As a huge animal lover, I have always appreciated the value of having pets in my life. I grew up surrounded by animals and our pets were very much part of the family. Loving and caring for animals is a great lesson for children growing up. In addition, the value of the unconditional love a pet can provide a child (or adult for that matter) cannot be underestimated.
In divorce situations, the children’s world is being turned upside down. In these stressful times, it is important for children to feel as safe and secure as possible. Having a pet can be very helpful.
I like Rosalind Sedacca’s (https://www.childcentereddivorce.com/), six key benefits a pet provides for families coping with divorce:
“1. Unconditional Love
It has been proven again and again that pets are a source of support and unconditional love for children. During and after divorce, when there is so much instability and insecurity in a child’s life, a beloved pet can be the bridge to sanity. While much around them may be changing, sweet Fluffy is still there to love them and be by their side.
2. A confidante
Children like to talk to their pets. For most children, pets are a trusted friend in which they can confide and share their deepest fears. This is truly a gift to children and greatly helps with emotional resiliency. Pets are nonjudgmental. They listen attentively. They “understand,” and they always love you back. Isn’t that what your children need at a time like this?
Pets have been shown to help children better cope with challenging times within a family, including divorce, illness and death. They feel less alone and abandoned. The relationship with the pet provides a deep sense of security that can’t easily be duplicated. In early childhood, a stuffed animal often serves much the same purpose. But kids rarely outgrow their bond with Fluffy, even when they mature into their teens.
4. Bridge to adults
Pets can bridge the emotional and communication gap between adults and children — especially when Mom and Dad are preoccupied with so many other time-consuming details during and after a divorce. They are a valued part of the family, a source of calm as the family moves through the storm of post-divorce transition.
5. Stress Reduction
Medical studies have shown that pets are just as beneficial for adults. Walking and talking to your dog or petting your cat can actually lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, not to mention overall stress. Pets also are a great source of laughter and joy, a reminder that there are facets of life that are still wonderful to experience. And laughter is always healing!
6. Best friend
Pets also provide unconditional love, nurturing and comfort to adults who greatly need it as they transition through the grief of divorce. They’re a best friend when you’re alone and an appreciative ear when you want to vent or shed tears.”
If you don’t already have a pet, taking on additional responsibility during this stressful time in your life, may not be sensible. But allowing your children to come in to contact with animals is a positive thing for them, e.g. allowing them to play with the pets of friends/family or a visiting a petting farm etc.
For tips on how best to support your children during your divorce, read my blog You Will Always Be A Family…To Your Children.
If you have found the tips in this blog useful then you will find lots more in my ebook “Tips for Coping with Divorce” which you can download here: free ebook.
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