(Not sure if this should be on the Biology.SE or even the Psychology.SE)
Someone I know is currently in the process of getting a divorce, because (or so they tell me) they have a baby who's distressed by one parent. The baby, who is less than a year old, is "immensely distressed" by the offending parent's presence, and takes several days to stop being distressed. The other parent moved out of the house and is seeking to limit the offending parent's access to the child, leading to arguments and a divorce.
I have several questions about this:
- Is it valid to be worried over the baby being distressed (i.e. crying) by one parent's presence at this stage of the baby's life? After all, the baby is less than a year old, and nobody can remember anything when they were that young. Given that there are no memories of this period, can what happens still affect the baby's later well-being?
- If it is valid, at what age does the baby becoming distressed by one parent start becoming a problem?
- If it is not valid, at what age should one start worrying if the baby is still distressed by one parent?
From my Googling it seems memories don't begin until about 2 years old, but I cannot find resources on whether this implies one can reasonably ignore the baby being distressed by one parent in the first two years after birth. Intuitively I would guess that if the cause of distress is material, e.g. heat or hunger, then it could have some subconscious impact later in life (does it?), but I do not know about a person's presence.