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iCareSheets-Loss

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1 By Dr Brenda Fawcett Storybook Research Project 2019 Research Team Contributing Authors Dr Avon Hart Johnson Dr Geoffrey Johnson and Dr Renata Hendrington Jones LOSS IS AN INEVITABLE INTEGRAL PART OF LIVING LIFE The incarceration of a parent is a particular peculiar kind of loss as it is both similar to and different from other kinds of losses In the United States as many as 3 million children experience the incarceration of at least one parent at any given time In this resource guide I discuss how the loss of a parent is both like and unlike other losses I describe how children cope with loss at different ages and developmental stages Last I will offer recommendations for the caregivers of the children of incarcerated parents There are some generalizations that apply to children of all ages and others that are more developmentally specific Finally some specific suggestions will cover the following questions What do I do as a caregiver What do I say as a caregiver At the foundation of caregiving is providing the child left behind with a safe and loving protective and caring consistent predictable environment What follows begins with simple commonsense suggestions on how to provide care for the child at each developmental stage by establishing a home environment of safety protection and structure For each age and stage this resource guide is designed to build on this foundation of creating safe surroundings addressing specific developmentally appropriate needs _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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2 Complicated grief Box 1 1 As of this publication our team of investigators conducted seven focus groups in the Washington D C Virginia and Maryland areas The study is titled Parents and Caregivers Perceptions of Storytelling as a Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents Data collection occurred from October 2018 to October 2019 The goal of this study was first to understand the communication strategies used by parents and caregivers who discussed parental incarceration with young children under 10 years old Second we wanted to develop a web portal populated with resources based on our findings and the expertise gleaned from these guardians and experts This knowledge also served as the basis for stories about parental incarceration Our resource sheets are constructed based on the study results We refer to these resources as iCareSheets See https www mystoryandme com for more resources such as ebooks activity sheets and other tools designed for having discussions with children under 10 years old about parental incarceration Research Team Dr Avon Hart Johnson Dr Geoffrey Johnson and Dr Renata Hedrington Jones 2019 Storybook Research Regardless of circumstances the process of grief is never simple rarely uncomplicated never easy But some losses are more complicated than others When a parent is incarcerated the absence of the parent is typically experienced by the family as a loss To frame it very simply the loss of a family member to incarceration differs from other losses because of the stigma shame and embarrassment associated with imprisonment In addition loss through the incarceration of a parent may vary in duration and does not have the finality of a permanent loss through death These important yet nuanced differences make the task of the caregiver more challenging especially if the incarcerated parent is absent and usually not easily accessible not physically present or available It is these last circumstances that also contribute to the ambiguity of the experience for a child of a parent lost to incarceration We will return to these interconnected themes of stigma shame embarrassment and inaccessibility later in this resource guide when offering recommendations to caregivers In short it is important to acknowledge all of these emotional challenges Unacknowledged unaddressed and unexpressed stigma shame embarrassment and inaccessibility can derail the best caregiving intentions _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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3 What do we know generally about how children and adolescents experience and express grief and loss Some children and teens express and experience loss like adults They talk about it and they look sad But everyone grieves differently and everyone has the right to grieve differently Often children may not talk directly about the loss They may express their feelings symbolically through play They may somaticize or increase their complaints about physical aches and pains as a way of getting their emotional needs met But more than for adults childhood grief comes and goes Children grieve in cycles More than adults children need time to take a break from grief Children need to hear that it s okay to take a break from grief that laughing and having fun are not disrespectful to the person who died or who is absent Light moments can be an important part of the grieving process Sometimes a childhood loss is re experienced by the child at a later developmental stress point or at a milestone event For example not having a parent at one s high school or college graduation or when one gets married or when one has a child of his her own may trigger renewed unresolved or unaddressed grief Experiencing parental loss due to incarceration through childhood birth through age three years preverbal and early verbal stages Developmental challenges in infancy Erik Erickson developmental psychologist tells us that the developmental task of the first years of life are to establish trusting relationships with our caregivers Human infants experience the longest childhood of any