Psychologists suggest that a healthy family structure is an ideal environment for a child’s upbringing and that their parents’ actions can ruin their life forever, especially when they are young. According to a study, in more than 1/3 of marriages, partners have admitted to cheating and the 35% who were unfaithful to their significant other admitted that they would do it again. Sometimes parents might not realize the effects their actions have on their families and that their decisions can ruin their children’s lives.
Here at Bright Side, we did some research and learned how infidelity can impact a child’s psychology for life.
1. They blame themselves.
Children tend to blame themselves when they see their family falling apart. This is because they lack emotional maturity and are unable to separate themselves as a person from their parents; so their parents wrong-doings are felt to be their own.
They feel unworthy of love and affection because their parents do not show love and affection to each other. This then becomes a norm to them, and they continue to absorb the blame as they grow up, feeling that the withdrawal of love in their family is something that they have caused.
2. They will become unfaithful adults.
Children follow in their parents’ footsteps most of the time and even repeat the bad decisions they make because that’s what they are the most familiar with! According to a clinical psychologist, 55% of the children whose parents were unfaithful also became unfaithful in their adult lives. This is because children see their parents as their heroes and role-models. In their minds, whatever a parent does is the “right” thing; so they grow up feeling that infidelity is acceptable behavior even if they know it isn’t.
3. Fear of abandonment
A child has a unique perspective for the family dynamic, and despite what differences the parents have with each other, when a parent is unfaithful to their spouse, a child will feel that the parent is unfaithful to the whole family. The child then feels that a parent who was cheated on did nothing to deserve this betrayal and abandonment. Therefore, children who experience this abandonment in the family grow up fearing abandonment in their adult relationships. They end up pushing other people away in order to avoid losing them.
4. Facing the worst betrayal
Children don’t care enough about betrayal from friends or relatives because they have a special bond with their family and this reality keeps them from getting hurt. A betrayal between their parents, on the other hand, can affect them deeply. This is because they feel that the special bond they had within their family has been broken and the fear of uncertainty rises.
They will begin questioning the truth and feeling uncertain about the future. Children will feel that they won’t be able to find the comfort of the family they once had and this is the worst betrayal anyone can experience at a young age.
5. Trust issues
According to a study on clinical psychology, 70% of children who experiences unfaithfulness in their parent’s relationship develop trust issues in their personal lives as adults. They believe that because one of their parents was cheated on, they will also be cheated on. They find it difficult to trust their partners and they become very possessive over their significant others causing the majority of their relationships to fail!
6. Disbelief in love
Approximately 80% of children with divorced parents grow up not believing in love when they become adults. At a young age, they associate themselves so much with their parents that when they grow up they feel doomed to fail in their love lives as well, so they develop destructive behavior.
As adults they “know” that their relationships won’t last so subconsciously they sabotage love when it comes their way by cheating first. They would rather have casual relationships that won’t last rather than a relationship that would make them constantly question if their partner loves them or if they will cheat on them just it as it happened with their parents.
7. Feeling forced to choose sides
Children of divorced or separated parents feel that when one of the parents is hurt they will have to choose sides because they think this is the best way to support the parent who got hurt. In their little minds, they want to keep everyone happy and they feel split down the middle. Even though they love both their parents they feel one might need more support than the other so they begin to distance themselves from the other parent.
What is important in these cases is to try and keep children separate from this situation and both parents should treat each other respectfully during the separation in order to prevent their children from feeling guilty over something that is entirely NOT their fault.
Sometimes divorce and separation are inevitable in relationships, and there is no guarantee that a marriage will last forever. In many cases, couples who divorce each other due to differences manage to raise their children perfectly together. However, it is extremely important for adults to think responsibly before going into an “adventure” that will ruin their family members’ lives forever.
Have you experienced infidelity as a child or as an adult? What would you recommend to other parents? Please let us know in the comments below!
Illustrated by Leisan Gabidullina for BrightSide.me