All children, including infants, experience separation and divorce as an emotional disruption in their lives. As a matter of fact, over half of the children who experience divorce, encounter it before their 6th birthday, and ¾ of those children go through it younger than the age of 3. When parents divorce while their child is still an infant, the child may not understand what is going on or what the separation means, but they do notice emotions and energy levels.
Since an infant depends on their parents for their care, they are especially aware to changes in routine. These shifts can impact their feeling of stability and trust. This is due to the separation experienced and the lack of predictability in their life. There are three common factors that might add to this state of confusion:
(1) A dramatic change in their daily routine
(2) The emotional distress they pick up from their parents
(3) Their sense of conflict between their parents
While in many cases, the parents will understand how important schedules and arrangements are, many are not aware of how stressful continuing conflict between parents may be on their infants. Even though infants do not fully understand the language being used, they are very aware of the emotions being felt and expressed, which may frighten them.