When children are separated from one of their New York parents due to divorce, they can experience long-lasting effects. However, children can overcome these effects, particularly if they are offered support and understanding from their parents as they figure out how to live with the changes. Child custody decisions sometimes result in a separation that should be addressed to help the child continue to grow.
How does separation from a parent affect the child?
When a younger child or baby is separated from a parent, they are affected in different ways. These might include:
• A decrease in their ability to trust the parent who is no longer physically present
• An increase in the child’s anxiety and stress
• A struggle to understand the situation
• A lack of control over their own emotions
Helping a baby or young child cope with the separation from a parent
When a parent is no longer physically present in a child’s life, the parent who has sole custody will have an additional weight placed on them to help the child through these changes. While the parent themselves might need emotional support, they will have to provide that support for their own child. To help them prepare for the separation and how to deal with it, the custodial parent might do the following:
• Preparing the child for the changes by explaining how long the child will not see the other parent
• Helping the child prepare to see the other parent again
• Creating a routine that keeps their child connected to the other parent even if that parent is not physically present
• Maintaining the home rules and routines so that the child can feel safe in their stable environment
The custodial parent’s support can help children navigate the emotional changes resulting from divorce. Be there to love, support and listen to your child during the process.