social stigma and ostracize the children from society: “Children with a parent in custody experience associative stigma, which occurs when a person is ostracized or fears ostracism because of their relationship with someone who is a member of a stigmatized group” (p. 4).
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Thus, the effect of stigmatization on children with incarcerated parents often affects the mental and behavioral health of the children and their capability to adjust to the imprisonment of a parent. Thus, stigmatization is considered one of the vital reasons for negative attitude towards children of incarcerated parents.
Chung (2012) studied the effect of father’s imprisonment on the economic well being of children in the US. The study was conducted on the data gathered from Wisconsin to estimate the effect of parental imprisonment on the child support and food stamp received by families with children out of wedlock. The study shows that parental incarceration reduces child financial support, which is in direct contradiction of the policies, which insists on increases child support especially of children with absent parents.
Chung (2012) tried to understand the effect of “paternal imprisonment on child sup- port and welfare outcomes” with focus on children born out of legal marriage. Children born out of wedlock was estimated to be around 40% of all children born in the US in 2010 and of these the children with parents in prison face a high risk of economic hardship. Previous research on child support of incarcerated parents depended on threefold model of “father’s willingness to pay”, “father’s ability to pay”, and the “child support enforcement” (Chung, 2012, p. 459).
The model clearly mentions that the father’s ability to pay is reduced considerably to support a child once imprisoned, as he has no means of earning money inside the prison. Further, once released from jail, his chances of getting a lucrative career also reduce considerably. Thus, the model suggests that the father’s ability to pay to support a child is reduced considerably once imprisoned. Further, the model suggests that the father’s willingness to pay towards child support may also reduce considerably once imprisoned. The reason behind this may be weakening of “family bonds, limiting fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives during imprisonment and also after release” (Chung, 2012, p. 459).
A bivariate analysis of the data from Wisconsin demonstrates that the child support received in year 4 to 5 of the paternal imprisonment is lower than that received fro the year 3 by the mother of the child (Chung, 2012). Thus, child support shows a negative effect for 4-year-old children with incarcerated father. Thus, Chung points out that father’s imprisonment will reduce child support received by families and increases food stamp benefits received by families. Further, a logistic regression analysis of the data demonstrate that families with imprisoned father with “4 year old children are 0.69 times less likely to receive child support and 0.56 times more likely to gain food stamp” (Chung, 2012, p. 459).
Thus, the research points out that impoverished families, due to paternal incarceration, may avail food stamp, which would become their safety net but for children who are unable to avail food stamp receive less childcare facility.
Health, Behavior, and Delinquency
Dawson et al. (2013) believe that children with imprisoned parents are highly susceptible to health and societal problems. Children whose parents are imprisoned may have experienced a lifestyle that is extremely hazardous and filled with adversity. The first effect that parental incarceration has on children is a physical separation of the child from the parent. Children physically separated from their parent often feel alienated and often become emotionally detached. Further, the caregiving arrangement too may be disrupted. Further, the separation from a parent is not only restricted to parental loss which is also in case of death of a parent. But parental incarceration severe the social ties and support systems: “Indeed, loss associated with parental imprisonment not only separates the child from their parent but often separates them from friends and community” (Dawson et al., 2013, p. 3).
Dawson et al. (2013) point out that the social stigma and discrimination may lead to mental health problem among children: “The labeling of these children as different can be accompanied by stereotyping and discrimination that causes stress, lowers children’s self-esteem and confidence and can potentially affect mental and physical health” (p. 4). The problems that have been usually identified among children with incarcerated parents are “disobedience, temper tantrums, destructive or delinquent behavior” (Dawson et al., 2013, p. 4). Thus behavioral problems become apparent and imminent among children with parents in prison.
Aaron and Dallaire (2010) place a high risk of delinquency of children with incarcerated parent. They believe that children of incarcerated children are usually maladjusted and are more likely to drop out of school compared to their peers (Aaron & Dallaire, 2010). Further, research has also established that boys who have lived with imprisoned parent in childhood are five times more inclined to be incarcerated themselves as compared to boys who are separated from incarcerated parents (Aaron & Dallaire, 2010). Having an incarcerated parent is a strong indicator of a child being incarcerated as an adult (Aaron & Dallaire, 2010).