primate These early connections are of the utmost importance because these connections become the foundations for attachment Early caregiving relationships become the template for all relationships that follow The infant who is securely attached grows into a young child who _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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4 perceives the world as a predictable safe and caring place Secure attachments early on also provide a foundation allowing children to feel good about themselves How can infants know their parent has been imprisoned They can t even talk yet When children are in the preverbal stage they certainly can t talk about their feelings or share their thoughts Because infants can t talk they rely on other senses like hearing smell touch vision and the caregiver s cues to understand the world and to process experiences They don t know about jail prison grief or mourning But infants are acutely attuned to the environment around them They may sense emotional shifts and changes in their new primary caregiver s demeanor and mood They might notice absences of people to whom they are bonded and attached Infants notice changes How they cope with these changes is likely dependent both upon individual temperament and how we as adults respond to them What behaviors might you expect from an infant during the period of mourning the loss of a parent Some infants are extremely sensitive attuned to environmental cues others not so much Some children by temperament are more reactive to changes in their surroundings than others You might notice disruptions in the infant s regular behavior changes in sleeping eating or hyperirritability The child who once slept easily through the night may wake up or seem more easily distracted The baby who ate voraciously may now be more picky finicky Caregiver suggestions in infancy What do I do Rules Rituals and Routines Kids are like adults just more so The first step in building a safe environment is to create an environment where rules are clear schedules are regular but _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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5 not rigid and where routines are predictable When times get tough we as adults fall back on predictability consistency schedules As a caregiver of an infant in mourning it is important to keep life as consistent and predictable as possible Try to the extent you can to keep the environment the same With all children especially those in the preverbal stage what we do is more important than what we say What do I say to the infant in my care Now is a good time to continue to strengthen existing bedtime routines Bedtime for all children should be at a regular age appropriate time to the extent humanly possible Sometimes a bedtime bath becomes part of the ritual Reading a story can also become part of the ritual Now is a good time to begin reading to the child It s okay to read them books written for infants but also begin building a library of age appropriate books that can be read to the child at bedtime Experiencing parental loss due to incarceration through the eyes of a toddler and preschool age child Developmental challenges of the toddler and preschool years Toddlerhood through the preschool years represents the dawning of a child s emerging sense of self and identity Children at this stage and age are mastering tasks that will take them into the next developmental stage These skills include but are not limited to walking talking and mastering toilet training Language and motor skills alone facilitate the child s development of a sense of self separate yet still very dependent upon the caregiver These are years of rapid fastpaced growth Children may have a vocabulary of one hundred words between the ages of twelve and eighteen months They possess a word bank of two hundred words at age two And by age three the child s vocabulary virtually explodes Erik Erickson suggests that the child who can master ageappropriate self _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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6 regulatory skills feels success and good about himself Some children at this age are entering day care or preschool outside the home for the first time The challenges and tasks for caregivers during toddlerhood and preschool are different from those at infancy Toddlers preschoolers and kindergartners are more independent than infants But in order to grow and develop children in this age group require considerable support from those around them Developing language skills allow the child to say no Motor skills allow children in this age group to separate themselves physically from us What builds success during this stage is knowing that the caregiver will be available be there for touching base after the child goes out to explore the world Later in this period the child continues to grow develop and learn through play and interacting with his her peers Early on when children play they play beside rather than with each other As the child progresses from being a toddler to a preschooler to an early school age child the nature of play shifts and changes to be more interactive and Box 1 2 Co Parenting Boundary Ambiguity In our research study we found that family member roles responsibilities and boundaries are sometimes blurred For instance a 5 year old might be assigned chores to feed her younger 18 month old sibling a bottle or help mom or dad clean up Boundary ambiguities seem to affect both family roles and the ways in which narratives about the missing parent are expressed to children Other examples of areas of blurred roles would be a mother or grandmother taking on the role of primary breadwinner seeking work to support the family The incarcerated