Contrary to popular belief, divorce is not easier on children when their parents split while they are infants. It affects children of all ages in different ways, and babies are no exception. Indeed, babies and toddlers struggle as much with a divorce as they cannot express their emotions in words.
After a divorce, life with a baby is challenging, and parental cooperation is necessary to make it successful. Here are some of the realities parents and children will face:
Emotions run high during a divorce. People’s feelings are hurt and calm rational conversations might feel impossible. The best child custody lawyers from USAttorney state that emotions can cloud divorce agreement discussions, especially related to custody. Both parents feel frustrated by the situation. In a typical divorce, one spouse is eager to get it over with and start a new life, while the other is still in shock and feeling devastated about the situation.
Many parents feel frustrated about being left to care for a baby alone. Working and being a single parent is a challenging prospect, and they worry about coping without their spouse’s support.
The idea of leaving their baby in the other spouse’s custody fills many parents with fear. They worry that their ex-spouse will not care for their child properly. These trust issues might come from betrayal in the marriage that had nothing to do with their children. For instance, one spouse might translate the other’s infidelity into them not being trustworthy in any way, including as a parent.
Overcoming these feelings of mistrust is challenging, and parents must separate their feelings about the breakdown of their relationship from their child’s best interests. They need to understand that they cannot remain in control all the time and must rely on their ex-spouse to do what is necessary while the baby is in their care.
Divorce can never be a clean break when a child is involved. Parents are linked forever by their offspring. This means having to communicate with each other after a divorce. For some ex-spouses, the thought of managing this is unbearable as they are still hurt and upset about what has transpired.
When feelings run high, it is easy to bring up past hurts in conversations between former spouses. Each should concentrate on limiting what they discuss to matters regarding the child, always remembering that it is in their baby’s best interests to keep the communication channels open.
When an ex-spouse moves on and starts a new relationship, the other former partner will instantly panic about being replaced by a stepparent. This is a terrifying prospect as parents fear that their child will like the stepparent more than them and reject them. It leads to feelings of anger and resentment, leading parents to badmouth the other parent and their partner.
Overcoming this fear is challenging, but it is typically unfounded. Children might form an attachment to a stepparent, but that person can never replace their biological parent. Provided parents remain active in their baby’s life, they are unlikely to experience this.
Babies are perceptive and understand that things around them are changing. Most do not respond to this prospect positively as they thrive on routine and things staying as they are. Any disruptions cause them emotional distress that they could express through clinginess, extreme emotional reactions, and developmental regression.
It takes babies a while to settle into a new routine and environment, and parents need to be patient with themselves, their child, and their ex-spouse. The child might have difficulty eating and sleeping for an initial period until they feel safe again.