This coloring book will help children discuss and understand their feelings. It can be used in educational, therapeutic, and family settings to explore loss and help maintain family cohesiveness during parent-child separation.
Children with incarcerated parents are an invisible population. There is no one agency that is responsible for them and their welfare. Nationwide, more than 2 million children have a parent who is incarcerated in state and federal prisons, and local jails (U.S. Department of Justice 2007). Since 1991, the number has continued to increase by more than 50%.
Research indicates that the loss of the incarcerated parent, especially the mother, has a profound effect on minor children and adolescents. Children retain bonds and love for parents regardless of the label attached to them by society. One study estimated that children with imprisoned parents are almost six times more likely than their peers to become involved in crime and incarcerated at some point in their lives.
These children can experience a variety of emotions including anger, isolation/sadness, fear, anxiety and guilt. These emotions or their reactions to them can lead to problems or violence, erosion of self-esteem, and “risky” or dysfunctional behaviors. Many of these children see no chance of having their lives follow paths which are different from their parents.
Psychotherapist Dr. Janice M. Beal and Federal Judge Vanessa Gilmore in their respective professions had both seen the emotional devastation in the lives of children whose parents were incarcerated. They designed this coloring book to help children discuss and and understand their feelings.This book can be used in several settings to explore loss and create treatment plans for the minor child.