Should extramarital affairs be discussed with kids?

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Should extramarital affairs be discussed with kids?

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When a child finds out that a parent had an affair, it can often be devastating news to the child. The first thing I would like to inquire about is, how did the child get that or obtain that information? Did the other parent tell the child that? Or exactly how did the child come to learn that information? That gives us information about the family dynamics. The second thing is that I think it should be confronted with honesty and yet, privacy. I would suggest that the parent sit down and explain to the child that they have engaged in some behavior for which they are not very proud. The parent is also entitled to some privacy, so I think it would be fine to say, "I'm not going to give you details about anything. That's not important, but I will say that I love you very much. Nothing I did has anything to do with you. I'm going to have to live with my behavior. Parents sometimes make mistakes. This was a mistake on my part."

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Alan Yellin, PhD

Psychologist

Dr. Alan Yellin is a licensed psychologist as well as licensed marriage and family therapist.  He has been in practice for over 30 years working with children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Yellin did his post-doctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. In his practice, he sees children with learning problems, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fears and social skills issues. Additionally, he has a sub-specialty in working with children from divorced families as well as helping parents deal more effectively with their divorce. Dr. Yellin’s practice also includes working with adolescents and adults with depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive issues as well as issues around life passages. Dr. Yellin believes that therapy works best when the client and therapist have a collaborative relationship as they explore thoughts and feelings and work towards solutions, and uses a combination of scientific data along with humor to help people achieve change. He is in a long-term happy marriage and has two grown children.

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