What to do when your child tells you your spouse is having an affair

Tammy Nelson, PhD explains what to do when your child tells you that your spouse is having an affair
Parenting Advice | What to do when your child tells you your spouse is having an affair
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What to do when your child tells you your spouse is having an affair

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What should you do when your child comes to you and says, I think mom or dad is having an affair. How do you react? How do you respond? Well first of all, if your child comes to you and says something that dramatic, they are really concerned. They either have real information or their intuition is telling them something important. And they really want you to listen. So the most important thing for you to do is hold that space for them. Create a container to listen. And the best way to listen to a child when they're telling you something important is to make eye contact and mirror them. All that means is so what you're telling me is you think dad is having an affair. You found a message on his phone that said that he's cheating. I hear you. I hear what you're saying. It sounds like you're upset about that. And to really let them know that they're heard. Because they will continue to be upset unless they know that their message has really gotten across to you. And let them know, I really got that message. I really hear you. And I'm going to do something with that information. I'm going to really honor that you brought that to me. And I think that you did the right thing. That must have been so hard for you tell me. I appreciate your honesty. And I appreciate that you shared that with me, even though it must have been hard. Because you're trying to model honesty. You're trying to model integrity. And you're trying to model transparency. So by doing that, by validating their feelings, by showing empathy for how hard it is, and by honoring that they did something difficult, you're honoring those things. And then, after you did that, and you reassure them that they did the right thing, and you're honoring that they did it, then you can go and confront your spouse totally separately from your child.

Tammy Nelson, PhD explains what to do when your child tells you that your spouse is having an affair

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Expert Bio

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Tammy Nelson, PhD

Psychotherapist & Relationship Expert

Tammy Nelson PhD is the author of several books including, “Getting the Sex You Want; Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together”  (2008) and  “What’s Eating You? A Workbook for Anorexia and Bulimia (2004)” and her latest  book “The New Monogamy; Redefining Your Relationship After Infidelity” (January 2013) is receiving critical acclaim.  She has been a featured expert in New York Times, Washington Post, Self,  Glamour Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, MSNBC,  Shape, Men’s Health, Women’s Health Woman’s Day, Women’s Health, and a source in Time Magazine. She writes for the Huffington Post, YourTango and can be followed on her blog www.drtammynelson.com/blog/.

Tammy Nelson is a Board Certified Sexologist, a Certified Sex Therapist and an Imago Relationship Therapist.  She is an international speaker and a licensed psychotherapist in private practice with over 25 years of experience working with individuals and couples.  She travels and lectures internationally on her quest for global relational change.

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