Some pets are treated like royalty. Owners include them in the family picture on holiday cards. Pets get treated to special toys, clothes, and foods. Some even receive a high standard of medical care at great cost to their owner. Why? It is because pets quickly become a part of the family, especially when children are involved. A pet and child are like candy and sugar, they go together.
How a Pet Can Affect Children
One recent study revealed just how beneficial pets are to kids. In fact, the study showed that an upset child is more likely to seek solace with a family pet than with a sibling. This ten-year study was conducted using children ages 2 through 12 and focused on things such as cognitive, social, and emotional development.
What happens to a child when they experience emotional turmoil? The effects are often detrimental to school work and social development, not to mention health. The stress can be the result of anything from serious illness to parental divorce. Children with positive relationships with family pets also seemed to fare better in these circumstances. Why is this the case?
Children often confide in pets. Since there is no verbal response, the child does not feel judged or pressured to word things, or feel things, a certain way. This allows children to believe that they have an empathetic ear listening to them.
When a child has one such relationship, they often become better at forming other strong relationships. Thus, children with pets frequently fare better socially, even when they suffer from emotional difficulties. Children with conditions that cause chronic social issues, such as autism, often interact better socially than children with no pets.
Many children with pets have an easier time with:
- Displaying Compassion
Also, children with pets seem to develop greater self-esteem and experience less stress than other children.
Therefore, it should not be understated how valuable it can be for a pet and child to grow up as companions, especially during their early years. Forming a relationship with a pet prepares a young one for social interactions, and helps children deal with traumatic circumstances that may arise.