What to tell your child if your partner has an affair

Patricia O'Laughlin, Marriage & Family Therapist, shares advice for parents on right things to tell their children after learning of your spouse's affair
What To Tell Your Kids If Your Partner Has An Affair
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What to tell your child if your partner has an affair

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If your partner has an affair, it's important for you to address this with your child. Don't provide details to your child, such as who the affair was with, how often it happened, and when it happened. However, validate to your child that something different is happening in the house. Maybe there's more anger. Maybe there's more distance between you and your partner. The child's going to feel this, and as a parent you need to validate this for them so they can understand their feelings and their experiences. You have a right to not tell your child details, even if they suspect something. You need to be responsible for keeping the boundary between your relationship with your partner and not with your child. If your child knows about the affair, it's important not to lie to them. Now children of different ages are going to understand things differently. A younger child is going to have a harder time understanding what an affair means versus a teenager. You can something to the child like, mommy or daddy isn't treating me the way someone in a marriage should. That validates to the child that something is going on, and also that you feel like you deserve to be treated better, and role models to the child that some day they will need to be treated better as well.

Patricia O'Laughlin, Marriage & Family Therapist, shares advice for parents on right things to tell their children after learning of your spouse's affair

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Patricia O'Laughlin, MFT

Psychotherapist & Art Therapist

Patricia O’Laughlin, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Art Therapist, has a private practice in Los Angeles where she specializes in the “psychology of parenting”. Patricia believes that there are specific psychological issues surrounding parenting, and created the phrase “psychology of parenting” to capture these unique experiences. Patricia supports adults from the stages of deciding whether to become a parent through the empty nest. She believes that mindful parenting and conscious parenting are essential components to break intergenerational traumas and patterns. Combining traditional “talk” therapy with art therapy, Patricia facilitates a deeper exploration of the self, helping people uncover unconscious motivations and helping them be “who they are”, rather than whom they think they “should be”. Patricia received her master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount University. She is trained to treat Perinatal Mood Disorders from Postpartum Support International and utilizes Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for physical, sexual, neglectful, and relational traumas. Patricia provides individual and couples counseling to adults, teens, and children. She believes wholeheartedly that the world becomes a more peaceful place when individuals feel more balanced inside. As a therapist she wants to help both women and men find their inner balance, so they can be true to themselves and the people they love.Patricia has been interviewed for Baby Center, The Today Show, Parent City USA, She Knows, Care.com, and Pregnancy Magazine. She writes for numerous websites and parenting blogs, such as The Good Men Project and Howtolearn.com. She was filmed as a “Teen Expert” for About.com. Patricia is a speaker at conferences, schools, and businesses. She is currently a part-time faculty member and teaches art therapy at Otis College of Art and Design.  

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