parent s role may blur as well They may be considered the secondary parent while the non incarcerated parent s role may have emerged as the primary parent https www mystoryandme com Dr Avon Hart Johnson Dr Geoff Johnson and Dr Renata Hedrington Jones 2018 2019 Storybook Research Team cooperative The child who masters the developmental jobs of this stage continues to build a positive increasingly complicated and differentiated sense of who she is he is What kinds of behaviors might I expect from my toddler preschooler when the parent is absent Human reactions to grief span a wide continuum As stated above what makes caregiving challenging is the wide variation based on individual _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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7 temperamental differences and a whole host of circumstances Reactions to the loss and absence of a parent may or may not be consistent with how we know the child But as a generalization regression is not unusual And because the ability to master and regulate basic functions is a relatively new and still evolving skill the child may begin to present as younger than her years For example the preschooler who spoke in full sentences may now begin to talk in one word utterances or even become nonverbal The toddler who was bold and adventurous may now be clingy and fearful The preschooler who was dry during the day and night may begin to have accidents Caregiver suggestions for the toddler through preschool years What do I do Rules Rituals Routines and Reassurance Kids are like adults just more so The first step in building a safe environment is to create an environment where rules are clear schedules are regular but not rigid and where routines are predictable When times get tough we as adults fall back on predictability consistency As a caregiver of a toddler or preschooler in mourning it is important to keep life as consistent and predictable as possible Try to the extent you can to keep the environment the same With all children especially those in this emerging verbal stage what we do is more important than what we say What do I say to my toddler preschooler about his her missing parent As stated earlier in the section above in addressing caregiving of infants bedtime rituals continue to be important Issues introduced during the bedtime storytelling ritual may or may not surface during the day Baby Star Finds Happy is a good addition to the library repertoire of bedtime stories because we can use the story as our guide for difficult conversations Things to keep in mind when talking with children in the early verbal stages 1 Keep your language simple with easy words short sentences Do not _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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8 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 overexplain The child does not need to know all the details of the parent s crime Rehearse what you plan to say script your words carefully Be intentional and thoughtful Try to anticipate the questions your child may have Be ready to answer questions as they arise during talks Children of this age have very short attention spans The original telling of the child s parent s narrative is something that can be built upon at a later age and stage Truth telling is always best But this doesn t mean disclosing all details Less can also be more Secrets having a way of circling back to damage trust and harm the relationship between the child and caregiver Use the themes of Baby Star Finds Happy story to generate a dialogue with the child What are those themes By the way these Box 1 3 Emotional Ambivalence During our research study parents and caregivers shared concerns about having mixed emotions about communicating with young children regarding parental incarceration Some respondents indicated that they felt ill equipped to have these sensitive conversations Others feared the consequences associated with telling the child the truth Parents caregivers also expressed their own emotional ambivalence where they conveyed experiences and feelings of inadequacy grief ambiguous loss states of symbolic imprisonment feeling imprisoned to the situation and fear which indirectly affected communication with their child children There was also fear about the adverse impacts of telling children the truth These research sheets are designed to help with these difficult discussions https www mystoryandme com Dr Avon Hart Johnson Dr Geoff Johnson and Dr Renata Hedrington Jones 2018 2019 Storybook Research Team are themes applicable to all age groups 9 Read the story through once either all at once or in sections 10 Then circle back read the story this time using the activity sheets at natural pause points in the story 11 The process of coming to terms with a _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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9 parent s absence is an ongoing process The issue may arise multiple times during the parent s absence Themes from Baby Star Finds Happy for the toddler preschool set 1 Absence of the parent 2 Feelings of sadness anger worry 3 Need to be reassured by the caregiver that they will be kept safe and cared for But what do I say Daddy mommy uncle aunt is going to be away for a while Daddy mommy broke some grownup rules Daddy mommy made very bad choices Daddy mommy are in a place called jail prison This is where grownups go when they have broken rules When you go to time out what do you do You sit quietly You think about what you did think about how you felt or what you were thinking when you did what you did You think about what you might do differently next time Prison is like time out for grownups Generally when we talk about explaining parental absence in developmentally appropriate