Do you think that pets play a part in child development?
I remember when I brought my daughter home I was worried about dog and cat hair in the house affecting her breathing. Her nurse told me that it was good for her to be around animals and it might help her to not develop allergies or sensitivities she might otherwise have due to her condition.
What about emotional development? Does having a pet make someone more responsible, caring, lighthearted?
When my kids were younger, we brought a kitten home. I remember being amazed at how much the stress levels in the house went down. They're just so silly and you find yourselves laughing more, etc. It's very important though to make sure the pet is appropriate for the kids. You want a pet large enough that the children won't hurt it and a breed that is known to be good with children so they won't get hurt either. Making the pet's care partly the responsibility of a child (how much would be dependant on child's age) will teach them responsibility.
To be perfectly honest, I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference. My children are fine with all of our animals. But they're not big animal lovers. I think that the instinct to nurture is either there or it's not. I don't particularly have it with domestic animals - I love my cats because they don't really need me to do anything except put their food out. We tried a dog, but I couldn't stand its neediness, and soon grew to resent it being around all the time. And yet, I donate to the WWF, because I want to help preserve animals and their habitats in the wild.
My kids love the novelty of a new animal in the house, but they soon stop noticing that the animal is around and go back to what they were doing before it arrived. They can take or a leave a domestic animal really. I'm not really interested in forcing them to take responsibility for another creature. I'd much rather concentrate on the things they're genuinely and enthusiastically interested in, and teach them to be responsible in other ways. I don't think an animal can change a person's personality - they're already caring, responsible or lighthearted. An animal may just serve to illustrate those character points, but they're already there.
(I was advised to get cats for my allergies, and they gave me asthma - now I'm stuck with it because my asthma isn't really bad enough to justify getting rid of them.)
On the other hand, for children that struggle with emotional or social development (maybe Asperger's, or other autism), I do believe that a pet can be invaluable. It can give them an outlet for emotions that they find hard to express with people, and can give them a clear focus that they can't find in the wider world that is so bewildering and frightening. I doubt that it always works in this way though. But that's a whole different topic really!
Of course. Though I've never heard about allergies, but they are good for emotional development, granted that the animals never die. My animals always died. Three giny pigs, two turtles, four hamsters, God knows how many fish. The three dogs died but they last the longest and were my best friends. I still miss Toby, my loyal companion. We adoped him and he followed me around as a protector for seven years. They do cause children to be more responsible and aware that they have to take care of something other than themselves.
Yes, I think it does. I think it teaches a child responsibility, consequence, reward and discipline. I know my answer is short, but I think it says all that needs to be said on the subject.
Yes. If you had asked a few months back, I would have more than likely, said no. I have seen a dramatic turn around in my oldest daughter, since she had picked up an abandon kitty. Her personality, her confidence, and her enthusiasm towards caring more for things has changed in a positive way. This animal has become her best friend.
I think that pets can teach responsibility to children, and give unconditional love. I enjoyed 13 years with my dog and some years with a mouse. Both were fun, but the Snoopy was my best friend, and he loved and protected me. I still miss him.
At the moment, caring for a domestic pet is not in our budget. My daughter had a fish named "Lucky" that died on her in 2 weeks. She does not want another fish.
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