My 19 year old son went to jail. I feel like I didn't manage to raise my children. That I have to do?

Updated on : January 17, 2022 by Rylen Spears



My 19 year old son went to jail. I feel like I didn't manage to raise my children. That I have to do?

She says she feels like she was unable to raise her children. I wonder if that feeling was triggered by real evidence when one of his sons went to jail. I hear many people say that it is his fault because he is an adult. It's amazing how quickly someone can go from being an abused child where there could be compassion to a full adult (even if they are still a teenager!) Where everything is now in them.

It would be good to discuss your feelings with a counselor. You may find that there are reasons to feel like a bad parent, but there are still things you can do to help your child.

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She says she feels like she was unable to raise her children. I wonder if that feeling was triggered by real evidence when one of his sons went to jail. I hear many people say that it is his fault because he is an adult. It's amazing how quickly someone can go from being an abused child where there could be compassion to a full adult (even if they are still a teenager!) Where everything is now in them.

It would be good to discuss your feelings with a counselor. You may find that there are reasons to feel like a bad parent, but there are still things you can do to help your child.

One of my brothers went to jail as a teenager and got into all kinds of trouble. Probably more than the other four. But my mom almost never took responsibility. She said “I feel like a bad mother” but she was only looking for people who would tell her that I was not. The house was extremely dysfunctional. Mental illness and alcoholism predominated. My mother, especially, would abandon parenting during adolescence. When my brother and sister were teenagers, she simply moved to another state, leaving them in the house she was renting. She found me a boyfriend when I was 14 years old (he was 19) and she would regularly sneak me out to meet him (my stepfather would not allow me to meet anyone). She bought me and my teenage friends alcohol and drugs (if she could get some money and some alcohol). Now I suspect the boyfriend was paying her. I moved to escape abuse at 15 and got married when I was 17 (divorced at 18). My mom was constantly moving us, there was no type of ground connection. My brother who went to jail ended up dying at the age of 25. He was walking down the interstate very early in the morning and was hit by a car. Even then, my mom tried to avoid any sense of responsibility by telling us that the autopsy said there were no drugs or alcohol in her system so we could feel better knowing this was just an accident. Well, I couldn't believe that so I found the police report and found out that I was walking with a friend. Their car got stuck in a fence on the side of the road and when the car stopped moving they thought it had run out of gas so they walked. My brother only had one shoe. Then a car came suddenly, the friend jumped out of the way, my brother was injured. When the police arrived, the friend did not know his name, only a nickname, and it took a great deal of investigation to find his identity. Obviously, the autopsy said that he had a lot of drugs and alcohol in his system. Poor brother of mine, I loved him very much. My other brother died a few months later at the age of 28 from a heroin overdose. the friend jumped out of the way, my brother was injured. When the police arrived, the friend did not know his name, only a nickname, and it took a great deal of investigation to find his identity. Obviously, the autopsy said that he had a lot of drugs and alcohol in his system. Poor brother of mine, I loved him very much. My other brother died a few months later at the age of 28 from a heroin overdose. the friend jumped out of the way, my brother was injured. When the police arrived, the friend did not know his name, only a nickname, and it took a great deal of investigation to find his identity. Obviously, the autopsy said that he had a lot of drugs and alcohol in his system. Poor brother of mine, I loved him very much. My other brother died a few months later at the age of 28 from a heroin overdose.

Of course, I understand that we are adults and we must take responsibility for our lives. My own mother seems to have been through a lot of childhood trauma and this affects us. The ACE score has fascinated me with its research showing how much additional risk (in physical and mental health problems) there is for someone who experienced childhood trauma. My ACE score (this can be easily looked up if you don't know) is 8 and I know how difficult it is to come out of a life of trauma, dysfunction, and mental illness.

So you're not saying why you feel responsible, but I would suggest you look into it rather than just going down the path of denial. Ultimately, your child is an adult and must make his own decisions now, that's true no matter what he does. But I think if my mother had admitted the damage she had done and showed us that she was trying to improve it, it would have helped her and the family. And that can be done at any time.

I am so sorry to hear what happened to your family. It is the worst trip you will ever make to go to jail and visit your son. Just because you wrote the question indicates how much you care about him.