terms the caregiver will need to keep in mind the child s chronological age and the child s social emotional age Some children are old souls five going on fifty wise beyond their years The caregiver may be able to approach the old soul with verbally sophisticated and nuanced language While cognitively astute sometimes the old soul is pseudo mature This is a term that means the child may behave more maturely than is in actuality true Since old souls can be developmentally uneven advanced language with the old soul is okay if the developmentally appropriate emotional needs of the child are met and taken into account Other children for various reasons may chronologically be fifteen but emotionally and socially behave and think like a preadolescent During chats about the missing parent the _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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10 caregiver will want to tailor the conversation to the child s emotional and social age If there is going to be contact by phone or visiting the details associated with preparing a child should be worked out beforehand Tools to assist with these discussions include stories such as Jamie s Big Visit a story about prison visiting Baby Star Finds Happy explains what happens when a child s parent goes to prison and offers an understanding of the emotional impact Rocko s Guitar and Truth and the Big Dinner are stories about working through the difficulties when a child has not been informed of the truth about their parent s incarceration In cases where the parent is imprisoned because he she has hurt the child please see the special link on our website Https mystoryandme com under resources Caregiver suggestions during the school age years ages five to twelve Developmental challenges of the school age set Developmentally mastery of school related learning tasks making friends discovering and mastering interests are the job of the school aged child Successful completion of these tasks leads to the child continuing to self define as a good writer reader math student a good friend a good musician a good athlete These are all building blocks of identity and the sense of self What kinds of reactions or behaviors should I anticipate from the child In a perfect world we would be able to predict how the children in our care will react when told a parent is going to be absent for an indeterminate amount of time The caregiver s best bet is to be prepared for any reaction Some children are very regulated and predictable Others may not react immediately to bad news As with other times in raising children the caregiver should be prepared to address the parental absence not just once but multiple times Like the toddler preschooler the school age child may _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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11 begin to behave like a younger child in reaction to the news of a parent s absence Sleep appetite disruptions and disruptions in concentrating keeping emotions regulated and in ability to remember for instance can be normal reactions Also the caregiver left behind might be the recipient of anger from the child that is felt toward the absent parent Although it may not seem logical the caregiver s mere presence may convey to the child a sense of safety What do I do Rules Rituals Routines Reassurance Roles We build on or depending upon the circumstances infuse safety consistency predictability in everything we do as caregivers Caregiving of a child of incarcerated parents must be thoughtful conscious and intentional During the school years not only at bedtime or during family dinners but also moments in the car or other random and unpredictable times continue to be a good time for sharing about the day feelings activities thoughts In the absence of a parent schoolage children need reassurance and some explanation of the change in roles It helps the school age child to know that adults will to continue to care for them and keep them safe not the other way around The school age child will need to be relieved of the burden of feeling the need to selfparent or to take care of the adults or their siblings The Box 1 3 Gatekeepers of the Narrative In this research study parents and caregivers were found to be gatekeepers of the narrative about parental incarceration The stories about the parents whereabouts conveyed to children were based on the point of view held by these guardians In most families the parent caregiver determined the communication approach to explain parental incarceration We found three primary communication strategies direct indirect and abstain A parent caregiver might opt to use direct communication which involves being honest and truthful using ageappropriate language They might also use an indirect approach which includes modifying the truth by creating a fallacy or misleading the child about the parent s whereabouts Finally they may decide not to discuss the matter at all Each of these narratives was found to have a consequence For more discussion on this theme see https www mystoryandme com Dr Avon Hart Johnson Dr Geoff Johnson and Dr Renata Hedrington Jones 2018 2019 Storybook Research Team _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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12 school years are an excellent time to begin the ritual of regular weekly family meetings This is a time for all family members to share experiences and problem solve 3rd Star Finds Happy is written for to 5th graders This means that very able 3rd and 4th grade readers and most 5th graders would be able to read the story independently Somewhat less able readers at all levels might need some help The book is made to be read all at once in one sitting or it can be read in parts over time What