Saturday, September 1, 2012

Parenting a Child under Two During and After a Divorce

Although they are probably unable to articulate their feelings, children under the age of two are often distressed by the experience of separating from a parent. Early childhood is a crucial stage in the process of forming secure emotional attachments with parents or other caregivers, and those attachments must be nurtured through a parenting plan emphasizing consistent responsiveness and attention.

One of the basic rules that all parenting plans, particularly one applying to a young child, should include is an agreement between the parents to avoid speaking negatively about each other. Similarly, parents should avoid arguing about the parenting schedule in front of the child. Even a young baby becomes distressed, anxious, and frightened when he or she is present for a fight or senses tension between parents. As such, parents must bear in mind their common goal of successfully transitioning their young child to a new family arrangement. If you are unable to speak with your former spouse without a confrontation developing, you may ask your Pensacola family law attorney to handle the task of communicating your position regarding the parenting plan.

In light of the centrality of the infancy stage to forming attachments, parents should develop a parenting plan that allows both parents regular contact with the child. Both parents should have frequent opportunities to be involved in the baby’s feeding and sleeping schedules and to participate in everyday activities such as bathing and playing.

Babies begin to develop attachments to preferred caregivers as early as two months of age, and once those preferences develop, they actively seek preferred caregivers and become agitated when separated from them. To ensure stable attachment to both parents, the parenting plan must include an ordered and consistent schedule that always keeps the baby in a secure and calm environment.
If you need legal assistance with a divorce proceeding, please contact Pensacola family law attorney Brad Fisher for a free initial consultation.