You must keep going with the movements of your life as he begins to acknowledge the mistakes he has made. He is the operative word. We cannot learn their lessons from them. It is worse to have to see them suffer, then it would be for us to have to do it for them.

When they make bad decisions, they are usually due to alcohol in one way or another. Drinking now is such a different experience

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I am so sorry to hear what happened to your family. It is the worst trip you will ever make to go to jail and visit your son. Just because you wrote the question indicates how much you care about him.

You must keep going with the movements of your life as he begins to acknowledge the mistakes he has made. He is the operative word. We cannot learn their lessons from them. It is worse to have to see them suffer, then it would be for us to have to do it for them.

When they make bad decisions, they are usually due to alcohol in one way or another. Drinking now is a very different experience than when we were young. We had access to beer, first they go straight to whiskey. Also, if we were arrested, the police would usually follow us home. We certainly got into trouble, but jail was not an option.

I don't know what your son did, but it's not his fault. Sometimes they have to learn the hard way, that's not your fault. Some children blame their parents for their decisions or for the lack of parents in their lives. It has clearly been in your son's life. You clearly wish he didn't do whatever it was he did. I'm still lucky to have you.

The best thing is that he is still young. You can take advantage of the time you have to finish school or start college while you're there. Parents don't have to be perfect, they just have to worry. You have certainly shown that you care. So, take a moment to breathe.

You can go visit him, remind him that he can take advantage of the time there, love him too. Just be kind to yourself, visit him, support him, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Show him what a person does when faced with terrible things that he can face. Not everything is lost! He is still alive and hope remains. Please stop blaming yourself, continue to have a job helping him before you do.

I will keep you and your child in my heart. Be kind to yourself, stay healthy and hopeful, there is still much good ahead for both of you. Please let me know how things are going, if you wish. You are not alone.

I was in your shoes years ago. When my son was 17, he and a couple of friends went camping on an island and after a few days, I got a call to pick up my son at the police station. As you can imagine, he was quite angry. When I got to the police station, I asked him if I could leave him there overnight, just to scare him into never doing it again. There, the sheriff's deputy told me that he could not because they had picked up the other 2 children. So I began to punish myself, feeling that I had failed as a parent, that I had not taught him right from wrong. After a few days, my son had it, and sai

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I was in your shoes years ago. When my son was 17, he and a couple of friends went camping on an island and after a few days, I got a call to pick up my son at the police station. As you can imagine, he was quite angry. When I got to the police station, I asked him if I could leave him there overnight, just to scare him into never doing it again. There, the sheriff's deputy told me that he could not because they had picked up the other 2 children. So I began to punish myself, feeling that I had failed as a parent, that I had not taught him right from wrong. After a few days, my son had it and said these words: “Mom, stop punishing yourself. YOU taught me right from wrong. I was the one who decided to do what I did, not you. You did your job, I was the one who messed it up.

Now 32 years old, he serves in the military, is a boss and sometimes an instructor. He is very strict with them. He says that he does not take their hands; he hopes they learn their job and do it well. In fact, he has received complaints against him because he holds them responsible.

So to sum it up ... you didn't let him down. You taught him right from wrong. Sometimes young people make the wrong decision. The best thing you can do is support him on whatever journey this takes you. He will have to travel for it, but there is no reason why he cannot have your love and support along the way. I hope this helps. Best of luck to you and your child!

Two points.

(Not knowing what the particular crime is, of course, so a very general answer.)

First point:

I have heard this many times. The mother or parents who say "This is not how I / we raise them."

Unfortunately, all too often it is. We raise our children with subtle messages that by themselves are not bad ... but without proper context can lead to "antisocial" behavior.

  • "They can't do anything wrong" or "you weren't responsible," they "were.
  • effortless reward;
  • Own need on social or community responsibility;
  • A sense of entitlement, of “going out and getting what you want”, don't let others get in your way;
  • the cult of
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Two points.

(Not knowing what the particular crime is, of course, so a very general answer.)

First point:

I have heard this many times. The mother or parents who say "This is not how I / we raise them."

Unfortunately, all too often it is. We raise our children with subtle messages that by themselves are not bad ... but without proper context can lead to "antisocial" behavior.

