As parents, we naturally want to protect our kids from hurt and pain. We want them to be happy and thriving, right? So when we are trying to make decisions like if we should stay married or not, or feel the pain of sending them to another parent’s home, or deciding how much information to share with them, it can feel very uncomfortable.
In this episode, I will shed some light on new ways to think about your children. You’ll hear client experiences, my own experience, and some perspectives that you may not have considered before.
What if the goal is not actually for our kids to be happy, but something much more meaningful? What if allowing them their experiences, even the really hard ones, will help equip them for a fulfilling life where they know how to bounce back?
Listen to this week’s episode to challenge your own beliefs about what your kids “should” or “shouldn’t” experience. You just may feel some relief.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 61, What About the Kids?
Hello, and welcome to the, Heal from Infidelity podcast, where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the bolded, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
living, but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is. I’m here to show you how. I’m your host, Andrea
Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hello everybody. It’s in the morning here, the sun is coming out, it’s a
beautiful autumn day, the leaves are turning. Last year, at this time in
Montana, it was dumping snow. We had several inches of snow, so I am
soaking up and loving these days that are that nice mix of warm and still a
little bit crisp. Do you know what I’m talking about? That little crisp in
the air, a little cold. The leaves are turning and it’s just beautiful.
Enjoying that. Getting this recorded and out the door before my full day of
Before I jump in to this week’s episode, I want to say thank you to the
people who have taken the time to leave reviews lately. It’s always so
wonderful to hear from my listeners, to hear what’s helping you, to hear
your own stories of growth and resilience. I’m going to read to you today,
a couple of those.
One that came in just recently is from S. Payne. It’s titled, A Must
Listen. It says, “I’m not sure I’ll be able to properly articulate my level
of appreciation for this podcast. I’ve been trying to heal from infidelity
and had been listening to, reading, and journaling my little heart out, but
still feeling like I’m spinning my tires. Since finding this podcast and
starting to work through the episodes, I’ve felt a whole body, soul shift.
There’s so much positivity and encouragement in her gentle pushes for
self-reflection and improvement, that you barely even recognize that you’re
doing the work. My marriage is a work in progress, but I feel very
confident that I be able to get through this season of life with my head
held high. I will come through what felt like the end of my world in a
better state of being because of this podcast. Thank you so much for the
work you’ve put into these episodes. I will be forever grateful.”
S. Payne, thank you so much for taking the time to write that. It means the
world to me to hear from you, to know that this is helping you. That’s why
I do it. It brings me a lot of joy to know that there are people out there
that are benefiting from it.
One more from N. Nelson, RDH. “This podcast is helping me grow into the
version of the person I’ve always wanted to be when faced with devastating
hardships. It’s helping me grow the love in myself and my most precious
relationships. Thank you and keep podcasting.”
Thank you so much. I sure love hearing from you. It truly means the world.
Like I’ve mentioned before, it does help people find this podcast. It gives
credibility to the podcast when people go searching and they see the
reviews, they can read through the reviews, and it helps them find it
quicker. If you have not yet left a review, I would love it if you would
take the time to do that.
Okay. So today’s episode, What About the Kids? Today we’re going to talk
about our children. One of the biggest concerns that I hear in people
trying to decide if they want to stay married or not, how to proceed, is
worrying about the kids. Even if they feel like they already know what that
decision is… Let’s say they decide that they want to stay married, they
might still worry about the kids because they know that the stress and the
upheaval, they wonder how it’s affecting their kids, even if they know that
they’re staying. I’m going to address this today.
My hope is that this episode, although it may hit a nerve, it may feel a
little raw, I’m hoping that it will help bring you some comfort and some
peace as you move forward.
Now, as parents, it is our instinct to protect our babies. We don’t want
them to suffer. We don’t want them to hurt. So many of my clients,
something that I see, is that they don’t really think that they have a
choice to leave because of what they think it will mean for the kids. I see
this with parents of older kids, even if they’ve all moved out of the
house. I see this with parents of younger kids. All across the board,
looking at how will this affect the kids. I get it. I 100% get it.
Here’s the problem with this thinking though. What I see often is that this
thinking, what about the kids, ends up keeping my clients in a position
where they don’t really give themselves full choice of actually what their
options really, really are. They don’t look and own the fact that they
always have choices and that they can leave, they can stay, that they can
choose. They just don’t even give themselves the option because of what
they’re assuming that it will mean for their kids.
