A scandal like this can have long-lasting effects on children.
When New York governor Eliot Spitzer admitted yesterday to being involved in a prostitution ring, he said, "I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family." That's going to be no easy task. His daughters -- ages 13, 15, and 17 -- are likely reeling from their father's betrayal, says friend of Mom•Logic family counselor Rosanne Tobey, LPC. "When a father cheats, he not only cheats on the wife--he cheats on the whole family," she says.
When she counsels families going through infidelity, Tobey normally advises parents not to tell their children about the affair. But obviously, there is no way that Spitzer's daughters can be shielded from this devastating news. After all, the entire world knows about their father's indiscretions now. How will this affect them? According to Tobey, "Kids in this situation usually feel embarrassed, ashamed, and betrayed."
Tobey says kids whose fathers cheat usually need a lot of coaching, couseling, and comfort, since their support system at home is compromised. She says daughters of men who've cheated often experience trust issues in future relationships. "Not every man they meet will be a cheater, obviously, but they think, 'If I can't trust my father not to cheat on me, then who can I count on?' As a result, they can have a hard time trusting anybody." Tobey says that with the right amount of counseling and support, it's possible that the core of their father-daughter relationship can be saved -- but it's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication on everyone's part.
Have your kids been affected by infidelity? Tell us about it.