1. How having an absent parent and a constant criminal influence affect a child physically and emotionally?


How can absent parents affect their child negatively? (Present and future) 


  • The child has both physical and emotional needs that the parents have a responsibility to Both are obviously of vital importance. Often, however, a child may be well provided for in a material sense, but utterly deprived of emotional nurturance; this can be regarded as a form of child abuse. This places the child in a state of psychological conflict, even turmoil.  He may be grateful on the one hand (for having his material needs met), but angry and hurt on the other (due to emotional deprivation).
  • The adult who has experienced a childhood such as described above is likely to repress, or shut off from, his emotions as he has learned they will be dismissed as unimportant ( due to the fact that they were invalidated by the parent). There can be a sense of emotional numbness, or of being ’emotionally dead’.
  • Just as ‘avoidant’ parents have developed their maladaptive attachment style as a result of their early life insecure attachments to their own parents, the children of ‘avoidant’ parents are at risk of themselves developing a maladaptive attachment style which, further down the line, will inevitably adversely affect their own children and so on and on…In this way, insecure / maladaptive attachment styles may be passed down through several generations unless this relentless cycle is broken by effective therapeutic intervention.


 How can frequently absent parent differentiate from a completely absent parent? 


  • After parental separation, a consistent relationship between child and both parents is best. A parent entering and leaving a child’s life can be disruptive for the child and for the life of the other parent. Some folks may feel that upon being absent for some period of time, the absent parent should not be allowed back into the child’s life.
  • In some situations, the active parent has remarried and the new partner has formed a meaningful and significant attachment to the child. The re-introduction of the absent parent, therefore, threatens to not only cause emotional turmoil to the child, but maybe a perceived threat to the relationship between child and new partner. Needless-to-say, there can be a tangled web of intense feelings on all sides.
  • Generally speaking, the social science literature supports the notion that children fare better in the long run with secure attachments to both parents. This is true even in the face of many parental difficulties, but assuming that neither parent is outright abusive. In the case of an absent parent wanting to re-enter a child’s life, it may be difficult to determine what is best for the child.


Can being surrounded by constant criminal activity draw children to crime? And Do criminals often become abusive parents?

  • In general, children of criminal parents are more than twice as likely to exhibit criminal behaviour themselves. The journal Aggression and Violent Behavior published the results of a study led by Sytske Besemer about the intergenerational transfer of criminal behaviour. Besemer subjected 23 samples in 25 publications to a systematic review and these included data from 3,423,483 children. She performed research at the University of California at Berkeley with Rubicon funding and is now a criminological researcher at Uber in San Francisco.
  • The research revealed that children of criminal parents had a 2.4 times higher chance of falling into crime than children without criminal parents. After the figures had been screened for other factors – such as socioeconomic status, family size, teenage parenthood, conflict with parents, level of education enjoyed, and child abuse – the chance that children with criminal parents break the law was still 1.8 times higher.

  • Researchers at Cambridge University's Institute of Criminology found that if children had a convicted parent by the time they were 10 that was the "best predictor" of them becoming criminal and anti- social themselves.Half of all convictions notched up by those in the study were accounted for by 6 per cent of the families while 10 per cent of the families involved accounted for nearly two-thirds of all convictions.
  • The research, published in the journal Legal and Criminal Psychology, concluded: "A convicted family member influenced a boy's likelihood of delinquency independently of other important factors such as poor housing, overcrowding and low school attainment."


What is Willful Abandonment?

  •  According to Washington state statutes, abandonment can occur when a parent or guardian physically abandons the children, and leaves the children without food, water, or shelter. More frequently, abandonment is less literal and occurs when a parent either leaves for a long time without contact, or refuses to exercise any of his or her rights, duties, or obligations as a parent.


Questions From My Peers:

If one parent projects hatred towards the other parent, will that child take on that hatred?

  • For the child, parental alienation is a serious mental condition, based on a false belief that the alienated parent is dangerous and unworthy. The severe effects of parental alienation on children are well-documented—low self-esteem and self-hatred, lack of trust, depression, and substance abuse and other forms of addiction are widespread, as children lose the capacity to give and accept love from a parent.

How prison sentences can lead to a divorce, how that could ruin a child?

  • Young children often struggle to understand why they must go between two homes. They may worry that if their parents can stop loving one another that someday, their parents may stop loving them.
  • Grade school children may worry that the divorce is their fault. They may fear they misbehaved or they may assume they did something wrong.
  • Teenagers may become quite angry about a divorce and the changes it creates. They may blame one parent for the dissolution of the marriage or they may resent one or both parents for the upheaval in the family.

  • Having a parent in prison can have an impact on a child’s mental health, social behavior, and educational prospects.1The emotional trauma that may occur and the practical difficulties of a disrupted family life can be compounded by the social stigma that children may face as a result of having a parent in prison or jail.2 Children who have an incarcerated parent may experience financial hardship that results from the loss of that parent’s income.3 Further, some incarcerated parents face termination of parental rights because their children have been in the foster care system beyond the time allowed by law4 or have questions about child support. These children require support from local, state, and federal systems to serve their needs.
  • Children of incarcerated parents may also face a number of other challenging circumstances. They may have experienced trauma related to their parent’s arrest or experiences leading up to it.5Children of incarcerated parents may also be more likely to have faced other adverse childhood experiences, including witnessing violence in their communities or directly in their household or exposure to drug and alcohol abuse.

 What happens to children whose parents are put in jail? Where do they go and who takes care of them? What happens if only one parent is incarcerated? Both? What happens to the custody of the child?

  • A family member would petition the court for Guardianship. This can be done by any adult family member including a sibling. The parents can nominate a particular family member to be the guardian. It would be prefered if all the children could stay together with one guardian otherwise there would have to be separate proceedings for each child.
  • The guardian makes all the decisions a parent would, i.e. where they live, school, medical decisions. The parent's rights don't end but they are sort of suspended for the duration of the guardianship. The only way to sever the parent child relationship is if the children were adopted (difference process).
  • Once the parents are out of jail, they can petition the court to "terminate" the guardianship arguing it is no longer necessary. Depending on the reasons they were in jail and the current situation the court may not grant the termination.


Original Post

Hello Sienna,

This was a very informative second round of research, there was quite a lot of information to digest. I really liked the amount of information that was given, in just about every paragraph there was some sort of statistic or fact. I really loved the way you structured your round as well, though possibly for your next round you could include and beginning intro sort of thing, explaining what you are researching and what your general topic is as well as it helps with understanding just what you will be reading, as well as probably a conclusion explaining your next round so people can look forward to your future posts. I also loved the inclusion of links within your text, which I haven’t seen anyone else do. Overall, your post was very enjoyable and I’m looking forward to reading your upcoming post!

A few websites that may be of use to you:

Hey Sienna!

Great job on your post! As Bogdan said, you included a lot of information and I think you did a good job of including the most pertinent aspects of your research.  I also enjoyed how you answered other people's questions in such depth; it was nice to see a sort of FAQ section in your post. 

It may be interesting to see if you can try to find someone whose parents were incarcerated when they were children and see if they can be a primary source of information for you - I think that would be really cool!

Here are some sources that may be of use to you:


Great job and good luck with your next round!

Add Reply