  • "They can't do anything wrong" or "you weren't responsible," they "were.
  • effortless reward;
  • Own need on social or community responsibility;
  • A sense of entitlement, of “going out and getting what you want”, don't let others get in your way;
  • the cult of the individual: "my rights" over my responsibilities;
  • Might does the right thing (often disguised as "patriotism");
  • And without consequences for actions (or at least teaching them to take responsibility for their behavior).

I often talk to parents who really believed they were the right "parents", but as they talk I hear the same thing ... with no sense of having gone through a "rite of passage" into adulthood. They raised a male child. Or in the case of girls, a "perpetual tantrum."

But these subtle messages are not yours, but rather from the culture we live in.

Second point:

It is what it is. Yes, review the way you raised your children by all means. Look for the "messages" he gave with his own attitudes toward himself, family, others, the world. But, unless he has much younger kids, he'll probably just add a layer of guilt that won't help him or you.

The important thing is what you do now.

Wash your hands of him? Don't you take on more responsibility?

Or be by his side to help him, be with him.

The first will affirm, perhaps, those misguided messages that were sent to him. The second will say, "You are still my son and I still care about you."

You can punish yourself for "failing" him by raising him with a "good sense of community responsibility" ... or you could really fail him and walk away.

Past is past. Just don't fail him now.

some good answers here. there are many questions that can be considered. As someone suggested, it would be good to explore with a counselor and also consider whether your child was really "wrong", whatever that means.

Either way, I'm thinking that maybe if you are asking this question, you may be aware that maybe everything was not always correct, that maybe the communication between the two of you was not always there, open and authentic. To be honest, being a parent is very difficult, but it is also vital to take responsibility when it is due. This can greatly help repair your relationship if you are

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some good answers here. there are many questions that can be considered. As someone suggested, it would be good to explore with a counselor and also consider whether your child was really "wrong", whatever that means.

Either way, I'm thinking that maybe if you are asking this question, you may be aware that maybe everything was not always correct, that maybe the communication between the two of you was not always there, open and authentic. To be honest, being a parent is very difficult, but it is also vital to take responsibility when it is due. This can greatly help repair your relationship if necessary.

In my experience, it is good to recognize that many times it is not always what was done to harm a child, but also what was not done. many children are emotionally neglected. I can't say if that may be the case for you, but it's nice to know that this could be another possibility of a dysfunctional family. it doesn't have to be as bad as one of the other shared answers. It could be that you were too busy earning money and that may have been perceived as a fault by your child. lack of love, love of attention. it can be hard to tell. Is society to blame, were you raised in a family that did not have healthy relationships? There can be many reasons why a child does not feel well cared for. it is often out of his hands, he was simply not conscious at the time. You did the best you could for the looks of it, did your best considering what I knew at the time. you can give yourself that. At the same time, if you yourself had a difficult childhood (you may not even realize that) and ended up inadvertently contributing to your child's suffering, it can be nice to be able to acknowledge it, even if it can be enormously painful. that may be the bridge your child needs back to you.

I hope some of what I shared makes sense. Some of these emotional / subconscious patterns can be difficult to understand if one has not been in therapy or has not experienced it in some way.

Even good children (and adults) can find themselves in vague situations and end up involved in things they wish they had avoided after the fact.

The only thing you can do is stay strong, keep loving him, and make sure he knows you love him, but if he's really guilty of what put him in jail, make sure he understands that you're very disappointed in his behavior. .

I remember when I was in college, the bailiff brought my 13-year-old brother home for throwing rocks off an overpass. He absolutely knew better, he even acknowledged that he knew better, but his friend

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Even good children (and adults) can find themselves in vague situations and end up involved in things they wish they had avoided after the fact.

The only thing you can do is stay strong, keep loving him, and make sure he knows you love him, but if he's really guilty of what put him in jail, make sure he understands that you're very disappointed in his behavior. .

I remember when I was in college, the bailiff brought my 13-year-old brother home for throwing rocks off an overpass. He absolutely knew better, he even acknowledged that he knew better, but his friend convinced him and between them they decided it sounded like fun. My parents were horrified, he was mortified, they had to go to court and he ended up doing community service. He then became the captain of his high school football team, graduated with an engineering degree, and has never stepped out of line legally since. His friend also straightened up.

