The divorce process will be tough on every member of your family, so it’s important to help your child find ways to cope. Could your pet be the answer? Find out, here…
Household pets are something we, as humans, are becoming more and more attached to. The growing number of people adopting animals, and the obsession we have with creating social media accounts for them, just goes to show our attachment. But, could our pets be just what we need to get through a traumatic experience, like a divorce?
As a divorcing parent, you’ll definitely want to seek child law advice. That said, it might be a great comfort for you to know that your pet could be the more long-term answer.
From goldfish to horse, animals have the profound ability to alter our emotions. So, to discover some of the amazing ways your pets could help your children to cope with your divorce, read on…
1. Setting Your Child Up Emotionally Beforehand
You may not know this, but studies show that pets actually have the extraordinary ability to help children develop their social skills early on. For example, it’s clear that pets create more empathetic children, especially if they’ve grown up with this pet. This is due to the responsibility it takes to look after them, which gives them a greater understanding of the cycle of life.
This empathy will not only make them more understanding of their parents, who are also going through a hard time too. It may also help them to forge emotional resilience from a young age, which can help them through the divorce process.
2. Boost Your Child’s Cognitive Abilities
Not only do your household pets help your children to be more empathetic people, they can also help your child to improve their brain function too. But why is this useful for a child when their parents are going through a divorce?
Well, with greater learning abilities comes a greater understanding of the world around them. So, this may provide them with a better ability to understand what’s happening, which may stop them from blaming themselves in the process.
What’s more, they are likely to have more scope to distract themselves. Through engaging in activities which get their brain going, like sports, reading, or the arts, they’ll be able to get through this hard time more independently.
3. Reduce Childhood Anxiety
Another great way in which your pet may have already prepared your child for the divorce process is through reducing their chances of suffering from anxiety. A really interesting study has shown this, through comparing 643 children with similar BMIs and exercise rates. Amazingly, 21 percent of the children who didn’t have a pet dog tested positive for anxiety, but only 12 percent of those with a dog tested positive!
Clearly, the statistics don’t lie. With the reduction of childhood anxiety from an early age, perhaps your child may be less likely to fall into anxious patterns during your divorce too. With the help of your furry friend, your kid may be set up at an early age for this sort of stress.
4. Have Shown Your Kid Responsibility from a Young Age
In some ways, pets are like having another child. That said, they still also depend on the children in the family to survive. So, through encouraging your children to feed, walk, and play with your pets from day one, they will learn the importance of thinking of others before themselves.
Starting off life with an element of responsibility is a true method of building character. Through having someone depend on you for their life and needs, you become much less selfish and, as we’ve seen, more empathetic in the process. In some ways, this could make your child more resilient when your divorce peaks.
To add to this, this feeling of responsibility from a young age could also make your child feel needed when the divorce process kicks in. Whilst everything around them changes, their pet still requires walks and feeding, which provides them with a focus to distract them.
5. A Shoulder to Cry On
Despite the language barriers we face with our pets, that doesn’t stop them from having a base understanding of our human emotions. Our pets have the amazing ability to piece together our body language, voice tones, and facial expressions to determine our feelings.
Although studies in this are not yet concrete, I’m sure you pet lovers out there have experienced this sort of emotional bonding with your pet. Perhaps they came to comfort you when you were crying, or stayed with you all night after a break-up? Whatever it may be, it’s clear that our pets can provide that friendly shoulder to cry on.
When it comes to the divorce process, this is paramount. With so much change happening, your child may withdraw from their friends and family. But, with the help of a pet, who can provide them with the comfort and physical touch they require, comfort will be at hand.
6. Someone to Talk to
During your divorce, it’s highly likely that your child will be confused, and may shut down from you in the process. But, a big part of them adjusting to the entire divorce process will be talking to someone. This “someone” doesn’t have to be a person; it could very well be your pet.
Many children out there most certainly do talk to their pets. They may feel that their pet is the one creature than can truly understand what they’re going through, at this point in their life. With this one true friend, providing them unconditional love throughout this messy business, this should help them to rebuild their ability to express their feelings to you later.
7. The One Constant
A divorce can be a really tumultuous period; the world as they know it has come crashing down around them. Not only have their parents split up, but many other elements of their lives may change very suddenly with it. Moving house, moving schools, and maybe even being split up from parents and siblings, are part and parcel of the divorce process.
Your pet may, therefore, become one of the only constants in their lives. By going through the whole process with their pet, it might help your child feel less abandoned along the way.
8. Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Pets of all different sorts have the fantastic power to reduce our stress and anxiety levels. For example, studies have shown that stroking cats actually has a really positive effect on the mental health of humans. Even more amazing is that the vocal resonance produced by a cat’s purr is enough to help heal your bones, reduce the risk of heart problems, and lower your stress rates too!
Clearly, our pets can have more than just an indirect effect on our health, but also a very direct effect as well. Truly amazing.
9. Help to Improve Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Another fantastic way in which your pets can have a truly positive impact on your child is through improving their self-esteem. The unconditional love our pets show us, despite the flaws we may see in ourselves, is certainly enough to increase our own love for ourselves. But, how can this help out during the divorce process?
As we’ve seen, a divorce is likely to make a child think twice about their worth in this world. Many children blame themselves for their parents’ divorce, and wonder what they could have done to avoid it.
That said, through growing up with a pet, they’re more likely to feel a sense of worth outside of the familial bonds they have. This should hopefully help them to cope when your divorce hits its peak.
10. Provide a Healthy Distraction
After seeing the sort of responsibility it takes to look after a pet, it’s clear that feeding them, walking them, and playing with them is an essential task. This necessity to look after another being, and get outside with them in the process, is enough to help distract a child from their ongoing family issues.
One thing our pets can teach us above all is to live in the moment. By following their example, your child can learn to enjoy the breeze in their hair, the sun on their face, and the nature around them, just as their pet does too. This is a life lesson we all need once in a while, and it may be exactly what your child needs during this time.
Ready to Get Through the Divorce Process?
There’s no denying that the divorce process will be hard on your entire family. What’s more, your children are likely to face the brunt of the emotional force. Because of this, it’s important that they have some emotional support and, as we’ve seen, your pets may be the answer.
Have you got any heart-warming stories of times your pets saved the day? Perhaps your children have a beautiful bond with their pets, that you’d love to share? Leave a comment down below, and let’s show some appreciation for our furry best friends.