When children find out their parent has had an affair, their emotional and mental health depends largely on how the parents handle this information. Below is a list of key things parents need to do when their children learn of an affair:
- Whether the children learn of the affair from an outside source or from the parents, both parents need to talk with the children at the same time. Ideally, the parents prepare an agenda so when speaking to their kids, they are on the same page.
- When parents talk to their children about the affair, the focus needs to be off of the third party involved and on the fact that the marriage was suffering.
- No details of the affair should be given.
- Ideally, the parent who has stepped outside of the relationship will be honest and accountable for his or her decision to do so.
- Parents must refrain from blame in this conversation. Children quickly adopt the blaming attitude of a parent.
- The betrayed spouse must not use a child as a sounding board or therapist. It is not appropriate!
- The parents need to be very clear with their children that the affair was not the children’s fault – the the children had nothing at all to do with it.
- As quickly as possible, parents need to find a therapist for their children. Having an objective party with whom to process their feelings is paramount.
To learn more on how to handle this situation, click here.