Getting arrested might be overwhelming for you, but it can be traumatizing for children. Questions like “Where’s Dad? He said he would drop me at school.” Or “Where’s mommy and why she isn’t at home?” can be heartbreaking. Kids feel a range of emotions during their parent’s arrest. Depending on their ages, they might also be subject to the social stigma associated with arrest (like when other kids bully them for parents in jail). Undoubtedly, you can get out of jail as soon as possible with a 24-hour bail bondsman before your court hearing. However, you have to talk to your kids, so they can deal with the grief or unwarranted guilt they might feel. Whether it’s you in legal custody or a close relative, here’s everything you need to know about explaining an arrest to children.
Talking about a Parent’s Arrest Honestly and Openly
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, around 809,800 prisoners of the 1,518,535 held in the nation’s jails were parents of minor children. That amounts to an estimated 52% of state inmates and 63% of federal inmates. Some parents think there’s always a good reason for “silence.” However, studies show that children of prisoners tend to develop a negative reaction to the experience when they can’t talk about it.
How to Explain an Arrest to Young Children?
When explaining an arrest to young children, keep the conversation simple and age-appropriate. Use easy-to-understand language and avoid sharing graphic details or information that may scare or upset them.
- Focus on safety: Explain that the law is there to keep people safe, and sometimes they take people into custody only to investigate a situation. Reassure the children that they are safe and that situation does not involve them.
- Emphasize the importance of following rules: Let the kids know that the arrested person may have broken laws and that everyone needs to follow rules.
- Address feelings: Allow children to express their feelings and validate them. Explain it’s normal to feel scared or confused when hearing about an arrest, but they can always talk to a trusted adult if they have any questions or concerns.
Explaining an Arrest to Older Children and Teens:
As children get older, they may have more questions about the arrest process, and they can handle more detailed information.
- Be honest: Provide accurate information about what an arrest is, how it works, and what happens after someone is in custody. Answer questions honestly and provide reassurance as needed.
- Discuss the criminal justice system: Explain how the criminal justice system works and how a person’s guilt or innocence is determined. Discuss the significance of due process and the right to a fair trial.
- Address potential biases: Discuss the potential for bias or discrimination in the criminal justice system and how it can affect outcomes while encouraging open-mindedness.
There’s no denying that explaining an arrest to children can be challenging. However, you need to approach the conversation sensitively, if you don’t want to scar the kids mentally for a lifetime. Also, ensure to opt for a local bail bondsman to get out of custody as soon as possible because leaving your kids clueless and alone at home won’t help in any way. Also reaching out to licensed bail bondsmen for affordable bail bonds can give you enough time to prepare for your court hearing so that you can drop all the charges pressed against your name.