CONFESSION TIME

Breaking the news of child born out of wedlock

It is one of the toughest things people have to go through when dating, but counselling psychologist Charlene Denousse says honesty is the best policy

In Summary

•Whether a mother or father, male or female, you should always acknowledge your children.

•If you are a single parent divorced with children and meeting someone with the intent of a new relationship, reveal your motherhood.

A spouse should confess immediately if he/she sires a child outside marriage
A spouse should confess immediately if he/she sires a child outside marriage
Image: FILE

Would you confess to your spouse if you sired a child outside marriage?

The Star spoke to a counselling psychologist at Riverdale Medical Center Lavington, Charlene Denousse, for insights.

Should a spouse confess having a child out of wedlock?

 

Yes, they should.

At what point should they break the news?

Immediately they find out and always for every new encounter.

Whether mother or father, male or female, you should always acknowledge your children. If you are a single parent divorced with children and meeting someone with the intent of a new relationship, acknowledge your child/children.

If married and you strayed and had a child with someone, come clean as soon as possible.

Children need to be acknowledged, to feel like they belong, like they are loved. Keeping them a secret means they either never know one of their parents or only see the respective parent occasionally. Keeping them a secret, sending them away to live elsewhere, makes them feel unwanted and unloved, which can lead to psychological and emotional damage.

 

Spouses also have a right to know of the existence of a child outside wedlock. They have a right to the information and a right to have the opportunity to make a choice about their relationship and know the child exists.

 
 

Coming clean will reduce the frequency of fights had in the eventuality of death, with unknown families coming to claim inheritance. That is a very common occurrence nowadays.

How should the news be broken?

This is one of the toughest things to do, but it must be done for the sake of the children involved. For the person breaking the news, be kind, use proper words and be ready for any reaction.

To the one receiving the news, despite the pain, the disbelief, feelings of betrayal, you cannot undo what has already been done, you are free to make a choice about your relationship, but always remember the child is innocent and blameless. Do not project ill feelings onto the child. Be kind and humane to the child.

Should the news be broken to children and how soon?

Yes, children have the right to know they have siblings, step or otherwise. They share blood, they are family and they have a right to know each other.

When they should be told is determined by the parents and the agreements they have with each other.

Depending on the developmental stages of the children involved, the information shared must be communicated in a way every child will understand.

What measures should be taken when the news is broken to the children?

Use language every child can understand, be open to questions answer questions as best you can, be gentle, kind and patient.

Let the respective children respond and be open to the responses, while also helping them learn to be accepting of their siblings and encouraging unity, acceptance, concern and care of each other among the siblings.