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kids pet divorce

4 Ways In Which Pets Can Help Children Deal With Their Parents’ Divorce

kids pet divorce

 

Divorce is always hard on those involved. A marriage falling apart is something no-one likes to see. Often though, the party most affected by it are the children. The sudden loss of stability, perception of weakness in their parents who otherwise previously appeared so strong to them and the general confusion at what the future holds can leave children with serious emotional consequences, some of which could last their whole lives.

In those difficult times, children will often look for things to cling on to for comfort. One such comforting presence is a pet. Pets have proven themselves incredibly helpful to children going through any sort of trauma, including divorce.

When everything else around them is stressful and seems to be collapsing, pets can have a massive positive impact on a child as they try and deal with all of the problems that come with a parent’s divorce. Let’s take a look at the ways in which pets can positively influence your child’s experience of divorce.

Pets Can Help Children Deal with Their Parents’ Divorce

1. Consistent Love

Though the large majority of parents feel unconditional love for their child, in the stress and turmoil of divorce, children can feel ignored. There’ll be a lot of moments where it will be difficult for an adult going through this tough time to give their child what he or she needs.

“Having a pet, particularly a dog, gives a child a companion who, no matter what is going on around them, will be a constant source of love or at the very least the semblance of love that can imbue their lives with a needed sense of consistency”, says Ira Byrd, lifestyle blogger at LastMinuteWriting and Writinity. Having a pet there will allow a child to feel loved when they are uncertain about the concept itself as they witness their parents’ relationship fall apart.

2. Mental Health Monitor

It’s been proven that animals have the power to reduce stress in human beings. This phenomenon is what has bred the growth and embrace of therapy pets, animals that travel with humans who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression and other psychological problems.

Even if your child isn’t explicitly affected to that degree, the presence of a pet is therapeutic and can provide positive, soothing emotions for them as they try and cope with the divorce. It’s also a good motivator for exercise, as a lot of pets encourage children to run around. The proven benefits on stress and mood of exercise make this a bonus reason why pets are good for your child’s mental health in this difficult time.

3. Someone They Can Talk To

Even adults will catch themselves talking to their animals, it’s a common part of the owner-pet dynamic. For children, the sense that their pet is actually listening to them is elevated and so it can have an extremely strong effect on them. Children need to talk through things during a divorce and it’s often the case that they will feel unable to discuss anything with either of their parents. On the other hand, a pet will listen to everything in a non-judgemental way. “In a sense, a pet can be a bit like a therapist for a child.

They can absorb everything that the child is thinking about a situation in a non-judgemental, quiet way and not expect anything out of the child in terms of behavior or mood”, writes Myra Mcguire, psychology writer at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK.

4. For Security

One thing that can be really frightening about divorce for children is feeling like they have been abandoned by their parents. Parents might change in their children’s eyes as they go through the divorce process and, with all of the stressful complications that can arise in divorce, parents might find themselves very busy, without much time to attend to their child. Pets help children feel defended and secure, temporarily making up for the lack of security from the parents.

Conclusion

Divorce is never going to be easy on a child and it will always leave a lasting impression. However, having a pet by their side during the process really can help to mitigate some of the hardest parts of enduring this traumatic family event and can help them recover faster after the fact.

The post 4 Ways In Which Pets Can Help Children Deal With Their Parents’ Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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help your kid deal with your divorce

8 Things You Can Say To Help Your Kid Deal With Your Divorce

help your kid deal with your divorce

 

Breaking up is hard to do. And, when there are children involved it can be harder still. The break up of a family can be traumatic and, studies show, that it is something that greatly affects children. But this distress can be minimized as we now know that it is not the separation itself that does the damage, but the way in which it is done.

If you can remain calm, keep any conflict away from the children and talk to them honestly about what is happening it can really go a long way in helping them cope with divorce.

Divorce can be devastating but how you handle it with your children can go a long way to buffering the impact. Dr. Judith S. Wallerstein, the principal investigator of a major study assessing kids of divorce  (California Children of Divorce Study), emphasizes the importance of this, saying:

‘It matters very much what happens in the post-divorce family’

Here are 8 things you should say to help your kid deal with divorce

1. It wasn’t your fault

Children often mistakenly believe that the fact that Mummy and Daddy are breaking up is something to do with them. Perhaps they were too naughty or said something wrong. It’s important to reassure your children that it is not their fault and nothing to do with anything they have done.

