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How my Husband Raised His Children from Prison

prison blog parenting your children from prison

When Dad goes to prison, children suffer. 

They suffer the loss of their father in their lives, their homes, and their financial support.  However, just because their father is in prison doesn’t mean he cannot be actively involved in raising them.  Yes, I really said that fathers who are in prison can still help raise their children.  I will even go a step further; incarcerated fathers MUST be involved in raising their children.

Children need their parents.

They need to be connected to both their mother and their father. Each parent plays an important role in the healthy development of their child.  Being physically absent is not an excuse to be uninvolved in your child’s life.  Hence it is the reason you must do everything in your power to find a way to be involved in your child’s life.

My sons were completely devastated when their daddy went to prison.  Their entire lives were turned upside down.  My oldest son was only 4 years old.  He cried as he watched out the window and waited for Daddy to come home.  Daddy didn’t come home.  At first, I believed the lie that because Ron was in prison, he could not contribute to raising his sons.  It was the most difficult season of Ron’s entire 15 years in prison.

The boys sobbed and clung to Ron when the visits were over.

 They begged to stay with him and not go home.  I had to pick them up and carry them out of the visiting room while they wailed, “Daddy, Daddy!!  Let me stay with you!  PLEASE!!”  It was horrific.  Their pain and loss only subsided during the visits when they could connect with their father and feel his love and care for them. Then, it came crashing back when we walked out of that visiting room and back into the world where Daddy was not there.

tyro dads father in chains


We realized that we had to create a way for Daddy to be a part of their world on the outside. Our family knew we could not continue to drop the boys into a world with Daddy for a few hours,  then take them back out into the world with no connection to their father.  We decided to try something different.  And it worked! Ron connected with the boys and they began to come back to life on the outside, and they stopped wailing every time we said “good-bye” in the prison.  (Even before we changed “good-bye” to “see you next time!”)

Here is how my husband bridged the inside to the outside and raised his children from prison:

  1. He wrote to them on a regular basis.  For years.  My husband never stopped writing to them at least once a month.
  2. He found things to teach them in the visiting room that they could practice between visits.  He taught them drums, guitar, how to play chess, checkers, and read.  Later, he taught them how to shave (using a coffee stirrer as a razor 😊)
  3. He asked them about their lives—then he remembered the details they shared.  If they were interested in sports, then he would cut out pictures of sports players and send them to them.  As they got older, he would send articles about their favorite players and thus talk with them about the articles.
  4. He played games with them. He made being with him fun for them—not stressful. As a dad, Ron realized that he could lecture the boys and demand respect, or he could then engage them and earn their respect and love.  He chose the latter.
  5. He encouraged them to learn and to work hard. When they asked questions, he praised them and helped them find answers to all their questions.  He deposited a love for learning in them that helped shape their futures.

Your children thus deserve to have the healthy influence of their father in their lives.  Do not let the worst moment of his life consequently be the defining moment of their lives. Furthermore, you can learn and grow together as a family. Further, this season can be the beginning of an amazing journey to reach your dreams.  Being actively involved in raising your children together is a vital part of building a new legacy.

I am rooting for you!