Signs that your child needs therapy after your affair

Patricia O'Laughlin, Family, Marriage & Art Therapist, shares advice for parents on how to tell if your child needs therapy after finding out about a parent's affair
Parenting Tips | Signs Your Child Needs Therapy After Your Affair
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Signs that your child needs therapy after your affair

Affairs do impact a child. It depends on what age the child is and how they're going to respond. But whether they're 6 months or 18 years or even into their 20s, finding out that their parents have had an affair is extremely difficult. They're not always able to express themselves verbally, and this makes their job around parenting and an affair very difficult. Children express their feelings through behaviors. When a child shifts their behaviors, that's when a parent knows that something is going on, that they are trying to express themselves and that they have a need that needs to be met. During an affair, children might become more distracted. They might not participate as much with their friends in social activities or even communicate with their teachers in class. Or, when it's at its worst, they might do something such as breaking toys. Or teenagers might start punching walls. Therapy is really important when this starts to happen. They need somebody outside of the family to talk to. For teenagers, it can be very confusing during the time of an affair. Sometimes they stop going to class. If you don't know your teenager's whereabouts, and you don't think you're getting a straight story, it's very important to know that the affair is affecting them. Don't ignore this. Get them help. Have them talk to somebody at school. They need support.

Patricia O'Laughlin, Family, Marriage & Art Therapist, shares advice for parents on how to tell if your child needs therapy after finding out about a parent'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,, and Pregnancy Magazine. She writes for numerous websites and parenting blogs, such as The Good Men Project and She was filmed as a “Teen Expert” for 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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