Divorce can be tough, especially when there are young children in the picture. Children present a unique set of challenges in a divorce. Even before the age of three children are dealing with very important developmental and social milestones that need to be considered when enacting visitation rights for the child.
Visitation for an Infant
When children are under the age of six months, the primary concern of the infant is the need for food, contact, and sleep. Facial recognition begins developing during this time, so having visits that are frequent and regular is important for the infant. The visits should be at least two hours long to create bonds with the child and should exclude overnight stays.
18 Month to 3 Year-Olds
At around 6 to 18 months-old, children have developed some degree of parental recognition and are aware when a parent is absent. Maintaining frequent and regular visits is crucial at this point to avoid the child experiencing separation anxiety.
The parent without custody of the child should be sure to use these visits as bonding times since the focus of these visits is to create an attachment the non-custodial parent. Leaving the child with a non-parent is not recommended since it does not serve the bonding purpose.
As the child begins to develop who they are, the parent must make sure they understand that even though both parents are not always together, both are people that love and care for the child. Regardless of the visitation agreement at this point, the parent must be dependable and consistent in the relationship.
Children Older Than 3 Years
The more that parents are able to keep their issues from their children, the better. Young children generally benefit from frequent, reliable, and constant communication and support from their parents. If visits outside those agreed upon by the court can be established, they should be addressed for the sake of the child.
As the child begins to develop friends and participate in activities, the visitation schedule can be reworked if necessary to accommodate the needs of both parents and the child. Once they reach a certain age, it is important to discuss the reasons for divorce and help them understand how your family functions despite the split.
Children with divorced parents must learn from a very young age how to navigate a difficult terrain. The way that parents handle visitation for the child can help ease the way they develop healthy and stable relationships with both of their parents.