How Divorce Impact Kids of All Ages: Infant-2 Years

Divorce can be a devastating experience for all involved- no matter what your age. I've worked with kids of divorce, young and old, and am a sufferer of this from my own childhood. From this I know it truly has an impact on your life. Many people, especially kids, feel as if the world they used to know has now died. It is important for parents to understand how divorce has an impact on their kids in order to help them. This week Imagine Hope is breaking down the different age groups to educate you on how to help a child of divorce you know.

Ages 0-2

Characteristics

  • Kids in this range are dependent on their parent to meet their needs.
  • They are bonding with caregivers and are developing the concept of trust.
  • Between ages 8 months- 18 months a child is forming strong attachments to his/her caregivers.

Due to this, a divorce could upset a child's trust and attachment bonds because of the instability of the environment.

Separation Issues

  • For the younger ages it's mostly important to continue to meet basic needs after separation. As long as the needs are met, the sleep environment is not as critical.
  • Children older than 8 months will feel the loss of the caregiver. They will need balance and consistency.

Signs of Distress

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Clingy
  • Crying

How to help

  • Give the child a chance to bond with both parents
  • Give the child physical comfort- holding, rocking, physical closeness
  • Be consistent in your routine
  • Don't make major changes, if possible, to the routine, sleep situation, and caregiver options

Divorce can be a painful and ugly reality. Being armed with information of how to help your kids through it is vital to their emotional development. Keep reading this week for more ages!

Source: Impact of Divorce on Children at Different Developmental Stages, Johnson and Roseby, 1997: Solomon 2005

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.  Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.