Prison Poem

How To Tell a Child His Dad is In Prison Poem

Dedicated to families who have the emotional trauma of telling a child that their Daddy has been incarcerated.

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A year and a half ago, my husband admitted to sexually abusing my underage sister. When he told me, we had an almost 2 year old and I was about 16 weeks pregnant. My world has been a blur and …

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© Alison Henderson more by Alison Henderson

Published: Dec 2007

Daddy's Gone

How do you sit down and talk to your son
and tell him that his Daddy has gone
It's easier explaining the meaning of death
and why people die and draw their last breath.

But Daddy, he's gone to no peaceful heaven
Instead he's in prison and serving a seven
so how do you sit down and tell your own son
the whys and the reasons his Daddy has gone?

"Listen, my son, you'll need to be strong
Daddy has done something terribly wrong
He's gone in to prison for quite a long time
and this is what happens when you commit crime"

"Daddy still loves us, he'll phone and he'll write
ring you to wish you goodnight and sleep tight
we can sit down together and write him a letter
it'll make Daddy smile and make him feel better"

"We can go and see Daddy perhaps once a week
to give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek
you can draw Daddy pictures and paintings at school
to put on his wall which will look really cool "

I tried telling my son with emotional tact
the truth of the matter, you can't hide the fact
his Daddy has gone and has gone for a while
you can't say it with flowers or manage a smile.

So how do you sit down and talk to your son
and answer his questions why Daddy has gone
all you can do is just tell him your way............
and pray to the Lord he'll be home soon one day.


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Has this poem touched you? Share Your Story
  • by Rachel
  • 10/24/2014

A year and a half ago, my husband admitted to sexually abusing my underage sister. When he told me, we had an almost 2 year old and I was about 16 weeks pregnant. My world has been a blur and continues to be a blur (but it is getting better). He has been incarcerated for nearly 5 months now. I just want to say, that without the help and support of my church family I would be desolate, perhaps even dead... There were times I was so low, and would cry uncontrollably... But I want everyone of us to know that God says he is the Father to the fatherless and a husband to the widow. In these cases, we are like widows. And while I am not out of this muck yet, I do have hope and I set my mind on the promise that God works ALL things together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. I have asked myself so many times, how could this happen to me? I did everything "right" But it doesn't matter, you can't control the actions of others. But you can control how you respond to those actions. I am in the process of filing for divorce and am looking forward to the promises that I know God will bring to me because I do love Him and desire His will for my life. The stories I've read here break my heart. But I know that this life is not all there is and Jesus promises a life far beyond our greatest hopes for all who trust in Him and His death as the fulfilment of the punishments for our crimes. None of us are perfect, and some crimes carry harsher punishments than others, but the grace and forgiveness of God is available to anyone who asks. I hope this is an encouragement to whoever reads it and I pray that God would be the comfort that we all desperately need in our times of emotional torment. God please speak through these words to be the blessing and encouragement that we all so desperately need. And show your care for us in all circumstances and help us to trust that even when it looks like you have left us, you are still working things together for our good despite what we see at the moment, I ask this through the Name of Jesus. Amen.


  • by Ik. England
  • 9/21/2014

Hi, reading all your stories made me cry, I'm 16 and my dad got sentenced for 9 months, but had been living away for almost a year.
My dad is a lovely, friendly, dedicated family guy and won't hurt a fly. He is my inspiration and always will be. It's so hard for him to go away like this, I have no one to talk to because my brothers don't know thinking that he is on a work trip, on top of that I have school and I can't express my feelings to any one, my mum is stressed as it is. It's so hard from a child point of view, he would pick me up from school and now he had gone, it's just so hard.


  • by Jamie, Alaska
  • 5/2/2014

Tonight, was different from all the other nights as a single mother. My oldest son asked about his Father. He is 11 years old. When I told him his Father was in jail it was no different from any other time but this time my son asked for how long this time. I am 31 years old. I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to lie or sugars coat anything. So, I said maybe by the time you're my age. Tears ran down his face. The next question was what did he do this time. All I could think of was he had to ask his father himself. It would be better if it came from him. All my son could do was cry. I never felt so helpless. All I could do was cry with him and hold him close. My question is, how do I raise my son up to be a man? I don't want my son following his fathers foot steps. I would like my son to live his life and to have the emptiness of not having a father replaced with joy, happiness, and full of love.


