My wife, the mother of my daughter, 14, has been sentenced to jail for six months for a financial crime.
I’m willing to stick by her because, though I feel she made some stupid mistakes, it was out of character.
She got herself into a bad situation and made poor decisions. She never did anything bad before this.
I’m not defending her or saying she shouldn’t serve her punishment. I told my daughter we should be glad her mother’s serving time, as she’s doing the right thing for her mistakes.
Also, her mother’s showing regret and no defense.
I’m thinking of letting my daughter visit her, and have her mother still involved with her, because she was never an absent or abusive parent.
I want to prepare in advance for her absence for the next six months.
What are some good ways for each of us to prepare for this upcoming incarceration?
My daughter seems to be taking it fine. She said it’s kind of funny that her mother’s locked up and now the one being ordered around by others.
This is weird because she never had a bad relationship with her mother. When asked what she meant, she said she was just joking.
I think it’s okay to try to crack a joke to make the situation feel less bad. It’s a better way of handling the situation than being hysterical.
Should I take her to visit her mother when she’s in jail? My wife says she can come if she wants to. But it could be a bad environment.
Also, seeing her mother in jail (which I hear is very dehumanizing) could be a bad image.
Her mom will be dressed in a jail uniform and rightfully treated like any other inmate, but that might send a "normalizing" message to my daughter.
I hear it’s a hassle to get in. Also, seeing other inmates or even police officers could be intimidating to a young girl.
What should I tell her in advance? Is it a good idea for her to ask her mother questions about all this?
Facing the Unknown
Your efforts to do the right thing in a very difficult situation for all of you, are moving to read, and I’m sure very emotional to experience.
Stay firm on your basic beliefs and approaches for everyone involved: Your wife made a mistake and is paying for it. She needs family support.
She’s hasn’t lost her right and her need to maintain contact with her daughter, and involvement in decisions about her.
You know that she acted out of character, and don’t doubt that she’s learned a hard lesson she’ll never repeat.
Your daughter needs to be assured her mother hasn’t “left” her in spirit or love. They need to email and to see each other through this time, unless your daughter has a strong emotional resistance to seeing her mom in jail.
You should all talk to a counsellor – separately and together, if possible – very soon.
A professional therapist experienced with teens will be best for your daughter, to help her vent her feelings, fears, and natural concerns regarding friends and gossip.
Her principal and teachers should be informed, and remain watchful of her well-being, as well as alert to any bullying of her. Keep contact with them.
Court services in your jurisdiction may have some social work and counselling resources for families.
You’d all benefit from reminding yourselves of the healing of forgiveness.
FEEDBACK Regarding the twice-divorced boyfriend blaming his girlfriend for all problems (October 3):
Reader – “He calls her a narcissist, yet possibly is one himself.
“A counsellor once told me that there are certain personality-disordered people who don't change, including those who are passive aggressive and/or narcissistic.
“They use anger to manipulate and control others. It’s worked for them (they believe) for possibly their entire life and they’ll probably use it going to the grave.
“She should run the other way. If it feels impossible, I recommend Will I Ever Be Free of You? by narcissism authority Dr. Karyl McBride.
“When separating from a narcissist they usually up the ante. But once one recognizes having been duped (for years, perhaps), there’s no choice except to leave.
“Rather than stay in an “insane” situation that can lead to serious health problems.
“Note: These people frequently dupe a counsellor, as well as educated mature partners.”
Learned the Hard Way
Tip of the day:
In a family crisis, showing love, support, and forgiveness is crucial for all.