Most kids have some sort of moral compass. Furthermore, depending on age, kids will have a different understanding of what adultery means.
Further still, kids realize they are a product of both parents, even if only psychologically and sociologically if not biologically.
Adultery then has the capacity to cause kids to question their parent’s morality and then by extension, what that may mean for themselves as a person. How they view those issues can create fractures in relationships with the parents and may create concerns for their own capabilities and personal worth. Depending on the age of the child, the details, extent and timing of the infidelity, this can have limited to consequential impacts.
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Notwithstanding the above, adultery, while an issue for the couple, is not a legal factor when helping separated parents sort out financial and parenting issues. Although not a legal factor for consideration, adultery can carry so many emotional, trust and psychological issues, that those can intrude on and influence the degree of conflict the couple experiences in terms of settling financial and parenting matters.
In other words, while not a legal factor, it can be a potent mitigating variable that escalates tensions and makes settlement more challenging.
From that perspective, and appreciating that conflict alone is most predictive as to the psychological and emotional outcome for children subject to parental separation, then adultery, in this capacity, can have significant negative consequences for children.
To mitigate concerns for children, parents are advised not to share this information with them, but maintain a boundary, appreciating that what transpires between the parents remains between the parents.
Some folks, who feel betrayed may argue it is the child’s right to know such things. If this is a belief then it may be helpful for that parent to seek counselling to better review their feelings and determine how or if they wish to protect or differentiate their issues from those of the child. Keep in mind that children are typically better served with an intact and reasonable relationship with both parents.
Issues between parents don’t necessarily have to become issues between either parent and the children. Differentiating can facilitate the child’s adjustment to the parental separation. So, the degree to which a child may be affected by a parent’s adultery can be influenced by the parents’ management of the information and the handling of their own feelings about it.