Jackson Jr., Sandi sentencing: How will the children cope? - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Jackson Jr., Sandi sentencing: How will the children cope?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Jesse Jackson Jr. could begin serving his sentence in November, just before the holidays begin.

In court Wednesday, the former congressman and his wife Sandi said they want to make sure their time in jail is as painless on their children as it can be. But can that happen?

A child psychologist says this will probably be the toughest talk they'll ever have with their children. She advises them to be open and honest, letting the children ask as many questions as they like.

On Wednesday morning when Jesse Jackson Jr. and Sandi walked into a Washington federal courthouse surrounded by family and close friends, their two children were missing.

Their uncle, Jonathon Jackson, told FOX 32 by phone from D.C., the little Jacksons know what's going on but they don't need to be in the courtroom.

"They know what's going on," he said. "They're 13 and 9 and they have friends that text them and email them. We just know it's a difficult time for them."

The Jacksons two children, Jessica and Jesse Jackson III are enrolled in a private school in Washington D.C. Sources say after their father and mother entered "guilty" pleas in February, the children's grades slipped, letting loved ones know they were thinking about their parents legal troubles.

"They're getting stronger, so we just wrap our arms around them pray and keep them close and keep in very close contact and they too will be able to emerge stronger," Jonathon Jackson said.

Sources also say the family's home in the nation's capital doesn't feel the way it used to. There has been a lot of tension between the two defendants, including heated discussions over who was going to spend their time in federal prison first and who is really to blame for the excessive spending of the former congressman campaign fund.

Child Therapist Denise Duval Tsioles doesn't counsel the Jacksons but she says the best thing the parents can do for the children now is sit down and tell them everything on an age-appropriate level.

"All of the details of what happened don't really need to be discussed, but it's important for the parents not to lie," Tsioles explains. "Tell them what's going on and where they're going to be. These kids are going to want to know what's going on and they'll have lots of questions."

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