The research by Aaron and Dallaire (2010) hypotheses that children “exposed to a past parental incarceration were expected to report exposure to more risk experiences than their peers whose parents have not been incarcerated” (p. 1473). The study was conducted in five cities in the US through the Children-at-risk program. The participants were interviewed and the data was collected from 1993 through 1996. The study demonstrated that children with incarcerated parents were at higher risk of being incarcerated themselves. These children showed greater delinquent behavior and family conditions were adverse in such homes: “Children who had experienced the incarceration of a parent in the last 2 years were more likely than their peers to report family conflict, and their parents were more likely to report experiences of family victimization” (Aaron & Dallaire, 2010, p. 1480).
Further, socialization of children with incarcerated parents affects their behavior. Conflict in families become rampant in incarcerated families and increases the risk of delinquency of children belonging to such families. Aaron & Dallaire (2010) point out that the effect on children may vary with the age of the children:
Differences may also exist in children who experienced parental incarceration at different ages and in families for whom various amounts of time has passed since the incarceration of a parent. Experiencing the incarceration of a parent during adolescence may be particularly disruptive to already tenuous family dynamics. Our results show that adolescents (our child participants at follow-up were 12–16 years old) whose parents have been recently incarcerated experience even more conflict within the family than adolescents whose parents have not been recently incarcerated. (p. 1484)
Thus, family and children are both adversely affected by the presence of an incarcerated father or parent. Research points out that it creates disjoint families with greater conflict. Such situation takes a negative toll on the mind, health, and behavior of children, who run a greater risk of becoming delinquent.
The risk of becoming incarcerated as adults also becomes high among such children. Further social stigma and self-stigmatization reduced sociability of children, who tend to leave school more and are reluctant to attend school due to fear of being judged and teased by peers. Further, an incarcerated father returning to the family results in family issues like domestic violence and unrest, which negatively affects children. When children are in contact with fathers and are found to be living with them after they are released from prison, results in greater social, mental, and behavioral problem of children.
Parental Incarceration and Contact with Children
Research has shown that when the incarcerated parent returns to live with the family it creates problems within the family value system and increased quarrels and violence in domestic life can result in behavioral problem among children. However, data also shows that most of the incarcerated parents after returning from prison do not co-reside with the children. This raises the question of their influence on the well being and development of the children. Though the incarcerated fathers do not live with the children they have visitation rights or other form of contact with the children. This plays a crucial impact on the development process of the child and his/her mental, physical, and psychological growth.
Geller (2013) found that contact with incarcerated fathers through visitation or residence with the children increases risk of negative effect on children. The research conducted by Geller collected data from FFCW’s population based longitudinal survey for 5000 couples.
The father-child contact was measured using reports from mothers’ and fathers’ who resided with their child. The study first aimed at gauging the incidence of incarceration among urban families and a comparison was drawn with the percentage of children with fathers with previous incarceration history and those with fathers recently incarcerated. Further, weightage was given on parental co-residence status and finding the percentage of children whose well-being would be most affected with father’s incarceration. The descriptive statistical analysis revealed that almost 28% of urban children within the age of 5 years had incarcerated fathers and 13% children were unaware of father’s incarceration history (Geller, 2013).
Further, the research indicated that more than half of the nonresident fathers were incarcerated and 12 to 15 percent of the urban children lived with incarcerated fathers. The research findings showed that in urban America, almost 10% of the fathers living with their children were incarcerated in last 2 years. Nonresident fathers were more likely to be incarcerated. 40% of the incarcerated fathers had visited their children and thus demonstrate that “incarcerated fathers and their children and suggest that incarcerated fathers have widely varying levels of involvement with and play a wide range of roles in their families” (Geller, 2013, p. 1299). Geller (2013) also points out that influence of incarcerated fathers on children cannot be undermined if the father is not a co-resident with the child:
The analyses suggest that contact between fathers and their children are undermined when fathers are incarcerated through reductions in father–child co-residence and in visitation among nonresident fathers. Although dummy variable adjustment yielded associations of slightly larger magnitudes than complete case analysis or multiple imputation, the considerable reduction in father access was statistically significant and robust across missing data strategies and, largely, across weighting strategies. (Geller, 2013, p. 1299)
Thus, the influence of incarcerated fathers is not reduced if they do not continue living with their children. The father’s influence remains through visitation or other form of contact. The effect of such interaction with the father may have certain effect on children, which is not documented or researched by previous literature.
