If you are a parent or guardian of a child whose parent was just arrested, you must explain what happened to them in the right way. Regardless of how you feel about the situation, what you say can have a long-lasting impact on the child’s life. Your goal should be to talk to the child in a way and say the things that, while true, benefit the child the most for the long term.
Calm Child’s Fears
The child may be the most afraid of things like whether their parent is going to be hurt while in custody. The child is most likely also experiencing fear of separation from the parent. If the child is not in the detention of a trusted relative but is in the state’s custody, they may also be afraid for their safety. It is important to speak calmly and do your best to reassure the child that their parent and they will be safe.
You must strive to earn the child’s trust as soon as possible. Talk calmly and slowly yet cheerfully and reassuringly. Be careful not to lie to the child or say things you know they want to hear that are untrue. But within that, be as reassuring and comforting as possible.
Teach Child Appropriate Respect
What I mean by this is it will not benefit the child to teach them disrespect for authority or law enforcement officers. Statistics show that if they grow up angry and think badly of these things, they are more likely to get into trouble when they are older if a police officer was rough on the parent or behaved severely, explaining to the child that yes, the policeman should not have done that. Still, most police officers are not like that, which will help the child not to blame all officers or all authorities.
Most often, the officer may not have been excessive, but it may have looked that way to the child. In this case, explaining this to the child will also be helpful. Societies can not exist without police officers. If we did not have them there would be chaos and anarchy and we would all be much less safe. It is important to help the child keep that perspective as well.
If there is any way we here at McRae can be of help should you need a bail bond be sure and let us know. We care about our clients and strive to treat everyone as we would like to be treated. Be sure to give us a call at (210) 463-5561!
You may want to also check out our short post on “How To Explain A Parent’s Arrest To A Child” in that link!