If he had waited to get out of line until he was 19, it would have been a lot worse. Your child could be a great kid and still do something under the influence of drugs or alcohol that would result in jail time. Some things happen sometimes and things get out of hand. That doesn't make you a failure as a parent. If you remember when you were a teenager, I'm sure there is at least one thing you can think of that could have been pear-shaped. 😉

It seems you need to ask yourself some serious questions.

  1. Is the crime your child has committed inherently wrong or is the law unfair? (We are programmed to think that all crimes are morally wrong, but many immoral people have had the opportunity to write laws or become judges.)
  2. Is your son innocent?
  3. Was your crime committed to prevent something worse or was it based on a dilemma between two evils? (For example, betraying a friend or neglecting a bad law).
  4. Was it your fault or the fault of the public education system / system? (To answer this question, I suggest you study Charlotte's work
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It seems you need to ask yourself some serious questions.

  1. Is the crime your child has committed inherently wrong or is the law unfair? (We are programmed to think that all crimes are morally wrong, but many immoral people have had the opportunity to write laws or become judges.)
  2. Is your son innocent?
  3. Was your crime committed to prevent something worse or was it based on a dilemma between two evils? (For example, betraying a friend or neglecting a bad law).
  4. Was it your fault or the fault of the public education system / system? (To answer this question, I suggest you study the work of Charlotte Iserbyt)
  5. Did you give a good example of how to treat people by treating your spouse and other children, your extended family, well?
  6. Did you spend time with him?
  7. Did you make sure they knew about your personal experiences, life lessons, and good / bad choices?
  8. Did you treat him fairly?
  9. Did you give him some mental and / or practical skills to manage life and be able to support himself? (Guidance, books, educational opportunity, or just encouragement?)
  10. Did you make an effort to introduce him to good company / keep him away from bad company?

I hope that helps.

It doesn't matter what the answer is. Try to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Reconcile yourself and make sure he has good books to read as a guide during incarceration. Encourage him to use his time well and behave well. If you do, perhaps being away from certain people will be your best chance to start over. Maybe the prison has a chance to take courses or learn some new skills?

Depending on your crime, you may need to start your own business, if it is difficult for you to get a job.

All the best!

My heart goes out to you, I really understand. But everything stops right there. He is your son, he will always be your son, but what he did is up to him. Life is full of consequences, good or bad, you made a wrong decision and this is the consequence of that choice.

Look at the fact / truth that when your child went to do whatever he did, he did not come to you for your permission, your opinion, or good wishes. He moved on, without you and knew that the possibility of going to jail was in the immediate distance. I know he thought he would get away with it and blah blah blah, but he didn't.

Now take a pee

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My heart goes out to you, I really understand. But everything stops right there. He is your son, he will always be your son, but what he did is up to him. Life is full of consequences, good or bad, you made a wrong decision and this is the consequence of that choice.

Look at the fact / truth that when your child went to do whatever he did, he did not come to you for your permission, your opinion, or good wishes. He moved on, without you and knew that the possibility of going to jail was in the immediate distance. I know he thought he would get away with it and blah blah blah, but he didn't.

Now take a week or two and assess what happened, what you bought yourself, and how involved you will be while he is serving his time. You can love him, but you don't have to like everything he does. Do not believe in that. It is time for you to get up. The guilty conviction in court fell on one person, not you. And if you take the blame, you think you failed in some way, then that means he is not taking the brunt of what has landed him in that cell.

There are many parents and caregivers who went to jail psychologically because their child or spouse did. Don't lock yourself up in that prison of shame, guilt, worthlessness, and all the rest of that crap. It is not your fault because it was not your choice.

Go on with your life, relax, he will be fine and if anything you need to take this time to realize the impact of his actions on you and the rest of the family. If you don't understand it now, you will repeat this lesson over and over again, until you do. But one thing is for sure: you will not be excused.

