An affair can rock a relationship to its core. When it comes to infidelity in a marriage, you can either choose to try to repair things or end the marriage. If you have kids with your spouse, though, it often makes things more complicated.
Whether you were cheated on or you were unfaithful, your emotions are likely all over the place.
Worrying about your children and how to help them through it is normal. But, you have to first focus on accepting what happened and making sure you can get through it, too. That’s why self-care is so essential throughout the process.
Talk to a marriage therapist who specializes in affair recovery counseling about it and get the help you need to cope before you focus on working things out with your kids.
With that in mind, let’s look at some ways you can help your children cope after an affair.
Leave the Kids Out of Your Conflict
Affairs are severe, life-changing events. They are also very “adult” events. If your children are younger and may not fully understand that concept, it may be better not to tell them. If you do, you could be bringing them into your marital problems.
This approach could lead them to think poorly of one of their parents. It might also make them feel as though they have to choose a parent to be kind to, or one they want to stay with. They might even start to copy your emotions and act out in ways you’ve never seen before.
Keeping the details of the affair to yourself can make it easier for your children, especially if you and your spouse decide to split up. They’ll have a better chance of transitioning to a new lifestyle effectively if they aren’t forced to think poorly of one parent or another.
Stick to the Basics
If you do think your children are old enough to talk about the subject and understand it, make sure you approach the topic the right way.
It’s a good idea to keep things as simple and as basic as possible.
Keep your explanation of what happened in summary form without going into details. Use age-appropriate language that your children will understand. Let your child know that some things aren’t appropriate for them to hear.
You don’t have to share everything. Keeping some of the details to yourself is a better idea, and it will help your child to remain neutral when it comes to “choosing” a parent’s side.
Reassure Your Children
One of the best things you can do to help your child cope after a divorce is to reassure them that everything will be okay.
It’s a time of uncertainty for everyone. While you can’t promise that everything will be perfect or that some things won’t change, you can promise that you’ll continue to be there for your children. In most cases, that’s the only thing that matters to them.
Maybe your marriage will work out and be stronger than ever. Or, you might decide a divorce is the best option. Assuring your children that their lives aren’t going to be uprooted, and making sure they know they’re still loved is crucial.
It will be a difficult time for them, so the more security and positivity you can give them the better.
If there’s been an affair in your marriage and you’re not sure how to talk to your kids about it, feel free to contact a Crossroads marriage therapist for more ideas.
Together, your affair recovery therapist and you can work on strategies you can put into place to help your children cope. As a result, they can continue to live a happy and well-adjusted life with both parents. To learn more about our marriage counseling services for affair recovery click here. If you are a Christian couple dealing with an affair and would like to learn more about our C.A.R.E. program click here. If you are concerned for your child or teen please click here to learn more about our counseling services for children and teens.
Help is a phone call away! For a complimentary 20 minute phone consultation please contact us today at (623) 680-3486 or text 623 688-5115 to discuss how marriage therapy for affair recovery at our Scottsdale, Biltmore/Arcadia, or North Phoenix counseling centers can help.