do I say Simple age appropriate explanations Daddy mommy uncle auntie made some bad choices Daddy mommy uncle auntie is going to be away for a while They broke grown up rules Another name for grown up rules is laws When grownups break the law they go to jail or prison Going to jail or prison is a consequence for breaking the law It s like time out When grownups go to prison they have time to think about what they did to think about how they were feeling when they did what they did And they get to think about what they might do differently next time Using the Themes of Star Finds Happy with the school age group Specific to reading the developmental task in the early school years is phonemic awareness That is to say in the early grades in reading the task is to figure out how to sound out and read the words In being able to read the words children quickly begin to derive meaning from what they have read Reading comprehension tasks during kindergarten through the first half of third grade are simple ones Typically in early reading the answer to reading comprehension tasks is visible and very apparent in the text Themes of Star s story for schoolage children 1 Loss of a loved one 2 Forgiving vs Forgetting 3 Finding appropriate strategies for selfsoothing self calming _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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13 4 Can we make our own luck 5 What are some reasonable strategies for staying connected to a parent who is absent 6 Carefully seeking corrective emotional experiences carefully seeking safe protective and caring adults 7 Carefully seeking support from appropriate others outside the house or family 8 Labeling feelings 9 Normalizing the feelings that accompany loss acknowledging feelings of ambivalence or double dip feelings 10 Blaming oneself because one s parent is gone harboring guilt 11 Taking responsibility and facing consequences for one s actions 12 Differentiating between mistakes that children make and mistakes that adults make when making bad choices and breaking the law 13 If I make a bad choice am I going to prison 14 Helping the child create his or her own narrative and telling of the events 15 Negative or bad things happen to us and we keep on Reading comprehension questions 1 Who are the characters Describe the characters in the story 2 What happens in the story 3 Where does the story take place Around the middle of third grade the curriculum shifts and the reading comprehension task increases in complexity The expectation is that the child be able to answer basic easily found in the text questions And in addition to who what and where from mid 3rd grade on children are tasked with answering the more abstract higher level why questions _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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14 What do you think will happen next Why do you think What do you think Star is feeling What do you think Grandma and Dad are thinking What do you think Star s mother is thinking while she is in jail How are the characters in the story feeling How do you think the story will end Name some things that make you happy angry sad Which character in the book is most like you and why Caregiver suggestions during the teenage years Developmental challenges in the teen years We build on or depending upon the circumstances infuse safety consistency predictability in everything we do as caregivers Caregiving of a child a teenager of incarcerated parents must be thoughtful conscious and intentional During the school year bedtime and family dinners and also moments in the car or other random and unpredictable times continue to be a good time for sharing about the day feelings activities thoughts The teen years bring with them new challenges for the adolescent of incarcerated parents and for the caregiver It is helpful to think about adolescence as a revisiting of some of the developmental challenges first faced in toddlerhood Like the toddler the adolescent works on identity formation and on becoming a separate independent individual He or she works on these tasks in ways similar to the toddler years The teenager s focus is decreasingly on family and increasingly on being part of the peer group There is the same push pull of the toddler years for instance wanting to be more independent and mature than one is really ready for And the desire also to return from _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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15 exploring the world to touch base with a secure limit setting boundaried caregiver clearly My parent is incarcerated Am I going to end up being in prison Limit setting in the teen years is every bit as important as limit setting during other childhood stages However the task of setting limits with a teenager is much more complex because the broader world the teenager is entering is much more complicated than that of the one launching her represented by family home and school The adolescent is more verbal than he or she might have been earlier on Thinking may be poised between the more concrete simple thinking of younger stages and the more abstract higherlevel reasoning skills we see in adults Unlike adults the teenager may be able to think hypothetically when calm cool and collected but regress and lose this ability when emotionally stirred up And emotionally we may see this same pattern One day the teenager behaves as if a young adult responsible respectful mature However more sophisticated than the toddler s simple no some teenagers tend to argue with everything their caregivers say The developmental challenges of the adolescent years build on the work it is hoped successfully completed earlier on in childhood An adolescent works to figure out who he she is who he