All the best is in my thoughts and prayers. 💕😊💕

Help him. And never stop being the supportive parent you need. So many young people have died in recent years from overdoses and gunshot wounds and even more parents regret not being there for their children. Set limits and boundaries, of course, but do your best to keep it out of the system. Once you're in it, even for something minor, it's a one-way ticket to a life of being rejected at work, housing, school, etc. Please don't give up on him. And don't blame yourself either. He is at a very precarious age in which the state considers him an adult, but not old enough to decide t

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Help him. And never stop being the supportive parent you need. So many young people have died in recent years from overdoses and gunshot wounds and even more parents regret not being there for their children. Set limits and boundaries, of course, but do your best to keep it out of the system. Once you're in it, even for something minor, it's a one-way ticket to a life of being rejected at work, housing, school, etc. Please don't give up on him. And don't blame yourself either. He is at a very precarious age in which the state considers him an adult, but not old enough to decide to drink or smoke. The human brain, particularly the frontal lobe, does not finish developing until the mid-20s. You may know the difference between right and wrong but he is unable to really understand what the long-term consequences of his actions will be. You won't be able to understand that until you've had a chance to grow and mature or until life hits you hard in the face and you're forced to learn.

As someone who spent his teens and early 20s making a lot of bad decisions, I implore you to continue to be there for him and make sure he knows how much you love him. Tough love, as it is called, tends to have the effect of making children want to do exactly what you don't want them to do. But knowing that they have a loving family and parents who do not deserve the consequences of whatever they are about to do will make a young adult feel that guilt because they know and feel the love in their life. That guilt, knowing that I had hurt my family and pushed them away when I needed them most, was my biggest motivating factor to clean up my own life. I hope the same thing happens with your son.

With your child in jail, find ways to support his return to society if / when he ever gets out; find ways to help him rehabilitate and find a constructive path for himself before being released; for example, finding out if there is a way for him to advance academically from where he was before he entered - prisons sometimes have remedial programs, art classes - San Quentin has a drama class! If you have substance abuse problems, remember that it is both a disease and a character flaw. There is a difference between being arrested for shoplifting and being arrested for violent or grand crimes.

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With your child in jail, find ways to support his return to society if / when he ever gets out; find ways to help him rehabilitate and find a constructive path for himself before being released; for example, finding out if there is a way for him to advance academically from where he was before he entered - prisons sometimes have remedial programs, art classes - San Quentin has a drama class! If you have substance abuse problems, remember that it is both a disease and a character flaw. There is a difference between being arrested for shoplifting and being arrested for a violent crime or grand larceny, so your behavior can help you move forward in terms of the best approach to take.

If you have more than one child, it is time for a family reunion, perhaps with a counselor. Find out the mistakes you made and apologize for them; find a better way for your other children in the future. If you have been violent, verbally abusive, or have had substance abuse problems, you need to make amends. But from your one sentence, my feeling is that you feel like you didn't do "enough." In that case, it is a two-way street. If you've been kind to your children and provided them with affection and opportunities for growth, it may never have been the problem.

Best of luck. I hope your son gets out of jail better than when he came in, and that his family finds healing.

My heart breaks for you and your family right now. I'm not sure how I would feel if this was one of my children. Perhaps anger, betrayal, loss of confidence, and undoubtedly heartbreak. But I know one thing for sure: I would sit down with him on a visit and tell him how I feel and how we have to have honesty with each other from this day forward to deal with everything that we are going through right now. There is "nothing" you can do to change what has happened. But it may be you who change what will happen in their future. So if you can't deal with what's going on right now, maybe you need to t

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My heart breaks for you and your family right now. I'm not sure how I would feel if this was one of my children. Perhaps anger, betrayal, loss of confidence, and undoubtedly heartbreak. But I know one thing for sure: I would sit down with him on a visit and tell him how I feel and how we have to have honesty with each other from this day forward to deal with everything that we are going through right now. There is "nothing" you can do to change what has happened. But it may be you who change what will happen in their future. So if you can't deal with what's going on right now, maybe you need to seek help to deal with it. Maybe counseling or if that's not possible, there is a program in our area called Celebrate Recovery Progam, you can google it to see if there is one in your area or nearby. The Celebrate Recovery website says, “It is a Christ-centered 12-step recovery program for anyone struggling with pain, pain, or addiction of any kind. Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to find community and freedom from the problems that control our lives. "I have had many friends who have the answer to their problems in this program simply because you are with other people who fully understand your problem and really care about it. Praying for you and your family during this dark time in your lives, and asking God to show you the way through it, giving you the strength to lead your family towards the joy that life has to offer. I have had many friends who have the answer to their problems in this program simply because you are with other people who fully understand your problem and really care about you. Praying for you and your family during this dark time in your lives. And ask God to show you the way through it, giving you the strength to lead your family toward the joy that life has to offer.

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