A recent article published by Beckmeyer and Arditti (2014) studied the in-person visitation of incarcerated parents and the problems it causes to the development of children of incarcerated parents. They used data from 69 incarcerated parents and tried to establish an association between visitation frequency and the problems of children of the offenders faced. The factors that are studied in this rested are offender-child closeness, quality of offender-caregiver relationship, and offender parenting distress. The study demonstrates that the frequency of visitation of the incarcerated parent causes problems that are associated with the perception of the offender’s family relations and his previous parenting experience (Beckmeyer & Arditti, 2014).
When offenders are found to be less close to their children, visitations may cause problems but shows no relation with the relationship with the offender’s relationship with the child’s caregiver (Beckmeyer & Arditti, 2014).
The problem in in-person visitation with the child arises when the incarcerated parent fails to show warmth and love in his brief interaction with the child: “problematic in-person visits impede offenders’ ability to engage in warm, supportive, and responsive parenting” (Beckmeyer & Arditti, 2014, p. 144). Hence, the relation between visitation and problems of children of incarcerated parents depends on the quality of the visits and interactions. The research also demonstrates that the frequency of visitation is unrelated to the quality of incarcerated parent’s relationship with the children or with their caregivers (Beckmeyer & Arditti, 2014). Hence, the research findings of Beckmeyer & Arditti (2004) point out that clsoe family relationships can be established by just how often the families visit the incarcerated parent in prison:
These findings suggests that the ability to maintain close family relationships during incarceration likely depends upon more than just how often family members visit. For family relationships it does seem that quality not quantity is the standard, highlighting the complexity of visitation processes. Higher quality visits (i.e., those that are perceived as less problematic by offenders) appear to facilitate offenders’ feelings of closeness with their children, but the frequency of visits does not. (Beckmeyer & Arditti, 2014, p. 144)
With regard to the more frequent visitations with incarcerated parents and less problematic relation between offender parent with the child results in a reduced stress in parenting activity however with no apparent relationship with co-parenting (Beckmeyer & Arditti, 2014). Thus, in term of parenting outcome, both quality and quantity of visitation is found to be of significance. Hence, the practical implication of the research is that if offenders are kept in close contact with his family with greater number of visits from family and children and quality visitation time will result in less disrupted relation and problem for both the incarcerated parent and the family:
Programs that desire to increase the closeness between offenders and their children as well as reduce offenders’ parenting stress should focus on providing visit experiences that reduce potential problems. For example, family-friendly visits often feature relaxed rules and visit environments that are more conducive to normative family interactions. (Beckmeyer & Arditti, 2014, p. 146)
Thus, quality and quantity of interaction with the incarcerated parents will help children to cope with the self-stigmatization and dismiss the communication gap within families. A child who has greater contact with the incarcerated father is better adapted to the situation of his/her family. However, this may depend on the perception of offense committed by the parent and the duration of the imprisonment term.
Coping with Incarcerated Parents
As children of incarcerated parents face a greater risk to become social and emotional pariahs due to negative socialization, it is important to provide them with proper care and counseling to face the situation. Incarcerated families find it exceedingly difficult to parent their children from inside the prisons. There are increasing numbers of children with incarcerated parents who are forced to grow up in foster care, grandparents, relatives, or other places. However some of the solutions that the researchers have provided to help parents and families to cope with the situation are worth motioning.
Many researchers have tried to devise proper methods and counseling strategies to help children cope with the situation of incarcerated parents (Keen, Oliver, Rowse, & Mathers, 2000; Mapson, 2013; Lopez & Burt, 2013 ; Muth & Walker, 2013; Miller et al., 2013). Some researchers like Muth and Walker (2013) believe that fathering while in prison necessarily go dormant and discusses the case of one incarcerated father who had maintained contact with his daughters for 18 long years through a daily journal that he kept.
The study is an existential/phenomenological treatise of the temporal contact that an incarcerated father had with his daughter and through this case points out to certain beliefs. The study shows that “parenting and literacy programs can respect the temporal ground of learning through projects involving collaborative biographical writing and testimonials” (Muth & Walker, 2013, p. 302).
This indicates that the process of writing a journal helps opening the temporal space and connects the past to the future, helping in creation of a trajectory that connects the two. The idea is therefore to establish a connection with the narrative self that is formed through the autobiographical writing. Second, autobiographical writing helps to “establish safe spaces and performative structures” (Muth & Walker, 2013, p. 303). Thus, the third is initiated from the second, which establishes that autobiographical writing process helps in development of a space in the prison that is separate from the prison life, thus, enhancing the qualitative connection between the reprobate father and his children or family. Thus, educating and writing programs help in making incarcerated adapt to their situation and connect to their children on a temporal level.
