Although babies lack the ability to walk, talk or really comprehend anything that is happening around them, divorcing parents may not realize that their split is affecting their baby in a lasting way. But according to Armin Brott, an author with several published books about fatherhood and parenting, babies pick up on more than we think they do. And when we are suffering the negative effects of a divorce, such as anger or depression, they are likely feeling those emotions right along with us.
While infants may not be affected by the actual events of the separation or divorce, they are very easily affected by the behavior that goes along with a split. For example, if either of the baby's parents is depressed during or following the divorce, the baby may also start exhibiting signs of depression, such as sluggish behavior, a decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, and a general lack of interest in playing or in the people around him.
Therefore, it is important that you take care of yourself during a divorce, Brott says. This will, in turn, ensure your baby's health and happiness in the weeks and months to come.
When you are figuring out your parenting time schedule, try to set it up so that both parents see the baby every day. Babies, in general, lack long-term memory, so if they go a day or more without seeing a parent, they may forget who the parent is and the ability to bond may be disrupted.
Make your parenting time effective, Brott says, full of playing, cuddling, reading, singing, and spending quality time with your baby. This will help ensure that your bond remains strong throughout your child's life.
Source: Seattle Times, "Ask Mr. Dad: Don't divorce your baby," Armin Brott, Jan. 19, 2012
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