2. We both still love you very much

Hand-in-hand with the common misconception that they are to blame for the divorce, children worry that the reason a parent is leaving means they don’t love them enough to stay. It’s vital to stress that you both love your children just as much as you have ever done. And that’s not going to change.

3. We’re all going to be OK

Children can react in very different ways on hearing about their parent’s separation and this varies according to their age. Some children show a lot of distress and ask lots of questions right away, others hardly seem to react at first and it is only later that they show any distress or anxiety. It’s important that they know that everyone will be OK. That you’re fine and you will help them adjust too.

4. We’re still a family

Things will change but one thing that will remain is the fact that you are still a family and you will continue to be one. Let your kids know this.

Paula Hall, a Relate family therapist says :

The important message to get across is this: Mum and I might not be married anymore, but we’re still a family. We might live in different houses, and life might be different, but our family still exists, and although we aren’t married, we are still co-parenting you, and you still matter to us more than anything else.”

5. Here’s what the plan is

Change is unsettling for us all. It’s even scarier if you’re not in control of what is going to happen. That’s why it’s important to be very clear and explain to your children what will happen and outline the plans you have put in place.

Address some of the major concerns your child might have, such as when and how they will see each parent, where they will go to school and how they will still keep in touch with other family members.

Very young children might need constant reminders of when they will see Mummy or Daddy next. Visual clues can help. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, author of Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce , suggests using a colour coded calendar to help them keep track of their week:

“Like preschoolers, early school-age children also benefit from a calendar with different colors designating ‘Mom days’ and ‘Dad days.”

6. It’s OK to feel sad and angry

Sometimes it is easier to show your child through actions that it is OK for them to not feel OK about the changes happening. Be patient and loving if they express anger, sadness or anxiety and make sure you give them lots of extra love and cuddles. Be aware of their behaviour and be available to listen to them if they need to ask any questions or talk about how they are feeling.

7. How do you feel about?

It can be hard for children to talk about how they are feeling. Especially if they worry that if they admit what they are really feeling it might upset Mum or Dad. So check in often with your child and ask them how they are feeling. Let them know that it’s OK to talk about anything to do with the separation. Including how they feel about going to Daddy’s house, if they feel sad when they miss Daddy or Mummy and if they have any worries.

8. Is there anything we can do to help make it better?

You can’t wave a magic wand and your children need to know that you won’t be getting back together but there are many things you can do to make the transition to your new lives easier. Ask your child what you can do to help. If they are struggling with staying over at either house maybe taking a photo of Mummy or Daddy to put on their bedside would help. If they are worried about the dark at a new house, maybe going out to buy a nightlight would help.

If they are just feeling a bit down maybe an impromptu day out to play on the beach and eat ice cream would go some way to cheering them up. Keep brainstorming ways you can help your children through the changes in little ways that can make a big difference.

Separation and divorce are never easy. But the way you deal with it when it comes to your kids can make a significant difference. If you can put your own feelings to one side and find a way to process them away from your children and present a united front when it comes to making sure your children are supported every step along the way, then it really does pay off.

There’s no getting away from how devastating a divorce can be but how you handle it in front of your children can make a huge difference. It takes compassion, communication, and kindness. If you can get those three things in place then you’re well on your way to smoothing the path to make sure your children survive it intact.

The post 8 Things You Can Say To Help Your Kid Deal With Your Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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is your boyfriend still married

Is Your Boyfriend Still Married? That Might Be a Deal Breaker!

is your boyfriend still married

 

Dear Christina,

I’ve recently met someone and we’ve fallen pretty hard for each other. Ben and I have so much in common, it’s crazy! We’re both in our 40s. We both have two kids in middle school: a girl and a boy. We’re both engineers. And we both love mountain biking. There’s one big difference, though. I’m divorced and he’s…well…not yet divorced. 

