“I just want to cuddle him” | “I don’t want to see her”
“They’re all talking about me at school” | “No one’s talking to me at school”
“I want my teacher to know” | “I don’t want the school to know”
“I’ve got so much to tell her” | “I want to see my friends instead”
“I want to talk about it” | “I don’t want to talk about it”
“I’m embarrassed” | “I’m proud of him”
“I’m sad… glad… afraid… relieved… shocked… angry… lonely…”
Children affected by parental imprisonment don’t just have one voice.
In this video, children express in their own words the different emotions they go through when visiting a parent in prison. Children with imprisoned parents are ordinary children facing unusual life circumstances. Like any other group of children, children separated from a parent in prison experience many different emotions; some even contradictory to those that other children in similar positions may feel.
Decision-makers tend to use reductionist language to describe children with imprisoned parents; putting them all in the same box. It is time to start paying attention to the children’s varying needs and wishes, to put them at the forefront of our agendas and to give them the stage to explain their reactions to parental imprisonment in their own words. It is time to start listening.