she wants to be with in a relationship and what he she wants to do in life in terms of a career or job The impact of having a parent imprisoned at this point in the teen s life perhaps more than in any other developmental phase is more complicated Teenagers look to adults around them as models as they the adolescent is working on the issue of identity formation Some can articulate this question While cognitively the adolescent may dazzle us with the ability to think and reason hypothetically don t be fooled The frontal lobe the air traffic controller of the brain will not come fully online until at any time from young adulthood to early middle age The frontal _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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16 lobe is the seat of all executive functions Among these functions are skills like planning problem solving emotional selfregulation impulse control being able to anticipate the future anticipating consequences for one s actions and the ability to focus One reason that this part of the brain is the last to mature is that the frontal lobe learns from life experiences So yes many bright teens can think critically But the adolescent also believes he she is invincible and that no harm will come to him This limited ability to predict the future and thinking one is invulnerable explains how adolescents more than any group find themselves in situations with no easy exits What do I do The caregiving of a teenager whose parent is in prison requires a somewhat different skill set than in giving care to younger children Some questions the caregiver would want to reflect upon are What has my parenting style been all along What has worked What strategies were less successful For the caregiver who has multiple children what are the different ways similar ways I approach each of the children in my care The reason that taking care of an adolescent is so challenging is the push pull nature of the developmental stage It is a period of giving the teen some but not too much freedom and responsibility being vigilant and reeling them back in when they demonstrate a need for closer supervision and scrutiny The risks and dangers are different for teenagers than for toddlers Keeping the teenager safe but also letting him or her make small but not life threatening mistakes is a delicate balance to maintain The weekly family meeting is still a good place for systematic ritualized checking in airing of feelings and problem solving Seek the support of a caregiver accomplice or associate in your family or community because sometimes teenagers reject the advice you offer They may be more accepting if a respected aunt admired teacher a coach or mentor tells them the same thing you have _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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17 What do I say Using the themes of Rocko s Guitar as discussion points for caregivers of adolescents The main character Rocko is described as a six year old boy But because of the themes of the story he could easily be an older child a young adolescent Themes from Rocko s Guitar Loss of time shared with father doing shared activities Telling secrets Trust in relationships A child identifies with his father Self blame my dad left because of me Being asked to assume more responsibility for home upkeep in the absence of the father Finding safe caregiving adults in one s community Questions for caregivers of teenagers using Rocko s story 1 Who are you today How would you describe yourself 2 Who do you want to be when you grow up 3 How are you like your parents Describe and explain 4 Can you label how you feel about father being in prison 5 What is hardest for you about him not being here 6 What coping strategies do you use to manage your father s absence Tell me some positive coping strategies and some notsopositive coping strategies 7 Who is your support group 8 Mom s having to compensate for the father s absence by taking a second job Is mom now more tired Because she is more tired and worried herself has this changed her relationship emotional availability with Rocko 9 How does Rocko feel about mom not telling him the truth 10 Why does Rocko think his mother did not tell him the truth initially 11 What happens when Rocko does not express his feelings directly to his mother or father _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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18 Recommendations for caregivers Self care is more important than anything An overview guide to being a good caregiver Self care The caregiver cannot take care of someone else unless he or she takes care of him or herself How do you care for yourself fill yourself up so that you do not feel depleted Have a self care plan This means having a reasonable thought out plan for giving yourself needed respite and quiet alone time Is there someone in your support circle who can take the child ren for an afternoon or evening so you can go for a walk go grocery shopping unencumbered go to a movie read a book Ask for help Never feel the need to worry alone See caregivers resources on Https www mystoryandme co m Respite Is there someone in your support circle whom you d trust to take one or all of the children you care for even for a few hours for a meal so you can get a break Establish a support system of family and friends Have a backup care plan in writing for shortterm emergencies Make sure you share these plans with all involved Make plans in writing who will take care of the children more long term vs a short emergency if something happens to you Make sure you have shared these plans with all those involved Take care of yourself your physical health and mental health for wellbeing See your doctor and dentist regularly Consider participating