Co-Parenting Infants and Very Young Children
No matter how amicable the divorce was, there is no avoiding the effects it has on children, regardless of their age. Of course, there is a difference when it come to the level in which they are affected, usually depending on the ability of the child to comprehend the situation, or even notice the change. In that regard infants and very small children are able to process the newly formed situation more easily, but if the co-parenting part of the agreement is not done right, the repercussions might be a lot more severe than they should.
This article contains some applicable co-parenting tips for parents of infants and very young children. And by applying some or all of them you can avoid introducing unnecessary stress in the life of your children, and that should be every parent’s goal.
Keep the kids away from the conflict
This is the most important part of co-parenting infants and very young children. They are at the age when they are just starting to explore the world around them and to create bonds with people in it. It is essential that they get to form a relationship with both parents, and having them placed in the middle of a conflict situation, where emotions run high is definitely not the best solution. So, it would be advisable for parents to hire a family law firm that can offer mediation services as well, so that they could reach an agreement in a peaceful way, thus avoiding putting their children in the middle of a volatile and conflict situation.
Make sure they get to form an attachment to both parents
If both parents want to be present in the life of the children following the divorce, it is essential that an agreement is reached by which the child can spend enough time with each of the parents so that a parent-child bond gets to be created and that relationship cultivated. This is especially important with infants and very young children, who might not recognize the person standing in front of them if they are not sufficiently present in the day to day activities. So splitting responsibility and arranging for regular visitation right might be the best way to handle this situation. Later on, as the kids get older this particular arrangement can change and another one made in accordance to the child wishes. But until then it is up to the parents to ensure their child grows up with both parental figures present and accounted for.
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Put the child’s’ need first
This is a must, but it is especially relevant for infants who need to have a strict sleeping and eating schedule. And in case the mother is breastfeeding special co-parenting arrangements need to be made in order to ensure that the child gets everything they need while still being able to have both parents present. So, all the arrangements need to be done around the feeding schedule, so as not to disrupt the baby’s routine. And in these cases, fathers have to show a bit more tolerance and understanding, regardless of their relationship with the child’s mother. Mothers who are breastfeeding must not be exposed to stressful situations because it can have a negative effect on the amount of milk they produce and on the emotional state of the baby as well.
Make sure that the child is not exposed to separation anxiety
In the first few years a child creates a strong bond with their primary attachment figures, in most cases, these are their mother and father. However, due to the changed family dynamics it is extremely important to ensure that your child doesn’t feel separation anxiety. They are still too young to cope with loss, they lack the cognitive ability to do so. So being away from one or both primary attachment figures can affect their development and lead to depression or anxiety. This is what it is important for parents to find a mutual language, and ensure that both sides get to spend enough time with the child so that they do not feel that one of their parents is absent. As they grow it will be easier for them to understand the situation and the relationship can change accordingly. But it is essential in those first few years that they do not suffer from abandonment issues.
These are some of the crucial aspects of successful co-parenting of infants and very young children. And it all comes down to putting the child and their need first, as they are just starting off their life and need all the protection and support that they can get. And it is up to their parents to provide it to them as much as possible, regardless of the relationship they have with each other.