The older a child is, the more capable he or she is of abstract thinking, so worries about what is going to happen to the family and how their lives will change or who they will lose if there is a divorce can surface.
They may withdraw or act out in an effort to get their parent’s attention, stop the affair, or prevent a divorce.
Other couples are in complete denial that the children are effected at all; since the children are showing a lot of support and understanding.
In fact, children can get pulled in and become the source of comfort for either spouse.
However, this is a grandiose assumption that more and more requires you to lie to, manipulate and avoid intimate contact with your family, sometimes with irrevocable results.
Many couples I see who are trying to work on healing from an affair are devastated not only by the destruction in their own relationship, but also by their children’s reactions.
When thinking about young children It is important to keep in mind that the younger a child is, the more the family is experienced as if it is the whole world.
Older children may also regress, but they also have more access to language for what they are thinking and feeling.
Conversely, the child may start trying to be perfect, completely hiding the intense anxiety that is eating away at them on the inside; if the parents are preoccupied with the fallout from disclosure the child can feel abandoned and no longer loved.Shoplifting, vandalizing, getting into fights, running away from home, acting hyper, setting fires, and even threatening suicide are common reactions.“My parents will realize they have to stay together if they see how disturbed I am.” Preadolescent and adolescent children: The older a child is, the more apt he or she is to get drawn into the conflict surrounding the affair by one or both parents.Younger children might not fully understand what has happened, but nevertheless can be traumatized by the change in the emotional climate in the home.There is a sense that something that was whole that was the foundation for everything else has been severely damaged if not destroyed.They can be manipulated into taking sides and vilifying one or the other parent.