Are you dating someone with children? Moved in with a lover and you both have children. Planning an engagement event? Preparing for a Civil Union, Domestic Partnership or Marriage Ceremony? Thinking about making a house, home and family? Have you ever asked your child how they feel when you break-up, make-up or get into a new relationship? Each time you are in a relationship, so is your child. You hurt, grieve, feel angry or happy so will your children.
“She’s in bed….she’s asleep…there’s no way waking her up,” said Gina, seven years old, covering for her mom who was out with another girlfriend who she was cheating with while her mommy #2 was at work. Gina really likes her newest mom’s girlfriend and didn’t want her to leave like all the others.
This role reversal where the children are taking care of their parents or caregivers, rather heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer or questioning upsets the natural order in a family. If the kids are taking care of the adults, who is taking care of the kids? And where do the kids put their loyalties? With the cheating parent or the unknowing Girlfriend?
The story behind the story. When they married they planned a life together that included having a baby, Gina. However, they broke-up and divorced within the first three years of Gina’s life. Gina’s mom has had four girlfriends including her Life-Partner, Gina’s other, ‘real’ mom. Currently, she can’t see or talk to Mommy#2 anymore because they both argued, cursed and physically fought each other, often, even when Gina was around. Mommy#1, says that “It’s over! You don’t need her. We are better off without her.!” Gina feels that she will never have her real family back and thinks that it’s all her fault because she repeated what saw her other mom doing when she asked about what was happening in the house they once all lived in happily. Gina thinks to herself, “Nobody asked if I wanted a divorce. I missed my Mommy #2. I love her, I do need her and want to spend time with her. But, now she has a new girlfriend and a new family. I feel so all, alone. Nobody wants me they all want somebody else’s, body.”
So with this newly learned habit of lying for mom, came a second rule about life — Lying is allowed if it spares another from pain or spares yourself from punishment. The first rule a child learns is “How to deal with Emotional Pain.” A child may defend themselves from the onslaught of emotional pain through the defenses of denial and justification.
Children whose parents or caregivers are experiencing marital, relationship conflict, or infidelity feel many emotions — guilt, confusion, loneliness, sadness, fear, worry, abandonment, unbearable shattering-heart feelings. When a child is losing the security base of what they believed is a strong familiar partnership, marriage, relationship, or home-life they are bombarded with emotional pain, similar to what you are feeling .
This first rule teaches a child how to solve crucial problems that they will face later in life. Instead of facing and solving those problems, they may deny the very existence of an issue and look the other way as the emotional issues turn into problems that would grow and eventually overwhelm them.
The second rule about life – Lying, dishonesty, lack of integrity, and unethical behaviors is an emotional set-up which may continue into adulthood with family, friends, careers, and romantic relationships.
Third rule, in order to maintain a secret second life, wayward partners must keep up the deceit. Another lesson from this rule on deceit is that the child learns that Lying is allowed when it protects your privacy. Everyone has a right to privacy in their life, right? Even if it involves hurting people behind their back?
Young or old, children are often unwilling participants in relationship and marital battles. Their security and self-esteem can be damaged long after the adults in their lives issues and relationship problems have been settled. As painful as infidelity issues are to the participants, the adults must realize the necessity to protect the welfare of their children. Children of all ages, even adult children, are too often drawn into loyalty conflicts and made privy to information which should be confidential among the two adults, not the child.
Relationship and Marital discord is hard enough on children. It undermines the basic security needed for them to learn and grow. When infidelity is added, a troubled relationship turns a problem into a disaster. Parents or Caregivers who have an affair(s) are teaching their children very important rules that are likely to be followed for the rest of their lives.
Know that you have the responsibility to teach children the importance of honesty and the importance of thoughtfulness — considering other people’s feeling when decisions are being made. To do otherwise is not only terribly irresponsible, but may tend to perpetuate the learning of these dysfunctional emotional-life rules for generations to come.
Children learn from their parents and/or caregivers. In fact these adults are the most influential guides in a child’s life. Many will see their mannerisms and phrases being used by their child or children in their care.
Be aware that you are more than role-models for mannerisms and phrases. You are models for crucial aspects of life: a work ethic, intimate relationships, friendships, domestic skills, communication, and problem-solving skills. Lessons about life are being taught when you have an affair — lessons that you usually don’t want your child to learn.
A New Rule about life, “Just look the other way?” NO NOT! ~~ In DrBev’s World
BEVERLY DRBEV JACKSON, Psychotherapist to real -people with regular lives, doing regular things, and experiencing real-time drama, trauma, and chaos in their life.” What? What! What is your problem and what are you going to do about it? Contact DrBev Mental Health Counseling. DrBev specializes in helping survivors of traumatic experiences achieve peace of mind and transformation; Teach you how to communicate with love in all your relationships; Strive for self-awareness and thrive for what will help you most in the long run. Want MORE? Give yourself MORE! Be MORE. Today..