How Divorce Impacts Infants and Toddlers

 

Divorce pic

Divorce
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Mental health professional Dr. Miriam Galindo serves as an approved child custody evaluator, licensed social worker, and psychologist in Irvine, California. Dr. Miriam Galindo largely focuses her work on families involved in divorce cases.

Although infants and toddlers are unable to understand divorce, they are still affected by it due to their ability to perceive changes within their environments. In most cases, toddlers can see that one parent is no longer present, but the children do not understand why that parent has left.

Toddlers can also pick up on the stress, tension, and behavioral changes exhibited by their parents. As a result, toddlers may become aggressive, anxious, or develop separation anxiety and act out more often.

Meanwhile, infants pick up on the emotional and behavioral changes of their parents, but infants are unable to understand why the conflict exists. Infants frequently start mirroring the behavior of their parents and may become fussier than normal or less interested in people and things. Many infants develop stranger anxiety around the parent they see less often, and some may feel a sense of abandonment, especially when they are separated from their primary caregiver.

Helping Children Cope with Divorce

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Helping Children
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For more than 20 years, Miriam Galindo has served as a licensed social worker and psychologist in California. Currently working in private practice, Miriam Galindo handles a wide variety of child psychology matters that relate to high-conflict divorce cases from the Orange County Superior Court.

Divorce is a challenging situation for both parents and children. A few things parents can do to help their children cope during the process include:

Planning alternatives. Some parents never have a problem with the other parent not showing up to see the child. To prevent a child from feeling let down when this happens, consider planning alternative activities. If an ex doesn’t call or arrive within a specific amount of time, parents can take their kids to the mall or to a different special activity.

Legitimizing their feelings. During the divorce process, most children are going to experience a wide range of feelings. Rather than ignoring these feeling or trying to make the feelings go away, parents should ensure their children know that their feelings are valid. Further, parents should encourage their children to let out their feelings.

Keeping themselves healthy. Children are often extremely adept at picking up on their parents’ feelings. Due to this, parents should manage their stress and keep themselves as emotionally healthy as possible. This ensures parents are capable of providing their children with plenty of care and support during a divorce.

Coping with Divorce for Children

Coping with Divorce pic

Coping with Divorce
Image: divorcesupport.about.com

A licensed clinical psychologist and social worker, Dr. Miriam Galindo has been part of an approved panel of experts for Orange County Superior Court since 2005. Dr. Miriam Galindo has been able to work with children and their families through many different aspects of a divorce, and she has a strong understanding of the psychological effects of divorce on a child.

Most of the effects of divorce on a child have less to do with the custodial situation, or even the change in environment, as the uncertainty involved in the divorce process. The presentation of new issues such as parental conflict and the lack of a unified front between parents can be difficult for children. Initial adjustment for children typically takes about two years.

Younger children tend to blame themselves and often imagine their parents getting back together. Older children, meanwhile, see the breakdown of trust and unity in their family relationships and become more independent. In many cases, it also has a negative effect on their first serious romantic relationships, which they expect to fail.

Negative effects of divorce can be mitigated with loving communication from both parents as well as reliable, consistent communication. Children whose divorced parents can maintain amiable relations in front of the child and make time for the child’s needs are more likely to adjust well.

Encouraging Children to Talk about a Divorce

In addition to serving as an approved child custody evaluator for California’s Orange County, Miriam Galindo has experience providing family therapy. In particular, Miriam Galindo works with families that are dealing with difficult situations, such as a divorce.

A divorce is not only very stressful for parents, but also for any children in the family. However, there are a number of things parents can do to help minimize the stress and make the experience easier for children.

For example, parents should give children opportunities to express their own feelings about the divorce in an honest and open way. Parents should listen and let the children speak about the situation without admonishing children for how they feel or dismissing their feelings. Children often want to avoid serious discussions, but it is important for them to be encouraged to share how they really feel.

If children have difficulty verbalizing their feelings about the divorce, parents can help them by encouraging them to open up when they appear upset. If parents are unsure of how to navigate the divorce with their children or feel that children could benefit from speaking with a professional, meeting with a counselor or therapist is often very beneficial.

Helping Children Cope with Divorce

Dr. Miriam Galindo, a licensed social worker and licensed psychologist, currently maintains a private practice with her husband in Irvine, California. With a doctor of psychology from Trinity College of Graduate Studies, Dr. Miriam Galindo provides psychological counseling to children in high-conflict divorce situations.

Divorce is a stressful and confusing experience for children, so it is important that parents help their kids through the process by maintaining stability at home, attending to their children’s needs, and being positive. At first, discussing the situation with children is often a difficult task, but telling the truth, addressing the changes that will be happening, and telling children often that they are loved help alleviate the pain and confusion. Parents should explain in a simple way why the divorce is happening and emphasize that, while things may change between parents, both parents will always love their children.

It is also important that parents do not blame their spouse, as difficult as it may be. Speaking badly about one another and quizzing children on what happens at the other parent’s house makes the situation more stressful for the children. Sometimes, getting help for one’s own painful feelings helps with staying positive and supporting the children.

Parents should also allow children to express their feelings about the situation. By allowing children to be honest about what they feel, parents are able to learn the best way to support and help them through the process. Any misunderstandings that come up should be calmly addressed so that the children understand what is happening. Finally, a consistent message of reassurance and love is an important part of the divorce process for children.