Divorce can be one of the most stressful events, not only in your life but in the lives of children as well. Their world is turned upside down, and they feel a total loss of control over things they considered stable and constant in their lives. Coping with those feelings is challenging for adults, let alone children.
There are different emotions and problems kids of divorce experience; they often think they are to blame and worry about the remaining parent leaving them. Providing stability in those times can be one of the trickiest things you will have to do.
Problems of children of divorce
As we said, kids whose parents are going through a divorce can suffer from different problems. It is pretty well documented and studied. Kids can easily fall behind in school, develop social issues, and deal with a great amount of anxiety and stress. All of that is extremely unhealthy and potentially dangerous for their physical and psychological development.
Studies have shown that co-parenting and having a great relationship with your ex can benefit children whose parents are separating. The truth is, not many former couples are capable of doing that, even for the children’s sake.
Constant fighting and bickering can have a more damaging influence on children than the divorce itself. It is a transition, but a transition children can weather if their two role models get along. Pets, especially dogs, can positively influence children’s psychology, not only if their parents are splitting, but also if they are not.
Dogs have played an important companion to children throughout history, and some cultures even had their family pets sleep with their kids in their beds. To children, it is like having a live teddy bear that teaches them vital life lessons.
Value of owning a dog
Around 71 million households in the US already have a pet, and if you don’t already have one, getting one for your kid/s can be a blessing in these times. There are numerous benefits kids get from owning a dog, and not only will the dog provide unconditional love, but they will also teach them valuable life lessons. Here are the most useful benefits kids get from owning a dog.
The most obvious one is the love dogs show “their” humans. Psychologists have proven over and over that dogs are a fantastic source of support and unconditional love. Divorce is a stressful time for the children, and during those times of insecurity and change, a dog will provide stability and security. Some even said that dogs are a “bridge to sanity.” Things might be changing, but their beloved dog will always remain by their side and provide plenty of love and affection.
Dog owners have long claimed that petting and spending time with their dogs is excellent stress relief. Finally, science confirmed that theory and proved that talking, cuddling, and walking a dog lowers blood pressure, pulse, and lowers cholesterol. If you combine all these things, you get one of the best ways to alleviate the cooped-up stress — the same works for children.
Not only will owning a dog lower their stress during these times, but they will also get additional exercise, which is hugely beneficial for modern-day, screen-focused children.
Post-divorce times can be very troubling, and adults are often preoccupied with legal things and living arrangements. Dogs become part of the family, and they can play a vital role as the “communication enhancer.” They are often the bridge that helps adults and children communicate and have conversations that can be awkward and hard.
Other than helping their families, dogs also enhance the kids’ communication skills. Taking a dog to the dog park or simply walking them through the neighborhood will make you run into other dog owners. Children learn both directly and indirectly how to communicate and how to sharpen their communication skills. It is a valuable lesson that will help them throughout their life.
Connection and Security
Dogs are absolutely awesome, and not only are they a great source of fun, but they also provide kids with a connection on a deeper level and a strong feeling of security. Child psychologists have proven the positive effects of dogs (and other pets) have on kids during divorce, illness, and even a family member’s death. Dogs provide them with stability and the feeling of being less alone and abandoned.
Through that connection, kids learn about empathy and support. Studies have shown that children with dogs are more sensitive to other people’s sufferings and have shown healthier self-confidence than those who don’t have a pet. It is another valuable life lesson kids get from dogs.
This is one of the most important things dogs bring to kids whose parents are going through a divorce – a confidant. Kids love talking to their dogs, and some even find that sharing their secrets and fears with their dogs is easier than sharing them with adults or therapists. A dog is always there and will lend an ear without any judgment or opinions. Dogs will simply listen and offer cuddles and support when needed.
Owning a dog is also a great way of bonding. Some parents might have trouble communicating and bonding with their kids after or during the divorce, and walking a dog can be the first activity that divorced parents and kids can do together. Commenting, laughing, and playing with the dog is something everyone will enjoy.
There are over 400 internationally recognized dog breeds, and that is if you are not counting mixed dogs and crossbreeds. You can specifically pick a breed that will go great with the child’s character. Some breeds are active; some prefer staying at home and cuddling.
There are many different options for you to choose and make sure you get a dog that perfectly fits your children. There is also the option of adopting, which some future dog owners prefer. A good thing is that all dogs can become emotional support dogs; the specific breed is not a condition that needs to be fulfilled.
Protector or cuddler
A dog can be so much more than just a best friend (which is already a significant role). Some dog breeds have guarding characters, and their mean look and protective characters can provide kids with an additional feeling of security. You might have some doubts about these breeds, but they are incredibly devoted and loving towards their own families.
If you think that having a relatively large breed might be hard to raise and have at home, different small dog breeds can become excellent cuddling partners. Some breeds were developed to become the perfect companion, so there is no reason to believe that they won’t become precisely that to your children.
Benefits of owning a dog as a divorcee
If you are reading this, it probably means you went through a very stressful change in your life, and you are thinking about your children. The truth is, getting a divorce is extremely hard on parents as well. You might not admit it, but handling emotions and change is not very easy. Most of us have a lot of trouble withstanding the situation.
Owning a dog is not only good for kids but for grown-ups as well. Dogs offer many things you probably didn’t even think about at first. Here are some of the benefits dog ownership can provide to people that are alone after a divorce.
Even if you got a dog because of your children, you would most likely be the one taking care of it. Pretty soon, you will understand the benefit of owning a dog, but first, let’s start with the social part. Owning a dog requires walking them and visiting dog parks. Dog parks are filled with other dog owners, and having a dog can be a great conversation starter. It is a place to meet new friends and get support where you didn’t even look for one.
There is a reason why plenty of dogs are emotional support animals. They are sensitive and have a special connection with their owners. They can feel our anxiety, panic, or stress, and they are ready to provide us with support even if they can’t talk.
Many couples that are separating let themselves go and forget how important physical activity is. Dog owners have an obligation in the form of an animal that needs to go for walks every day. Dogs don’t care if it is raining outside or if it’s windy and cold. They need to go out, and going out means more physical activity for you. On average, dog owners have 19 minutes more physical activity per day than those who don’t own a dog.
Getting a dog can be a huge thing at this point in your life, and it is certainly one of the best decisions you can make for yourself in general. However, you need to be realistic and make the best possible decision. Think about the time, budget, and schedule, and make the best possible decision for you and your family.