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When a family member, such as a mom or dad, goes to prison, it can be very difficult for everyone involved. For some children, the experience could be emotionally devastating or even traumatic. For others, it may be less serious, and sometimes even a relief. The overall experience and impact of the child depends on the child's age, understanding of the situation, and reactions of others - particularly their family members.

Children may experience different feelings, multiple feelings at once,or one after the other in sequence. Sometimes these are feelings of sadness, guilt, fear, disbelief, anxiety, anger and/or powerlessness. It is important to help children understand and work through their feelings.

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