Divorce and Infants

When it comes to divorce, infants have much in common with teens. People often overestimate a teen’s maturity and understanding, and underestimate an infant’s ability to know and feel anything at all about divorce.

As a result, both age groups often lose out in terms of getting the help they really need to cope with divorce. And during a divorce, infants do need help.

While infants don’t understand emotions they are highly tuned into their parents’ emotions – and follow their lead. In other words, the old adage is true: fretful parents do indeed make for fretful babies.

As few times are as fretful as divorce it is advisable that parents bear this in mind – for their own sake as much as baby’s – to minimize the effects of divorce on infants.

In short, divorcing parents who think it’s all right to cry, shout and break things in front of their baby cause them untold distress by providing a negative emotional lead. Unable to express their feelings, infant distress reveals itself through illness and regression – a return to an ealier stage of development.

Ultimately, this causes parents more distress too at an already distressing time. Unless emotions are kept in check (or out of sight) it is dangerously easy to end up with a situation spiralling out of control. An openly upset parent leads to an upset baby which makes the parent more upset…

Of course, this is easier said than done. Managing a divorce and an infant single-handedly is difficult. However, managing a divorce and a distressed infant single-handedly is even harder.

So, keep your emotions under wraps to minimise the effects of divorce on your infant and yourself. Your baby will remain as content and healthy as possible during this trying time – truly a bright spot in your life.

Posted in: Effects of Divorce on Children

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