A divorce is traumatic for all individuals involved in the process, but, for children, it brings about a dramatic change in their world; in short, they’re losing their family. Emotions run the gamut from sadness and anger to feelings of anxiety about how their lives will be changing.
The effects of divorce on a child depend upon his or her age. Infants are too small to understand what is happening, but they can sense tension within their family. At this stage in life, infants are experiencing their world through “sensory emotions.” They may become clingier and more likely to have emotional outbursts. In fact, some infants may show signs of developmental delay.
During the toddler years, a child’s main bond is with his or her parents. Any major disruption at home can be difficult to comprehend as well as to accept. Children in this age group may cry, require more attention than usual, develop a fear of being abandoned, demonstrate regressive behaviors such as thumb sucking or resisting toileting, and have trouble going to sleep or sleeping alone. They may perceive themselves to be the cause of the breakup and promise to be good if you and your spouse stay together.
Many of the ways that your toddler expresses his or her distress are, hopefully, temporary, but many parents going through a divorce wonder does divorce have lasting effects on toddlers?
A Change in Routine
The answer to that question is that it doesn’t have to, depending upon how you and your spouse handle the situation. An infant forms emotional bonds through touch, and this is how they build trust. Therefore, you need to be as attentive as possible to your baby during this difficult time in order to maintain the bonds that he or she has formed with you if you want to minimize how these changes affect your baby.
Where toddlers are concerned, create a fixed schedule in which you include time that he or she can spend with both parents, one-on-one. Parents should try to work together to establish a daily routine which will help the toddler better deal with his or her fear and uncertainty. Make sure that you’re spending quality time with you child and provide him or her with extra attention to help with the transition.
Doing What You Can
It’s difficult for parents to deal with all of the emotions that come into play during divorce proceedings, especially when it comes to the effects of divorce on young children. But it’s up to you and your spouse to ensure that you’re showing love and attention to your child. Spending time with your child during this difficult time will help to ensure that he or she stays physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
Divorce is stressful enough, but when children are involved, emotions can run high. If you are looking for divorce attorneys near you, consider Buncher Family Law. We’re experienced when it comes to representing clients in a variety of custody and visitation issues involving children of all ages. Schedule your consultation with our firm to see how we could help.