The revelation Arnie fathered a secret child with a member of his household staff has devastated his long-suffering wife Maria — but experts say his kids stand to struggle the most.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver‘s four children, Katherine Eunice, 21, Christina Maria Aurelia, 18, Patrick Arnold, 17, Christopher Sargent, 13, are now dealing with the shocking surprise that they have a secret sibling they never knew existed. And this secret child is facing the truth that Arnold is in fact their biological father.
“This is a painful and heartbreaking time,” devastated Maria, 55, reveals. “As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal. I will have no further comment.”
Experts say the scenario is particularly damaging for the couple’s youngest son Christopher, 13, and and his secret step-sibling, who is thought to be 10-years-old — because both are at such crucial ages of their adolescence.
Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, a child and family psychologist, tells HollyBaby.com, “We can assume Christopher is in the flow of becoming an adolescent and his whole idea of what a relationship is has been thrust into turmoil. He’s going to have a lot of questions.”
Dr. Hartstein fears the situation could prompt Christopher to “act out.”
She insists Arnie’s response to the scandal will have a big impact on how his kids are affected. “They are going to be angry and have questions,” Dr. Hartstein says. “He needs to tolerate that and be willing to go at the kids’ pace.”
Child Psychologist Dr. Susan Abbott agrees: “It’s going to be devastating. It’s one of the most traumatic ways a family can split up.”
“It’s going to have an effect on their relationship with their parents and impact on their own relationships.”
Dr. Abbott insists Arnie’s first move should be to apologize to his kids. “I think he should acknowledge that it was wrong and a mistake. That would be a first step for his kids. If he fails to make that step it will be more difficult for them.”
Dr. Hartstein, meanwhile, insists the love child is facing a difficult time ahead. “At 10, there’s going be a lot of questions. They are going to wonder why they were kept a secret. And there will be a lot of anger, disblelief and curiosity and identity questions.”
What do you think HollyMoms? Have you been through a similar experience?
Share your thoughts below.
— Ian Garland