Relationships Quick Answers
How are infants affected by divorce?
Infants do not understand divorce. However, infants are affected by changes in their parents' feelings and behavior. Infants do pick up on adults' emotions and respond to them. Following a divorce, parents may become temporarily depressed and less responsive to their infant. Young infants do not have much control over their own emotions. Their feelings are influenced by their parents' feelings. When a parent acts worried or sad around an infant, the infant is likely to feel worried or sad. Infants cannot tell adults how they feel, so adults must interpret infants' behavior. Infants may act more fussy and difficult to comfort, or seem uninterested in people or things when their parents are upset.
Source: Kim Leon, Ph.D., Former Human Development and Family Studies, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Wednesday, August 20, 2008