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The importance of pets to children of divorce

Parents who are going through a divorce often determine that it's best for the parent who has primary physical custody of the children to keep the pets. In most cases, unless there is serious animosity between the parents, they agree that this is best for everyone.

Even if the spouse who doesn't have primary custody of the kids feels strongly about keeping the pet, it's important to understand just how important our four-legged family members -- particularly dogs -- are to children during times of stress. Obviously, their parents' divorce is one of the most stressful, and probably the most stressful, event that children will experience.

Even children with parents who are understanding of the insecurity and stress they're experiencing can feel alone and abandoned. Beloved pets can provide comfort and companionship that their parents may not be able to.

Pets provide unconditional love. They can also sense sadness and fear. They even provide someone for kids to talk to and express their feelings without judgment. Studies have shown that animals help reduce stress under all sorts of circumstances.

If you have one or more pets, it's essential to consider these things when determining where the animals will live. Keeping them together with your children can make all the difference in the world in how they deal with the divorce.

If you don't have pets, this may be a good time to consider getting one. If you don't feel that this is the time to take on this responsibility, consider taking your kids to a shelter or rescue group to spend time with animals. You'll be helping your kids as well as animals in need of love and companionship. It can also be a bonding experience for both parents to have with their children during this difficult time.

Source: Huffington Post, "Pets Very Helpful for Children Coping With Divorce," Rosalind Sedacca, accessed May 17, 2017

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