Parenting While Incarcerated: Challenges Met by Two Formerly Imprisoned Parents – Emotional Pro

November 22nd, 2005

Think parenting is difficult? Try doing it under these conditions: your own parents were absent or not good role models; you've been convicted of a crime and are locked away in prison; you're struggling with addiction; you have no control over your own daily life, much less that of your children; you've lost your ability to protect your children even though you want to protect them better than you were! These are some of the conditions facing parents who are incarcerated, yet want to parent and stay connected with their children. Joseph Miles shares his personal stories, challenges, frustrations and successes in parenting his children, before, during and after being incarcerated. A no-nonsense, practical and informative show!

Segment 1: The Value of Incarceration in Parenting Children
Surprisingly, being incarcerated gave Joseph the time to think about how he was parenting his children, and how he wanted to parent them. Prior to prison, he kept them from him because of his lifestyle, in order to keep them out of danger. Once inside, he recognized he was perpetuating a cycle, with his children having an absent father and relying on their mothers or grandparents to raise them. That's when he discovered how difficult it was to parent from "inside."

Segment 2: Emotional Challenges for Parent and Children
If "The Man" puts your Daddy in jail, then "The Man" is the person toward whom children direct their anger, right? That's what Joseph noticed when he faced the frustrations of giving advice and staying connected with his four children. Hear what he did to give his children a real person toward whom to direct their anger and frustration, and his reasons for doing so, including steering them away from rebelling against authority. Hear how Joseph is working to reconcile three generations of family members through work on himself and with his children.

Segment 3: What Prisons Can Do to Build and Maintain Families
"Society needs to recognize that prison is not a substitute for ignorance," says our guest. He contends that lawmakers cannot ignore the importance of the families and children of people who are incarcerated, and need to make positive changes to help the generations maintain contact. Hear his suggestions for how prisons can help parents maintain contact with their families, their children's teachers, and have face-to-face (if electronic) real-time contact with their children as part of helping children to avoid incarceration along with parents.

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