They do not need to know!
We have been together for a while and yet there are times when it feels like we have just begun. In many ways, we continue to redefine who we are as a couple/corporation. Of course, this re-creation can be a little difficult when you add kids to the equation.
Lee says: Being a kid of a broken relationship can be devasting. If they are lucky, they are ignored completely. In most cases, they become emotional pawns with the power of a Bishop and immobility of a King. I know, very poetic but what I’m trying to impress on each reader here is that the kids need your attention during re-building and don’t need to be involved in the details of the re-construction. I am so tired of how people twist the emotional wisdom of seeking their happiness which in turn will bring happiness to their kids. Yes it is true. If Mom and Dad are happy, the kids will usually be happy. However, if to be happy, the parent needs to galavant around ala Jon the ‘Douchebag’ Gosselin and act like a lothario or playboy, then that does not translate to a child’s joy. ‘Hey Daddy, how many whores did you bang last weekend?’ said in eight part harmony may sound pretty but is by no means healthy for a kid.
Then you have those couples who feel the need to include their kids in their misery. My parents were like that. It was the tug of war of who do you love more that ultimately had me declare that I hated them both equally. Of course I was a teenager and, said with the appropriate shrill voice and hair toss as I stomped away, made the statement very dramatic. Your daughter does not need to know that Daddy cheated or the son doesn’t need to know that Mom has not wanted to touch his Dad in months. This is private and should stay that way.
So while we are at it, let’s make this a rule:
Keep the kids out of it!
Do not share your dirty laundry with your kids! Do your own unmentionables! This is the kind of thing where a parent will justify telling their children things they shouldn’t with such nuggets as ‘They had the right to know’ or ‘They are members of the family’ or my personal favorite ‘I don’t lie to my children’. I call bullshit on all these! They may have the right to know but they don’t need to know. They are members of the family but they are not consulted when you make a major purchase are they? They do not have a vote in the bigger decisions, do they? So they have a special position where you should be protecting them from your stupidity. Lying to your child is not a neccesity. You can use this as an opportunity to teach them about responsibility.
Anything else is the act of a victim. A victim seeks allies. A victim needs to tell their story to anyone who will listen. A victim will justify their abhorable behavior with almost plausible reasoning. ‘He had it coming’ and ‘They made me do it’ are all statements created by a victim. And as we mentioned before, beginnings and re-creating of relationships can only be done from a position of responsibility.
I really encourage any couple, if they want to ‘start over’, to go seek professional help. You need a safe place to do the dirtier part of re-building. Consider the therapist as a building code inspector. They make sure you are building things to be safe and will stop construction if you have taken any short-cuts. We have also been known to take bribes or sides but do not hold that against the whole of the industry.
Paul says: …or in other words, doing this makes your kids want to gouge out their own ears with a spoon. No child wants to know about their parent’s love life and they especially don’t want to know that you are bad at it. They do not want to know that daddy has a new mommy for you but has to pay her by the hour. Or that mommy has a hyperactive gag reflex. They just need to know that they are loved. Everything else is shit frosting on a yummy cake.