I hear my kids in the other room down the hall giggling, playing together and happy. If there is one thing in my life that is perfect, it’s my kids. My husband and I have put 150% of ourselves into them making sure they are confident, happy, loving and caring children. Every parent loves their kids and thinks they are great, but I guarantee if you met my kids you would say: “wow, those kids are pretty amazing.” [Not to pat myself on the back or anything.]
I was reading information on infidelity this morning at the bottom of the list of articles was a section on children. My husband and I have not told our children anything. During the affair, my kids were aware that their father was disconnected. They voiced their concerns to me just before I figured it out. One of my son’s told me he felt that his father was not engaged when he was home with us anymore. He was concerned that we were arguing (we only argued when my husband was gas-lighting me too). My son was concerned. I was concerned too. Knowing that my child had concerns was my breaking point to going through my husband’s emails.
My husband and I are very involved with all three of our children. We aren’t those crazy parents that over-schedule our kids but our kids play at least one sport throughout the year of their choice and have to be involved in the community through a club/organization of their choice. Whatever else they do is up to them but school is their first priority. Working hard and doing their best is a lesson we feel is most important. Being honest and trustworthy is also important to our family.
I don’t want to tell my kids about their father’s infidelity. I am afraid it will change them. I fear it will change how they view and respect their father. I still have feelings of humiliation that I am dealing with. So when I read an article today about the positive aspects of telling young (school-aged) children about a parent’s infidelity it took my focus off myself. The article said that being honest with your children allows them to understand that they should be honest with you about sexuality and life’s challenges. They talked to children that know about their parent’s infidelity and the kids said that they knew their parents were still their parents. They were reassured that the parents loved them and were going to work on their marriage (or sometimes not) and this was a life lesson.
I am torn. As you read above I have a son. I am fearful of how this knowledge will affect my son’s opinion and respect for his father. My husband literally taught my son while he was in his affair about the importance of a man being honest and trustworthy. My son will recognize his father lied to him. My husband will be humiliated to admit his affair to our children. Although his humilation ranks low on my list of why we shouldn’t tell the kids.
Before I read this article I believed telling the kids would lead to them someday cheat on their spouses… almost like telling your teenager that you drank or had sex as a teenager.
Do as I say not as I do
type parenting. Even if you are saying this is why you shouldn’t cheat on a partner–kids respect their parents and they may not see the negatives. I fear my children will feel they can make the same mistakes and be okay. The article believes that the truth may be difficult depending on the age of the children and that teenagers and adult children actually have the most difficulty with the knowledge of a parent’s affair. But the author told her children when they were eleven and thirteen years old and feels strongly it was the right thing to do. One of the reasons is that an affair is built on secrecy and when you keep your spouse’s affair a secret it perpetuates infidelity in society. Telling people the truth teaches a lesson that
affairs happen to good people in good marriages.
Honesty with children helps them to be honest with their own sexuality and relationships when they grow older. The author compared the mindset of an affair’s secrecy with the way a teenager sneaks around to have or explore sex.
Is telling my children going to destroy their happiness and innocence? Do my kids need to know to be better people and prevent infidelity in their own lives? Who out there has told their children? How old are your children? I know that at least two of mine are in the age range where they could know about their father’s affair. I just fear them having a fallout with their father. I fear them losing respect for him or me. I don’t want them to fear we will divorce when I am having a bad day or their father doesn’t answer his phone or is working late. I don’t want to break their hearts or destroy their happiness. I truly believe that kids only get to be children for so long and we shouldn’t rush them into adult issues too quickly. I also don’t want them to ever make this mistake in their marriage.