When we do that, we keep ourselves in a position of feeling stuck. Often
resentment hangs out here because we feel like we have no other choice, and
then we might blame our spouse that we are in this position. Ultimately in
the end, it still ends up hurting our children because we’re not
necessarily in a place where we are fully owning our choice, because we
feel like we don’t have a choice. Today, that’s what I’m going to address.
We’re going to talk about the options. We’re going to talk about kids.
Now I also see this hurt with clients who are already separated or
divorced. They have thoughts about their kids that often create a whole lot
of pain for them. They don’t like that their kids have to go back and
forth, back and forth to different homes. They don’t like that sometimes
their kids are exposed to the new girlfriend, or a new wife, or a new
husband, or whatever the case may be. They don’t like that and they make
assumptions about it. They make assumptions that it’s hurting their kids,
that it’s hurting their relationship with their kids to have them going
back and forth. Again, while I understand this, I want to shake this up a
little bit. I’m hoping that this episode will loosen some of these beliefs
for you and hopefully bring some relief.
Let me ask you this. What do you want most for your kids? I want you to
take a minute and think about it. What do you want most for them? Deeply.
Long term. What do you really want for them? Now on the surface, you may
think that you want them to be happy and healthy. You want them to become
productive, contributing adults. Are there any things you want more than
that? Are there things that run deeper than that? Here’s an example.
Sometimes prospective clients come to me and what they say is that they
want for their spouse to stay in the marriage. They just want it to work.
They want him to want to stay. They want to figure it out. When we do a
little digging, there are things they want more than to keep their
marriage. Maybe what they really want is to feel chosen on purpose, to have
a relationship where they feel safe. Yes, they may really love their spouse
and want it to be them, but when they can let go of the outcome and it not
being that specific person, they often understand that they want more.
They’re just afraid of letting go of the outcome in service of what they
Let’s go back to the kids with this. A couple weeks ago, I was talking to
one of my kids, who is newly an adult, newly out the door, and she’s trying
to figure her life out. She’s trying to figure out who she wants to be in
this world. We were talking specifically about faith and religion, and
she’s just trying to figure some things out. Where do I land? What do I
want? Questions like that.
I had a discussion with her and something I said to her is that while on
the surface it sounds really nice that I want my kids to follow in my
footsteps of my faith tradition, what I believe, how I’ve lived my life in
regards to my faith, when I really think about it, there’s something that I
want more. What I really want more is for my kids to be truth seekers. I
want them to be willing to go look for truth and to grab onto it when they
find it. When they find that truth to have the integrity to stand by it,
whatever that looks like. That means me releasing myself of the outcome of
what that needs to look like. It might look different than me, and that
might temporarily bring a little discomfort to me as I watch my kids step
into their own, make decisions for them. Ultimately what I want for them is
I want them to live by truth, to seek for truth, and then stand by it with
integrity. That’s what I want more than the temporary comfort of them just
following in my footsteps and doing the things that I want them to do for
Now I want you to think about some of your own heroes, your personal
heroes. Maybe think about one person. What do you know about them? What I
want to know is has their life been easy? Has their life been smooth
sailing? My guess is that it has not. If you look at any movie, any good
book, there is a hero and a hero’s journey. No hero was ever born without a
hero’s journey, and that journey looks like struggle. That journey looks
like pain. It looks like having to dig deep to see what they’re made of. It
looks like standing alone. It looks like adversity. Often, it’s multiple
kinds of pain and adversity. That is the making of a hero. Yet as parents,
we want to help our children avoid their own hero’s journey because we
think it will be better for them to avoid it. We don’t want them to have to
go and be alone and fight those battles and feel all that adversity and
feel pain. I so understand. I was that person.
I’ve told this story in a past episode, but I think for the sake of this
episode, I’m going to just share it again here real quick. When I was
making the decision to get divorced, I knew that it was probably the best
decision, but I had so much resistance to my kids having divorced parents.
I hated it. I hated it. I was really mad about it. I was mad that my kids
were going to have divorced parents and I fought tooth and nail against it.
That I did not bring these kids into the world so that they could grow up
with divorced parents.