  • by Ale, California
  • 2/7/2014

I have a 2 year old daughter and she is such a daddy's little girl. Her dad has been in jail for 3 weeks and it's been hard. I'm currently pregnant with our second daughter and I'm due in about a month and half. He calls and sometimes my daughter talks to him sometimes she screams and says no as in she doesn't want to hear him, it brakes my heart. I would like to visit him but I'm not sure if it's a good idea. I tell her daddy had to go to a place were he has to learn how to behave but she really doesn't understand what I tell her certain things she'll capture. I hope he doesn't get sentenced to a lot of time.


  • by Shelley, Texas
  • Mar 2013

I have two boys ages 10 and 14 they have a biological dad who was never close to them sadly. I found out almost a year ago he was sentenced to 19 years. I have a husband now who the boys love very much, and he loves them as if they were his own children. I am so sad he is in prison also for 6 years and the boys stay angry. They feel so abandoned I wish I had been able to read this poem to the boys I know that it would have helped to ease the pain for them. I know that the Lord is our strength and please pray that my current husband will get out soon and I even pray for my ex-husband I hope everyone will pray for all of the comments I have read. I pray for peace on your hearts and ours Thank you !


  • by Aussie Land
  • Dec 2012

I have two children with my man who will be behind bars for almost 3 years. Our son is turning 3 next month and our daughter is 14 months. It hurts so much to see my sons face when he asks about his daddy. I haven't had a clue as to what to say to the both of them. He has been gone for a month now. This has helped the situation of explaining. I am a young mother myself, only 23. I feel for any other women left in this situation. If only our men didn't make such silly decisions. I don't think they realize how hard they have made it on their children and women. My heart and prayers are with you all.


  • by Angela C , Reynoldsburg Ohio
  • Dec 2012

My son's father went to jail before he was even 6 months old. He got 28 to life plus 3 for gun .My son is now 11 years old and we rarely ever go to see him. I feel that is not a place for a child. It's unfortunately the truth of our lives but he made a terrible mistake while on drugs and I refuse to raise my child in that environment . He does write and he calls but I'm raising my son the best I can with a lot of love and good guidance from the men on my side of the family . My son knows how consequences all have actions. About 1. 1/2 years ago my younger brother died from an overdose of oxy so I make damn sure my child knows the devastating effects drugs have on EVERYONE!!!


  • by Kandace, Arizona
  • Nov 2012

My son is 7 years old I had him when I was 15. His father and I are now 23 we were together for ten years and separated for the first time a year ago. His father has never been in trouble but made a mistake and just got sentenced to 10 years in prison when he gets out my son will be 17. He has never gone a day without his dad and there is truly no easy way to tell your child daddy is gone and going to be okay especially when you have taught your child that prison is a scary place that no one should go. I pray that no child or adult should ever have to feel the pain or void me and my son feel.


  • by Drieka, Arkansas
  • Sep 2012

My husband is in jail in Pine Bluff Ark. and is facing prison time. I have five kids and I don't know how much time he is getting. All I can do is pray cause I'm so stressed out trying to be strong for my kids. God is the answer and I'm leaving it up to him. Raising 5 kids at 24 is hard but I ask god for strength everyday. Please pray for me


  • by Guadalupe
  • Feb 2012

it's hard to tell your own son that his daddy is gone. Wishing the ways it could be easy. You sit down by your son and think when he's coming back. No matter what we have our love ones with us no matter we go.


  • by Marilyn, Dallas Tx
  • Jan 2012

My boyfriend and father of my two beautiful daughters who are 3 and 16 months, is being sentenced on January 20th. He could possibly get sentenced to jail up to 99 years. I am so terrified, my girls are the biggest daddies girls ever. they are so in love with him and I can't even begin to think of what I'm going to do if he goes to jail. His only hope is to get deferred Adjudicated Probation otherwise he will be in jail for a long time. He doesn't deserve to be in jail he is a wonderful man and amazing daddy to our children. I am hurting so bad my heart is breaking at the thought of him sitting there in jail not seeing his girls growing up. I'm scared of him getting hurt. its breaking my heart to think of my girls crying for him asking for their daddy. even now, when he's at work and he gets home at night they run to him and say my daddy my daddy my favorite!!! I'm just so scared and hurt I don't know how I'm going to be able to do this.


