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Adolescents continue to develop their capacity for abstract thinking.They are highly aware that they are preparing to enter the adult world and therefore questions of values become paramount.
They may withdraw or act out in an effort to get their parent’s attention, stop the affair, or prevent a divorce.
In other posts I have talked about the trancelike state of consciousness that one inhabits during an affair.
In this altered state links between actions and consequences dissolve; in the euphoric bubble you inhabit you believe you can pursue an illicit relationship and no one will be hurt because you believe that you can control everything and so prevent this from happening.
However, this is a grandiose assumption that more and more requires you to lie to, manipulate and avoid intimate contact with your family, sometimes with irrevocable results.
Many couples I see who are trying to work on healing from an affair are devastated not only by the destruction in their own relationship, but also by their children’s reactions.
There are reactions that occur while the affair is going on, but before it is disclosed, and reactions once an affair has been disclosed.
Before Disclosure If you think back to when you were a child it is easy to remember how much more you knew about what was going on in your family than the adults around you thought you knew.
Identity and moral development are impacted negatively.
Frequently, up until this happened, there was an unconscious assumption that one behaves with integrity as a matter of course.
They are extremely sensitive to hypocrisy; when a parent’s actions are exposed as opposed to his or her stated values that parent falls off a pedestal.
And when a parent falls off of the pedestal it changes the child’s whole conception of who their family is and thus, their sense of who they are.
You may also wish to read about “Children of Affairs”.