You see, I separated from my ex two years ago, and our divorce was final about eight months later.  Ben also separated from his wife two years ago (yet another thing we have in common), but neither he nor his wife filed.  Ever since she left him, he’s paid for his household expenses, she’s paid for hers, and they co-parent their kids without any drama. So, for all intents and purposes, it’s like they’re divorced, they just haven’t done the paperwork. 

My best friend can’t get past this technicality. She says dating him is wrong because he’s still a married man.  Plus, she’s totally hung up on the fact that he said he was divorced on OKCupid.  She thinks he was being untruthful.  I think he was just being practical. 

Do you think it’s wrong to date him?

Signed,
Head Over Heels in Love

 

Dear In Love,

I realize this happens all the time, but I think misrepresenting one’s marital status on a dating site raises legitimate questions about a person’s veracity. But at this point, that’s water under the bridge. The bigger issue here is not that Ben said he was divorced on OKCupid, it’s that he is in fact still married.

For reasons more pragmatic than principled, I am opposed to people dating before they are divorced. Simply put, dating has a zero percent chance of making a divorce go smoother, and a bazillion percent chance of making it more contentious. Even I can do that math.

I get that Ben has been separated for a couple of years and that it was his wife’s decision to move out.  And you might think that means his divorce will be smooth, simple, and unemotional.  But there’s nothing like a not-yet-ex finding someone new to make the person who wanted the divorce in the first place have second thoughts about splitting up.  And when that happens, it’s anything but smooth, simple, and unemotional.

Even if that doesn’t happen, a divorce, no matter how civil, is nobody’s idea of a good time. Sure, they’ve been living separately; but the devil is in the details, and no one has sorted through those yet. Is the house going to be sold?  How will they divide the proceeds?  What about the retirement accounts?  Will anyone pay child support?  Who’s picking up the tab for the kids’ braces?  Hammering out all of this can get messy.

Ben will be preoccupied with the twists and turns of his divorce at times – and that’s understandable. You will have opinions about how things are or are not getting resolved at times – and that’s also understandable.  As a result, your fun, new relationship with Ben will get bumped and bruised in the process of Ben’s divorce.  That’s wear and tear on your relationship that would never have happened if Ben had wrapped up his divorce before you two started dating.

So, yes, in a perfect world, people would conclude their previous relationships, paperwork and all, before entering into new ones.  But you’re not living in a perfect world; you’re living in Ben’s world. Since it’s not likely that the two of you will take a hiatus while Ben gets his divorce done, let’s develop a practical plan to get you through this.

Up until this point, Ben’s been content to let his ex-wife call the shots regarding their separation. She left him. She didn’t file. He sat on the sidelines waiting to see what she would do next. Some people (especially men) take this approach because they are holding out hope for reconciliation. Other people (especially men) think it will result in a kinder, gentler divorce.

But now that you two are involved, Ben needs to demonstrate respect for both you and your new relationship by taking the reigns on his divorce. Ben should talk to a divorce lawyer and figure out what constitutes a reasonable time frame for getting his divorce done. Then, he should commit to doing what he can to get things squared away within that time period.

And you should commit to staying out of his divorce drama. Don’t expect him to report to you on how things are progressing. Don’t weigh in with your opinions about property settlements, custody matters, and other details. Remember, if this had been done in the proper order, you wouldn’t have been around for any of those discussions, anyway. His divorce is his project, not yours.

The best way to protect your new relationship from any fallout from his divorce is by staying out of it.

If Ben’s divorce is not final within the time period that he commits to getting it done, you will then need to identify what the hold-up is. Were there unexpected complications? Is Ben dragging his feet? Or is his wife still calling the shots? Once you figure that out, you’ll know whether to stick around a little longer or cut your losses.

Best,
Christina

________________________________

Christina Pesoli is the author of Break Free from the Divortex: Power Through Your Divorce and Launch Your New Life.

This blog post first appeared on DivorceMag.com

The post Is Your Boyfriend Still Married? That Might Be a Deal Breaker! appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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How To Deal With Fear and Uncertainty During Divorce

How To Deal With Fear and Uncertainty During Divorce

It is possible to navigate your divorce well despite the fear and uncertainty and the use of your support anchors is a key strategy in your success.

The post How To Deal With Fear and Uncertainty During Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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