  • by Fujoshifangirl, Nor. Cal.
  • Sep 2011

I was probably about six years old when my daddy went to prison. My parents weren't together. Maybe I wouldn't have taken it so hard if my mom had read something like this before telling me. Maybe we could've sat down and talked about it. Maybe she wouldn't have said it so angrily. Maybe I wouldn't have cried every night for so many years. Maybe they wouldn't still be so mad at each other. But really the only person in this mess to blame is my daddy, who hasn't come home in eight years, and probably never will.


  • by Jennifer, Hurlford
  • Aug 2011

It's so hard when kids are involved I have a six month baby girl and pregnant again and their daddy is going to jail for years. It's heartbreaking I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Keep your chin up girls.


  • by Alma, California
  • May 2011

...It has been 3 years and 5 months. The hardest thing was telling my son who was 6 at the time, I wish this to no one. If you are new to a situation like this, just know that you are not alone, there are many other families going through this.... Be strong, stand tall and may God Bless you...


  • by Denisse,California
  • May 2011

my daddy didn't go to prison but all my brothers did and this is the same way my mom talked to me when they were caught I was still a little girl and didn't know but now I realize how hard my life was without my brothers by my side. This poem made me cry I remember I prayed to god everyday telling him how I wished they would all come back, but my wish didn't come true until 15 years later


  • by Shelby, Texas
  • Jan 2011

This poem brought tears to my eyes. My son is almost 1 in a few weeks and I am pregnant again but just a couple of months. Their daddy is going away for quite awhile and I can't figure out how to do this by myself. He made a bad choice yet he is not a bad person. He has things that he needs to fix and find within himself. I pray for peace not for me but for our children.


  • by Kristine, Texas
  • Aug 2010

This poem really hit home. The father of my two children was just sentenced to 2 years in jail a week before our oldest son's 3rd birthday. How do I tell him daddy isn't going to be there for his birthday? Our other son is only 3 months old so by the time his daddy comes home he'll be walking and talking. It seems so unfair that he is gone.


  • by Iyshar, New Zealand
  • Jul 2010

after reading this it gave me the courage to sit down with my son and& explain why daddy is never around and why he has never met him. I was 6 months pregnant when his father was sent to prison to do a 5 year stint... but amazingly, he seems to already know & love his father as if he's been here all along.?? he turns 1 in two months. 1st birthday alone. we are hoping to have him home for his second!!! FINGERS CROSSED


  • by Kristina, Minnesota
  • Jun 2010

Yes, I liked this poem because it made me feel safe knowing others have had to randomly come home and tell their children that Daddy isn't coming home tonight or any night soon. I have 2 kids, 3 and 4 and Dad has only been gone for 3 weeks and it has been a very hard transition for me and the kids. I just tell them to be strong and I told them that Daddy is in "time-out." For others that have to go through what I do, keep your head up!!! For our children, for ourselves!


  • by Courtney, North Carolina
  • Jan 2010

My husband was sent to jail April 20th 2009. I was 6 months pregnant with our first child at the time. He is now in prison serving an 8 1/2 year sentence. Our first born daughter will not know what a wonderful father she has. He's made mistakes but he IS NOT his mistakes. This nightmare is just beginning for us and I'm looking forward to the day when all this will be over. I was online looking for poems to send to him.....the ones that Alison Henderson has wrote have been wonderful. I especially loved the one titled, The forgotten victim. It really hit home. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts from the heart Alison. Thank you again and my heart goes out to everyone who visits these sites with loved ones away from them.


  • by chelsea
  • Oct 2009

This poem made me realize there is no right way to tell your son where his daddy is when they are sentenced to do some time in prison...I'm 7 days away from my due date and I'm scared to do this all alone for quite some time and I kept wondering how will I tell my son when he asks why we always go to the prison to see daddy and why he can't be home with us.


I wanted to send my love to all families that are separated from their loved ones. I was looking for poems and ended up in this place reading this poem and feeling my loved for all of you that are suffering.
I send you healing and would like to share some words from behind the veil from a brother of mine. Be blessed beautiful ones.


  • by jamie
  • Aug 2008

My daughters are 4 & 2 now but, were only 2 and 11 months when there daddy went to prison. My oldest was and still is a daddy's girl. I had no clue what to tell her when I returned home from the court house the day they took her daddy to prison. So I told her, with the advise of a lady from church, that daddy went to big boy school to learn a lesson and as soon as he was done he would be back. Still to the day she cries every night for her daddy and my 2 year old has no clue what a daddy is.


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