in either individual counseling or participating in a small support group for others who are caring for children of incarcerated parents Is there someone in your support circle to whom you can speak freely someone who will not judge but who also will not enable Feeling _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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19 understood in a moment of need is a priceless gift Take care of yourself spiritually Religious and spiritual beliefs bring great comfort to some Church communities provide support and acceptance during times of emotional need Be forgiving of yourself do your best The children in your care are not the only ones affected by a parent s incarceration You too are affected You have every right to have negative feelings about the person incarcerated However as in other caregiving circumstances like divorce criticizing the incarcerated parent to the child directly is not productive in the long or short run Such behavior will ultimately damage the child s self image the child s relationship with you and the incarcerated parent It is more than okay to talk in a disparaging manner to peers your mental health provider your doctor in other words other adults in your life who will understand not judge and honor your confidentiality Intentional caregiving When talking about the incarcerated parent to the children in your care do your best to be measured intentional Take a moment to yourself to carefully script what it is you want to say to the children in your charge Consider the child s age and developmental stage choosing language that can be understood easily by a child of that age Truth telling Keeping secrets has a way of coming back to haunt us all While in crisis telling the child a developmentally appropriate rendition of what happened may seem cruel and unfair In a world that moves so fast and is so complicated our motivation may be pure For all responsible adults and caregivers we want to let our children be children if they can But often in our own shock shame self blame and embarrassment we forget the resilience of children And we forget their ability with our support to bounce back from what life throws at them Truth telling is hard But consider these questions as you prepare _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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20 your script for your conversation about the absent parent Consider reading Truth and The Big Dinner as a means of explaining incarceration and having a discussion about truth versus hiding or avoiding the truth Would I rather the child in my care hear about what happened from me in a developmentally appropriate fashion or leave to chance how the child is given the information When someone has not told me the truth how has that affected the relationship with that person More generally how does a lie or secret affect my ability or anyone s ability to trust moving forward The message is not for the caregiver to spill indiscriminately horrific or violent details that will ultimately traumatize the child and secondarily traumatize the caregiver Remember Keep it simple keep it short keep it honest within reason Themes from Truth and the Big Dinner regarding Truth the little girl 1 Truth was concerned about her self image as she was found looking at herself in the mirror wanting to look as good as the other girls in the family 2 Family gatherings are important to Truth She cherishes the family system 3 Truth is concerned about her missing mother long before she discovers the truth 4 Feelings of disappointment and betrayal surface Even with this disappointment Truth becomes excited about little things that mean a lot like the ice cream maker 5 When Truth first asked I wonder how long it s going to be before my mom comes over the silence was evidence that the parents and caregivers did not know what to say in response Should they tell her the truth or make up a falsehood 6 Telling the truth can be uncomfortable at times but it is best to be honest using ageappropriate communication _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions

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21 Questions for caregivers of teenagers using Truth and The Big Dinner story 1 Can you think of a time when you really wanted to do something with a parent and you had to change your plans How did it make you feel What made you feel better 2 What are some ways that Truth can feel close to her mom even though she is not there hint phone writing video conference visits 3 Auntie Lou Lou admitted to Truth that the family did not tell Truth about her mom because they were afraid it might hurt Truth What ways could Truth be informed about her mom without expressing all of the details of the arrest and subsequent incarceration 4 If you could rewrite Truth s Resources and Summaries See also https www mystoryandme co m My Notes story during the big dinner how would the story unfold How would it be different What would the truth look like _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This resource sheet is part of a research initiative titled Parent and Caregiver s Perceptions of Storytelling as Creative Intervention for Children With Incarcerated Parents also known as the Storybook Research Project This project and research was funded by Walden University Faculty Research Initiative Grant The Principle Investigator for this Project is Dr Avon Hart Johnson HS BCP The two Co Principle Researchers are Dr Geoffrey Johnson Dr Renata Hedrington Jones For more information please visit https www mystoryandme com to contact the research team email avon hart johnson2 mail waldenu edu C Users bonni Dropbox 1 Human Services Journal Articles Call for Papers 2018 New Bibliotherapy2018 12 TrainingGuides FinalVersions