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Thoughts on telling special needs kids about the A?

ASoCalledLife posted 11/6/2017 21:31 PM

If this topic has been addressed before, my apologies...I am seeking input on a topic before bringing it up to my husband and my son's therapist.

Our son is nearly 10. He does not know about the A. Very few people know (at my husband's request). However, he is aware that something is "not right" at home. He knows that we left home for a while and he knows that his dad was away for some time. He knows that things aren't the way they used to be and that both his father and I are more sensitive about things, talk less, and that neither of us is really all the way "there" emotionally.

As he is a special needs child, I don't really know if my son really understands the concept of "sex" because developmentally in some ways he's several years younger than his chronological age...intellectually he is on track, but in other ways he is not.

I'm not expressing myself well. Basically I am wondering if it might be beneficial to make my son aware that even though his father is the one who is the most changed and might seem distant and disengaged, it isn't his "fault" but it's because Mom did something unkind that hurt Daddy.

He knows Daddy has been "sick" but I don't know if he connects/grasps mental health concerns as being the same as physical illness and as a valid reason to be less emotionally present. I worry that this period - a low place for my BS as he tries to cope with the A - might result in a rift developing between my son and my husband. I don't want that. I don't want him to resent his dad for not being the dad he used to be.

I want to find an age/developmentally appropriate but honest way to "own" this problem that I created and not have my son perceive things as his dad no longer caring about wanting to be close to him. It's not because I'm trying to put a child in our personal business, but more because all of this so greatly impacts our lives.

Has anyone done this...talked to their kids about all of this when the kids previously had no idea? Including special needs kids? Are there any websites, books, or resources you recommend? Should I pose this idea to the therapist and to my husband? Or is it better to wait for one of them to bring it up (maybe I'm jumping ahead of myself)?

It makes sense to me, but maybe my BS will consider me even suggesting this idea as disrespectful as he has already made it clear he doesn't want people, including family, to know what happened. I'm not trying to disregard his wishes, but how can one effectively and ethically keep something like this from someone you live with who can tell something is drastically different, even if that person is a child? Is that even feasible?

ETA: To be clear, I am 100% aware that this problem is fully MY fault; my BS is not at all to blame for this. But I worry that without a clearer understanding, all my son will see/feel/recall of this period of his life is his dad not being active in his life without having an understanding of what caused his dad to be this way. He should not have to "fall from grace" in his son's eyes because of a natural, human reaction to the devastation that my actions caused. That's what is causing me to consider asking my BS if he would be willing to let our son know more about what's going on.

[This message edited by ASoCalledLife at 9:46 PM, November 6th (Monday)]

JulieMarie posted 11/6/2017 21:39 PM

We have a special needs son. He just turned 12 but mentally a few years younger as well. We have no idea what we are going to do honestly. This is one of my major fears as well. I'm sorry I couldn't help but I hope somebody comes along soon. I could also use advice on the subject as well

PlanC posted 11/7/2017 01:50 AM

I think the BS should heavily weigh in on that decision.

KatieG posted 11/7/2017 02:55 AM

I think this sounds good:

I'm not expressing myself well. Basically I am wondering if it might be beneficial to make my son aware that even though his father is the one who is the most changed and might seem distant and disengaged, it isn't his "fault" but it's because Mom did something unkind that hurt Daddy.

My son was 11 at the time and even though he doesn't have special needs he didn't need to know the detail. Just that we were working out some issues and that WBF had hurt me and damaged the trust in our relationship. Kids have a way of blaming themselves for issues in the family so its important to stress its between the grown ups only, say sorry if there is any tension at that might make things seem different at home and that you are working on it.

I also think it would be good to ask your therapist for advice.

gonnabegr8 posted 11/7/2017 08:25 AM


We need to talk in families about the grave destruction cUsed by adultery - all of this secret keeping perpetuates the shame and blocks healing.

Age appropriate for sure, seek guidance on the special needs aspect and how your son will best hear it.

People don't talk about sex anyway and look at all the eff'd-up-ness we have around it.

Why not talk about it? Not to the grocery store clerk or colleagues necessarily and LOL tho a lot of people do - but to your kid? Hell yes. And comfort them when they grieve - do you want them doing that alone? Or finding out when you're gone?

JackieJ posted 11/15/2017 21:48 PM

Adultery and infidelity are so deeply damaging to not only the spouse, but as you can see, the entire family structure is impacted negatively. Speaking with your therapist should give some insight into the direction you should take with your son. Providing details would likely not be beneficial, but affirming his feelings and perceptions would be helpful. I pray that your family will be able to overcome this.

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