I remember one time I was praying and I was just really mad. I was in this
struggle, like, okay, I feel like this is what you want me to do here, but
this is not fair. I don’t want this for the kids and how is this okay? I
was just really struggling with it. Whenever I thought of having that
conversation with my kids, I would cry. I hated it. I hated that I had to
say those words to them. What happened when I was in that struggle was this
crystal clear, “Andrea, they were mine before they were yours. I love them
more than you do. I know what they need more than you do. This is part of
their journey. Move forward.” That shifted things for me. I still didn’t
like it. I still was not thrilled about it. It still was a very, very hard
conversation, but I had this overarching understanding that it was actually
in service of my children, that it was something that they needed to
experience. It was for their good.
With that, I moved forward. I was able to move forward and to step into
that. What if the struggle? What if pain? What if those are the things that
will help your child become what you want for them most? What if it is
Now I want to shift gears a bit and talk about another aspect of this. For
example, have you ever had a kid get hurt and they fall, and let’s say they
scrape their knee. They look at up at you and they wait for you to respond.
If you are like, oh, are you okay? Oh my gosh. They start to bawl and wail
and milk it. If you on the other end are just like, oh, better get that
cleaned up. They’re like, oh, no big deal. Our kids mirror us. They mirror
us. They look to us. They look to us for how to respond to things. They
mirror it. If you freak out, they freak out. If you are calm, they are
There’s this book that is really interesting. It’s called, Brain Talk. It’s
by David Schnarch. He talks about mind mapping, which is a part of
interpersonal biology. We all are born with this ability to mind map. It’s
a form of safety. It’s a form of knowing how to protect ourselves. What it
means is that basically we can pick up on cues, that we can map other
people, that we can see. Now, this is off topic a little bit, but so many
of you have said to me, “I just knew that something was off.” Mind mapping.
You knew. You’re tracking. You’re able to track. That’s what this is.
Now kids are very good at this, innately. They’re good at it. They can pick
up our cues. They, when we’re feeling down, have you noticed, if you’re
feeling down your kids start to feel down? If you’re anxious, they become
anxious. We set the tone for better or for worse. Sometimes I just don’t
like all that responsibility, but we set the tone. They’re watching.
Now, something that happened years ago that I’ve given a lot of thought to,
I want to share with you. The very last time I saw my first husband. At the
time I had full custody, I had driven them to a family event with his
family. I drove them there and left them there with the family. He gave me
a card. In that card, he said to me that he knew that he had not been the
father that he needed to be, but that he took a lot of comfort and knew
that our kids would be okay because I am their mother. That’s the last time
I saw him. He died a few days later.
Now, those words have stuck with me. Because I am their mother. Because I
am their mother. What does that mean? What it means to me, what it has come
to mean to me, and I want you to think about this for you, is maybe it’s
enough that just because I’m their mother, they will be okay. What I mean
by that is that I know myself and I know that I always am striving to be
the best version of me possible. I know that I’m always going to continue
to grow. I know that I’ll always challenge my own thoughts, my own
patterns, that I will always try to show up in integrity. I fail often, my
friends. I fail a lot, but I always know that I will check my myself and
that I will keep trying. What if that’s enough?
You are sitting here listening to this podcast. The fact that you are
listening to this podcast tells me that you also are interested in growth
and continuing to learn more about yourself and moving forward. You are not
interested in staying trapped in victim mentality for years and years and
years. You would not be listening to this if you were. What if that’s
enough? What if you being their mother or father is enough? What if you
continuing to grow into the best adult version of yourself is what will
help your children the most? What about if they have to spend time at the
other parent’s house and you don’t necessarily love the environment? Yes,
even then. What would it be like for you to just trust that they will get
the exact experience that they need for their own long term good, and that
they’ll get the best from you as well? What if that contrast is serving
them? What if that contrast is showing them the kind of adult they want to
be? What if that contrast is showing them and helping them discern between
how they want to feel and discerning how they do feel in different
environments? What if that is going to serve them the best? Even if there’s
things that you don’t love on the surface, what if your kids really will be
okay because you’re their parent? Regardless of the outcome here.
The current struggle you may see your kids in is not all there is. Scan
out. We hear all the time that life is short, but what if it’s also long?