Mapson (2013) also suggested parent education in prisons helps in “reducing the negative consequences of children having an incarcerated parent” (p. 174). These programs are equipped to develop skills necessary to reduce reoffending and helps the parents to reunite with their children once they leave prison. Further, policies of prisons have an effect on the parenting of incarcerated parents. Parents in prisons are now allowed to meet their families and children however, many parents whose children are brought under the foster family’s care are prevented to meet their children:
Several barriers exist for incarcerated parents with a child in foster care when organizing visitation, mainly due to lack of coordination between the two systems. Fewer children live in foster care than with the other parent or another relative when a parent is incarcerated, suggesting that contact with an incarcerated parent is a decision made by a family member versus a judge. (Mapson, 2013, p. 174)
Further, incarcerated parents who return to normal life often face societal barriers to reestablish themselves in their normal lives. Initially probation or parole hinders free mingling of an incarcerated parent with his family. Further, financial stability and getting a job becomes a problem for such offenders. Further, incarcerated mothers are more likely need for care after they are released from prison, as they have to “return home to child caretaking responsibilities, usually as single parents” and low earning capability (Mapson, 2013, p. 175).
Another research by Lopez and Burt (2013 ) point out a 6-week counseling program for children with incarcerated parents. This will help the children to cope with the social and psychological problems that their unique position poses. Child welfare and intervention in maintaining the child’s safety and allowing an uninterrupted development process to the children is essential and the program set by Lopez and Burt (2013) is expected to help them face the social and emotional instabilities.
Keen et al. (2000) studied the effect of a family based treatment of a heroine addict parent. The study demonstrates that parents of children who are substance abusers have immense effect on the well being and the emotional stability of the children. The result demonstrates that the family and substance abuser interaction has a higher degree of influence on the treatment outcome of the heroine addict parents than abstinence based programs. Miller et al. (2013) demonstrates that the adverse effect of parental incarceration on families and children can be reduced and controlled to a great extent through positive level of family functioning, positive parenting of the caregiver, and depression symptoms of the caregiver has a strong effect on the coping mechanism of the children of incarcerated parents.
The effect of parental incarceration on children is severe as children of such parents face social, financial, mental, and behavioral problems. The current research has studied previous research papers to develop an understanding of the degree of effect of parental incarceration on children and families and how such problems can be countered using policy tools and counseling. It is believed that the problems that children of incarcerated parents face can be generalized to the problems faced by substance abusers, especially those who have been imprisoned due to substance abuse. In case of substance abusers it should be understood that adults are addicted to the illegal drug that creates disconnect with their family or children.
The process of incarceration can become a means of establishing the lost ties of the addict parent to their family. The researches that are adopted for the study are those of incarcerated parents who may have been substance abusers or were incarcerated for some other acts of crime. Disconnect between them and their children are huge and the aim of the researchers was to establish a bridge to fill in the gap. Thus, a parent who is an heroine addict and has been incarcerated fro the same may influence the child to become an addict and/or be incarcerated later in life.
The paper identifies various means that can be employed to counter the means of parenting for parents who are incarcerated and help in adjusting to the duty of parenthood once they leave prison. Similarly, substance abusive parents are alienated from their family and once they are back from prison or rehab they need to create connection between their past and future in order to fit into their familial duties and responsibilities.
The means of creating such connection can be through educating parents and proper counseling. The education process, as was observed in the case study by Muth and Walker (2013) that in order to create a connection between the incarcerated parent’s past, present, and future it is essential to create and maintain a connection with himself and his reality. Though, the incarcerated parent may not be allowed contact with the outside world, or even the family, but they should be encouraged to remember and document their emotions, feeling, life, and loved ones in an autobiographical journal that would help them to retain the connection with their absent family.
This process can be replicated in case of parents who are substance abusers in rehab or in prison. This is a process that would help the parents to positively commemorate their family and loved ones, and enhance the quality of their interaction. Counseling of the children who have lived or are living in a family with incarcerated parent is also necessary to help them adjust to their social environment. Financial well being of the children of drug-addicted parents is a problem that the policy makers must undertake. Further, children with incarcerated parents often face problems of adjusting to their school or societal life. Counseling and community support groups may be helpful in facilitating them to adjust to such situations.
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