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5 Things Children Learn When Parents Cheat

Things Children Learn When Parents Cheat

In the first few years of a child’s life, they look up to their parents. But their view might crumble when one of their parents cheat. Here are the effects of infidelity on children. It’s important to have a conversation when your child finds out you cheated. They may start to think that their family isn’t a safe abode, as they thought it to be.

I know that it feels like an affair is between grown-ups and something that kids will never know about but, if they do, the things that your kids learn when you cheat are quite significant and life-changing.

We parents work hard to set a good example for our children. We model kindness and honesty because we want our kids to be healthy and happy. And then we go and cheat, something that most likely goes against everything we have taught them. And, with the discovery of an affair, our parental modeling falls apart.

So, if you are considering having an affair, or are in one and wondering if it’s worth it, considering how it might affect your children is a really good idea.

Effects of Infidelity on Children: Parents Having Affair

Common effects of infidelity on children. Here are 5 things that your kids learn when you cheat on your spouse.

1. That they don’t need to self-soothe.

From almost the moment they are born, we try to teach our children to self-soothe. We let them ‘cry it out’ when they are falling asleep. We teach them how to manage their emotions and how to work through sadness or disappointment. It’s not an easy thing to teach, especially to adults who struggle to do so themselves.

I have a client who was miserable in her marriage. She had been for years and hadn’t been dealing with it because doing so was difficult. And then she met a co-worker who was in the same space and they were able to share their pain with each other. Before they knew it, their intimate conversations led to feelings of love and attraction. And the affair began.

For the first time in a long time, my client wasn’t miserable. For the first time in a long time, she felt joy and hope for the future. And it was intoxicating.

When she was with her man, she felt wonderful and when she wasn’t, she felt desperate. The pain she was dealing with for years came rushing back when she was living her normal life. Not being with her lover became unbearable.

When her affair was discovered, she tried to explain to her kids that she had been unhappy and that’s why the affair happened. What her kids learned there was that, if you are unhappy, it’s okay to reach out to other things to soothe them. Like an affair. Or alcohol or drugs. Not a good lesson, is it?

2. That marriage can be thrown away.

5 Things Children Learn When Parents Cheat
Effects of Infidelity on Children: When Your Child Finds Out You Cheated

Both of my parents had affairs when I was a child. I remember vividly going to the office with my dad and knowing that he was having an affair with a co-worker. A strange man used to call my mom all the time. She told us that ‘he was her lawyer.’

As a result, from a very young age, I knew that my parent’s relationship wasn’t important to either one of them. They might have pretended that it was but my brother and sister and I all knew it wasn’t. And, when they got divorced, we were proven exactly right.

My siblings and I, once we started dating, were notorious for never being able to stay in a relationship. We were always looking out for the next shiny thing. Our parents had not taught us how to have respect for a relationship or how to keep one healthy. So, we just stabbed around in the dark, trying to find a relationship that we might consider committing to.

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Mitzi Bockmann

I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.View Author posts