What if the experience they’re having now is setting them up for their own
hero’s journey? What if this is part of their hero’s journey that is
necessary for them to become the adults that they always were intended to
Now, I want to show you or teach you a little bit about what this looks
like according to the thought model. If we believe that something has gone
wrong, of course it’s going to create some kind of anxiousness in us, or
doubt or question. That will show up in our actions. If we’re feeling
anxious, that anxiety is going to be the fuel that we use in the actions
that we’re taking. That will create more of the same. We will show up with
anxiousness. We will be hovering. We will be worried. We will be
overthinking. It’s going to create more anxiety. The truth of it is that
our kids will pick up on our anxiety. They often feel anxious when we do.
Now, the opposite is true. Imagine the confidence you can instill in them
by trusting that it’s working for them, not against them. That the struggle
is in service of who they are becoming. That it’s part of their journey.
That you’re helping to build trust in them. That they are learning how to
trust themselves by you trusting that it’s okay.
I understand the temporary discomfort when our kids are uncomfortable. I’m
a mom, I know what that feels like. I want to challenge you to hold space
for yourself in that space. What I mean by that is I don’t want you feeling
like you have to go rush and make it better for them. I want you to trust a
thought like this, my kid is struggling and it’s okay. It’s okay. I don’t
need to rush in and make it all better. It’s serving them. It’s expanding
them. It’s helping them to develop grit and resilience and strength. Even
if you won’t see the fruits of it for a while. You growing your tolerance
to their discomfort is in service of them. It’s in service of your
children. You being able to hold that space for yourself without reacting
to it, without reacting to your own discomfort is helping your children to
do the same for themselves. You are mirroring it. You’re mirroring how to
tolerate discomfort, how to not react to it. What a gift. What a gift to
give our children.
To wrap this up, I want to remind you my friends, that the key here is to
tap into who you want to be and what you want to feel. The more you become
familiar with yourself and what you were really want, it will become your
guide. Sometimes divorce is the action that comes from wanting to create a
life of peace and safety. Sometimes staying married and leaning into that
marriage with more vulnerability is what will create that. When you trust
you, your desires, your wants and longings, trusting that they are good,
trusting they are for your good, and then trusting that they are for the
good of your children, is what is going to expand you and help them to
expand. They are watching and they will learn to do the same. They will
learn to step into hard things because they have watched you do it. They’ll
step into hard things in service of the thing that they want most, because
they have watched you do it. They have been taught how to do it. They will
learn to do this because you are their mother or their father. They will
know how to be resilient. They will know how to feel their feelings as they
navigate change growth.
I know for me, that is something I want more for my kids than for them to
feel happy and comfortable all the time. I know that that is fragile and
unsustainable. What I want for them is to have a foundation of strength, of
trust, of resilience in themselves that they can rely on for the rest of
What do you really want for your kids, if you could scan out? Short term,
you might not want them to have divorced parents. You might not want them
to have the pain of knowing that there’s discord in your marriage. What do
you want more than that? What is it? What do you want more than that for
you? What do you want more than that for them? Identify what that is and
let that be your guide rather than the false temporary comfort. It will
come back to you. What I mean by that is that when we give into these false
temporary comforts and deny the thing that we want most, that is where
resentment is born. That is where we know that we’re not fully in integrity
with ourselves. That is where we create emotional struggle for ourselves,
because we know that we’re not fully telling ourselves the truth.
I challenge you to ask yourself these questions. What do you want most for
them? What do you want most for you? Trusting that you going after what you
want most for you is in service of them. Even if it means some temporary
pain and discomfort, it will serve of them. Hold onto that belief. Your
kids are stronger than you think they are. Humans are strong. Humans are
resilient. Humans are powerful. We are made to do this. We are made to come
here and to face trials and struggle. It’s what grows us. It’s what helps
us to step into who we are and learn who we are so we can go out and do our
work in the world.
I hope this has brought you some comfort today. I hope it has been helpful.
Sending so much love. I know where you’re at. If you’re in this position of
making these tough decisions, I know where you’re at. I get it. Trust
yourself, my friends. It’s bigger than what you think. Scan out. Scan out.
There’s more here than meets the eye. Sending so much love. I will see you
next week. Bye-bye.
Thank you for listening to the, Heal From Infidelity podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
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