Reunification after returning home is one of the biggest challenges husbands may face. Due to past experiences, the relationship of the returning father with his family, especially his wife may be complicated. There comes a major change in the role of a wife once her husband becomes incarcerated. She now has to take care of the home and her kids alone. She becomes the sole person responsible for the preservation and strengthening of the family.
The challenges that a woman faces to maintain her contact with her husband in the prison as well as make decisions on the outside helps her in becoming a strong mother and a brave person in general. One of the major responsibilities of these women is to look ahead and give a future to their children. These strong mothers are responsible for showing their children that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Mothers will be expressive by showing love and care towards their children by always keeping them hopeful for something good.
There are two ways in which mothers handle the situation with their kids at home. One of them is by directly telling the kids that their father has been incarcerated. Another way is by coming up with creative narratives about the whereabouts of their father. For example, saying that they are on a vacation or have left the city for work purpose. Both these approaches have different challenges. Certain families completely sever contacts with the incarcerated person because of reasons like financial strain, domestic abuse, or other socio-economic factors.
1. Prepare for husband’s eventual release– One of the best ways to deal with a situation like this is for the mothers to mentally and physically prepare themselves for the eventual release of their husband. This would lessen the pain of separation and them being away. Even though this coping strategy depends a lot on the length of the incarceration, it can still be a very useful strategy for those mothers that believe in looking ahead.
2. Manage relationships at home-It is very important for mothers to keep the relationships at home stable. The relationship with her child as well as the relationship of siblings with each other should be of love and care.
3. Educate yourself and your child– It is imperative to send your child to school and make sure that their mental, behavioral, and intellectual growth does not get harmed because of their father’s incarceration. A situation like this causes a great amount of stress on the child and therefore their mental growth should be in check. Also, keep yourself aware and educated about state laws involving incarcerated persons.
4. Use counseling, if required– Counseling helps a great deal when anything major like this happens in families. There are counseling groups and sessions for mothers and their children; which can be very helpful in dealing with the changes that come along with such a situation. Counseling sessions can also help you in understanding your feelings and how to cope when the father returns.
5. Be emotionally present– Always be there for your child to make a conversation. Many children go through anxiety and depression when they are separated from their fathers. Mothers make sure your children understand they can come and talk with you, so they are not hiding their emotions. The best ways to deal with problems is by talking and being present.
6. Take care of your health as well as your child’s health– The most important thing to keep in mind for mothers is to make sure that their children are healthy, both mentally and physically. Many children stop eating, become depressed, and shut down. This is when mothers can nurture their child’s mind, body, and spirit help them understand how imperative it is for them to take care of their health.
7. Making sure that your children don’t fall into bad company– By always being present for your child, a mother can monitor her children’s friends. Many kids under depression get influenced by bad company and start drinking or doing drugs.
We know that when a husband is incarcerated, the amount of emotional stress and trauma on the rest of the family members can be unimaginable. But we also suggest to mothers, to have a belief that everything will eventually be alright and explain the same to their kids. Looking ahead is a way to diminish existing pains.