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‘I saw dad cheating, now what?’
Your complicated life can cause stress for kids who want to keep the peace.
"The last thing I want is to see my parent getting divorced and this is a secret I want to keep from my mom", says Lerato. Lerato has been suspicious that her dad was up to some mischief as they did not see much of him in the house lately and was spending less time with them as a family. She knew that something was not right because there seemed to be some tension between him and her mother, but her dad still showed affection towards his children. Her mom is a housewife and spends most time at home looking after her household.

Bad dad, guilty child

One day she caught her dad in a compromising position for a married man- with another lady in a restaurant- and when she snooped she found unacceptable text messages to a lady, not sure if it was the same woman. He is not aware that she caught him.

Lerato does not want to tell her mom even though she feels that she is also betraying her by keeping quiet. She says that every time her dad leaves for a business trip she often wonders whether he is really going on this trip or going to see the other lady she saw him with. This has made her insecure and she is left wondering what he is up to and where this will end up, fearing the worst - a divorce.

Her mom is a selfless lady, she says, who cooks and cleans the house, and she knows that she would never cheat on her father. This has also affected her as she no longer believes in true love and wonders whether when she meets someone he will do the same to her. She doubts if real love exists and has doubts about her future.

Your kids are learning from your experience

"I do not trust men", she confesses. "In spite of what is happening at home I still love my dad, he has been a good man to us. He took them to the best schools, he works hard and has afforded us a comfortable life. If mom hears of this, she would be devastated".

Chatting to Lerato I could see the sadness, disappointment, guilt and confusion. I guess that is a burden too heavy to carry for a teenager and one that has left devastating effects on her based on how she now feels about love. One can only hope that she knows that she has her own path to travel and should not base her love life on that of her parents.  They have their own path to travel where their union is concerned. I do not condone cheating but I would like to warn parents to be careful of their actions and the devastating effects this could have on the children. Our children are watching us.

Read more by Masanda Peter

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