Author Topic: Tell Them The What. But Do You Tell Them The Why?  (Read 6526 times)

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oceanus

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Re: Tell Them The What. But Do You Tell Them The Why?
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2013, 02:11:15 PM »
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Under the circumstances, I'd very, very strongly say that what they really need is a  good family therapist or counsellor with a speciality in divorce and family issues. 

Agree.

I don't see this as an etiquette issue.

Moray

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Re: Tell Them The What. But Do You Tell Them The Why?
« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2013, 02:18:52 PM »

Under the circumstances, I'd very, very strongly say that what they really need is a  good family therapist or counsellor with a speciality in divorce and family issues. 

Personally, from an ethical and practical viewpoint, I'd say the children should be told, but they should be told *by the person who had the affair*, in an "I messed up and I'm really sorry" sense.

Otherwise, it's really tricky. If the mother tells them about the affair, they may believe she's lying, particularly if the father denies it.  Or they may believe it, but feel they have to defend their father, who they still love, to/from a naturally angry and hurt mother, or feel they have to reject him to support her, which can damage the parent child relationships for a long time. If custody issues etc go to the courts or mediation, it may be seen as the mother trying to hurt the father and turn the kids against him.

If they don't say anything, at that age, and in this situation (an affair with another kid's mom) there's a good chance they'll find out on their own, and rightly feel betrayed because they found out via gossip rather than being told by the people they should be able to trust.

I would also add that what's being done with the kids now is kind of cruel. They know very well that something is badly wrong in the marriage, and they are being given a brushoff. When, sometime down the road, they find out their worst fears are being right, they will realize that they were being lied to, which can cause extra anger and resentment on top of the fact that their family has just been destroyed.
this.

and like yesterday. the kids are aware that something is going on and they need to know what that is.

Ditto. I don't think etiquette enters into this at all; this is a matter for family counselling.
Utah

LadyR

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Re: Tell Them The What. But Do You Tell Them The Why?
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2013, 02:41:05 PM »
I have a friend who's mom had a long term affair with the father of another classmate. Everyone in town knew and we grew up with the rumours. Her paretns did eventually divorce (for multiple reasons), I don't know if her parents ever addressed it directly, but A know the rumours and specilation messed with her head big time and she had some pretty messed up relationships for a wle before she met her husband.

I found as an adult that both my parents had affairs. I'd heard something as a child that made me wonder and it was always in the back of my mind, then years later a drunk relative let s ething sip. I brought it up with my mom and she was honest about it (my dad was dead at that point). Her theory was h wasn't going to advertise it, but she was never going to lie either. In my case though, it didn't rally affect me, my parents didn't divorce, there was no nasty gossip, etc.

I think in most cases, especially dealing with teenagers, it is best to sit them down and be honest.