Going through a government investigation or going to prison, especially with the added responsibility of a family and children, presents a unique set of challenges. Not having a family during my time made my path easier. Alec Burlakoff, my partner, however, navigated this journey with young children, and his insights are invaluable for those facing similar circumstances. With hopes that is helps you we want to offer advice about parenting in prison.

Embrace Transparency When Telling Your Children

Alec’s approach to breaking the news to his children was thoughtful and considerate. He chose familiar and safe environments for these difficult conversations, ensuring his children felt comfortable. His strategy was to be honest yet reassuring, preparing them for the upcoming changes without overwhelming them with unnecessary details. This approach helped his children process the situation and built a foundation of trust and resilience.

When to Have Critical Conversations About Parenting In Federal Prison

The timing of when to tell your kids is crucial. In an era where information is readily available, it’s important to be honest with family members, especially children. Alec chose to be transparent about a month after his indictment, a decision that stemmed from the palpable tension at home. He prepared his children for a realistic outcome by avoiding sugarcoating the situation rather than creating false hope.

Setting Realistic Expectations:

Alec’s experience underscores the importance of managing family expectations realistically. Setting a higher expectation and then receiving a lesser sentence can feel like a significant relief rather than the devastation of an unexpectedly harsh federal prison sentence. This approach not only prepares the family for a range of outcomes but also fosters resilience and trust. The Power of Responsibility: Leading by Example Post-offense conduct is another critical aspect. Alec’s decision to accept responsibility and avoid blaming others set a positive example for his children. It taught them the value of owning up to mistakes and working proactively towards improvement. This behavior helped in his personal redemption and instilled important values in his children.

Visitation With Your Children In Federal Prison

Parenting in prison can be a a complex issue and so can visiting in prison. Alec chose to have his children visit him, which he believed was beneficial for maintaining their relationship. He emphasizes, however, the importance of ensuring these visits are positive experiences. Preparing for visits, engaging in shared activities like reading the same books, and maintaining a positive demeanor are crucial for ensuring that these visits support rather than harm the children’s well-being.

Parenting In Prison: Staying Connected

Communication Strategies Behind Bars Communication with family while in prison is vital. Regular phone calls and emails help maintain a sense of normalcy and connection. Alec’s strategy of writing letters in advance and ensuring daily communication with his children played a significant role in maintaining their relationship.

Resisting Temptation In Federal Prison

Staying Focused on Family and Future Finally, resisting temptation in prison is crucial. Engaging in prohibited activities like using a cell phone can have severe consequences, including losing privileges and elongating the sentence. Staying focused on the end goal and maintaining consistent, positive communication with family members is essential.

Setting the Tone for Family From Federal Prison

Our tone as parents and leaders during these challenging times significantly impacts our children. Being honest about our mistakes, demonstrating a commitment to improvement, and maintaining open communication are crucial to navigating this journey successfully.

Engage with Our Community: Discussion Questions

  1. How do you plan to approach the conversation with your children about your situation?
  2. What strategies will you use to maintain a strong relationship with your children during your absence?
  3. How can you prepare your children for the changes while you are away?
  4. What support systems do you have for your children during this time?
  5. How do you plan to continue being a positive role model for your children despite your circumstances?

For those facing similar challenges, please schedule a call with Alec. His experience and insights can be a valuable resource in your journey.

Justin Paperny