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Parenting after Dad Comes Home

parenting after prison

When Ron was in prison...

I invested heavily in my sons to help reduce the pain of living with only one parent.  I made plans to take them places so we could spend time together building wonderful memories despite Ron’s incarceration.  I was intentional about creating memories together.  Ron came home, and I must confess that I stopped working on creating individual memories and thus put all of my focus on family-centered memories.

It was really easy to slip into trap of creating only group memories. 

We had missed out on spending time with Ron for 15 years. All of our family memories outside of prison were without Ron.  So naturally, we concentrated on making memories that included Dad. Nonetheless, what I didn’t realize is that my children were missing time with Mom.

It was really easy to slip into trap of creating only group memories. 

family together after prison

What a shocking revelation that was.  My kids still needed their MOM TIME.  Especially my daughter, who was not quite 4 when Daddy came home for good. (see our story to find out how we got Bria) So, I started building Mom Time along with family time. As a side note, Ron also works on finding dedicated Dad time.  When I realized that my kids needed to connect with me as a parent as much as they needed family time and Dad time, it changed my priorities.

It was really easy to slip into trap of creating only group memories. 

Instead of always scheduling around Ron’s schedule for fun, bonding activities, I didn’t let his schedule keep us from doing things together.  I gave myself permission to enjoy time with my kids without Ron.  Sounds silly, but I struggled with guilt because he had missed so much while in prison. After I accepted that fact that I could not change the past, I could see the importance of my own investment in my children.  Furthermore, Ron and I talked through the importance of balancing our energy invested in our marriage, our family and in our children individually. Truly what a weight lifted off me!

We started the 50, 25, 25 processes for investing in our family.  That means that we equally use 50% of our family time investing in our entire family, 25% of our family time investing in our marriage, and the other 25% of our family time investing individually in our children. This approach to parenting has thus allowed us to create a healthy balance in our home.  We actively work on building memories together and creating times to bond with each member of our family.  This builds lasting connections across our entire family.

Relationships are intimate.  You cannot expect to have a close emotional connection with anyone without investing time and energy.  This is especially true with your family members. Don’t jump over them to invest in other people.  They are your first priority.  When dad finally comes home, the transition will be much easier if you continue to spend time with your kids on-on-one. The time you hold for them will help them to adjust faster to all the other changes around them as it provides continuity and security for them. This goes for toddlers as well as teenagers! Ultimately, kids need their parents’ time to feel safe and loved.

Reuniting after prison can be challenging and parenting together is a journey. Spending time together and individually will help you navigate the transition.

I am rooting for you!