The potential harmful effects divorce can have on children are well-documented.
Children of divorce are more likely to fall behind in school, both academically and socially. They tend to face more health problems. And they’re more likely to suffer from anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem.
Many of these risks can be mitigated by effective co-parenting as research indicates it might be the conflict between parents rather than the actual event of a divorce that poses harm to kids. However, even the most amicable of break-ups can be a challenging transition for children.
To help ease them into this new phase of their lives, or to comfort yourself, you might consider getting a pet. Sure, it’s an added expense at a time when you need to be budgeting responsibly, and it’s not necessarily fun trying to get Fido trained to stop peeing on the couch. (If you and your ex already had a pet, you might also be sorting through some pet custody issues.)
Don’t let those temporary inconveniences deter you. Caring for a pet can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences and can have numerous benefits for both you and your children.
Here are five reasons to get a pet after your divorce:
Pets relieve stress and anxiety
Is there anything more relaxing than petting a cat that’s quietly purring on your lap? Is anything better for the soul than playing fetch with a happy-go-lucky puppy? These types of interactions are scientifically proven to make us feel better.
It’s not only kids that benefit either. A 2001 study discovered that pet-owning patients with high blood pressure could keep their blood pressure lower during times of mental stress than patients who didn’t have pets.
Additionally, pets can improve mood and, along with treatment, can help people with mild to moderate depression.
Pets improve kids’ social skills
Therapists have discovered all kinds of unexpected psychological benefits pets can have for kids.
One study found that teaching children to care for a puppy enhances their social skills. They’ve been proven to help kids develop the following emotional intelligence skills: compassion, self-esteem, cognitive development, stress reduction, understanding the cycle of life.
Pets provide a friend
Pets also provide support for kids who have experienced something traumatic, such as the divorce of their parents.
Researchers found that for kids who have suffered from emotional neglect, pets provided a confidant and a buffer against loneliness. According to a 10-year longitudinal study, some kids who suffered hard times confided in their pets more frequently than their own siblings – especially girls with dogs.
Pets promote a healthier lifestyle
Sure, pets are an added responsibility. You have to walk them and make sure they get plenty of exercise, but that shouldn’t be considered a negative.
Whether it’s you or your kids, pets promote a more active lifestyle and that can result in some serious health benefits.
Plus, it’s a blast! There are all kinds of fun activities you and your kids can do with your pets, from playing catch and hide and seek to going for a hike or stroll through the park.
Oh, and FYI, multiple studies have found that women find men with dogs more attractive.
Pets provide unconditional love
The best part of owning a pet is the simplest. It’s the fact that, no matter what is going on in your life or what’s going on in your kids’ lives, you’re going to have a furry friend excited to see you when you walk through the door.
It’s impossible to put a price on the comfort that a pet’s loyalty and companionship provide.