How do I tell my kids about their illegitimate cousin?

My 42-year-old, divorced younger brother has gotten his new girlfriend pregnant. They plan to have the baby and “co-parent.” My problem is, how do I tell my children, ages 9 and 11, about this? I want them to absolutely know that their uncle’s lifestyle is wrong. But at the same time, I want them to love the baby and their uncle. Help!

Just tell your children that they will soon be having a new cousin. They don’t need to be told the details of your brother’s relationship with his girlfriend or their cousin’s status of being born out of wedlock, nor do they need to hear you criticizing another adult who is someone they should be taught to give appropriate deference as an elder. If your children ask why your brother isn’t married, tell them that this is an adult matter, that they need to respect their uncle’s privacy, and that it is not their place to criticize adults. The purpose here is not so much to protect your brother from your children’s questions but to protect your children from being given answers for which they may not be ready. It also teaches your children the importance of giving respect to elders by not presuming to ask personal questions or to unnecessarily criticize.

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