Teenagers Affected By Parental Imprisonment - By Guest Writer

One day my son misses his Dad... The next minute he hates him! Hate is a strong word, but he uses it in anger. Whenever my son falls out with his girlfriend, he wants his Dad. When my son needs a somewhat delicate chat, he wants his Dad. Little things that are a big deal to a teenager, he wants his Dad. His Dad isn't available most of the time. Because he's in prison. I took my son to see his Dad last week. His Dad tried breaking the silence by mentioning our son's girlfriend. But sat in earshot of a screws ( prison officer ) desk, my son was reluctant to talk so the silence and awkwardness continued. They have very little personal time to chat, and if you are a parent of a teenager, then you will know that it's like getting blood out of stone the best of times with him, so imagine what a prison visit is like? Teenagers, unlike small toddlers who prison visit, know where they are and why they are there. They know that their parent shouldn't be there and that they have broken the law. They are aware of prison officers and are wary. Simply because it is a place that isn't acceptable. When our visit is scheduled, my son makes up excuses to his friends by telling them he's ill. He won't admit that he is going to visit his Dad in prison. It's embarrassing and shameful to him. Yet he loves his Dad. Our son has sat his exams recently. Again, he wanted to tell his Dad all about it. But he isn't great at writing his feelings down on paper devising a letter to him. He's a teenager, he hasn't the patience to write when his girlfriend is in the picture. Prison phone calls? There isn't enough time for him to express himself on the phone because time is money and prison calls fritter that money away in seconds. More resources are needed for teenagers affected by parental imprisonment. My son braves his situation. But he's hurting too. How do teenagers maintain ties with a parent in prison? Please tell me!