Children and divorce: Pets can help with transition

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Monday, May 6, 2013.

When parents are going through a divorce, they understandably tend to worry about the big picture things, such as how much child support is going to be every month and what the child custody arrangement is going to look like. Of course, these are very important aspects of a divorce, however, parents need to keep in mind that this is an especially trying time for the children too.

Kids often feel alone or abandoned during a divorce. Their insecurities are coming out in full force and they are worried about what their future life will look like with divorced parents. During this transitional time though, rest assured knowing that plenty of families have survived this process. Rather than focus on the negative, pay attention to the positive, like the relationship a child may have with the family pet.

Pets provide a number of benefits to children during divorce. For one thing, there is this sense of unconditional love. For a child, who can feel rather alone and abandoned during the divorce, having the dog or cat by their side gives a sense of needed security.

Pets also give children someone to talk to. Granted, a dog or a cat cannot offer advice, but children often feel comfortable talking to their pets about what is going on in their lives. This gives children a way to vent their fears and frustrations without needing to worry about someone passing judgements. It is a safe and healthy place to share.

Lastly, regardless of whether a person is 10 years old or 50 years old, there have been numerous studies done that show a link between petting a cat or dog, or walking or talking to that animal, and a reduction in stress, cholesterol and blood pressure. During and after a divorce is sure to be a stressful time, so having an animal around to connect with can help manage this stress for adults and children.

For those who do not have any pets at home, now may be the time to think about getting one. Of course though, make sure the animal will be taken care of. If now is not a good time to bring home a cat or dog, allow the children to spend time with pets or friends and family, or take them to a petting zoo.

Source: Huffington Post, “Pets Very Helpful for Children Coping With Divorce,” Rosalind Sedacca, May 6, 2013

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