The motto at a local Mosman school is “not for ourselves alone”. This is an important life motto and can be taught to our children in many ways. Pet ownership is being just one. According to most counsellors, this is probably the biggest lesson pet ownership can provide us with.
Having a pet forces us to care for another living being, and in doing that, many of us who might otherwise be awkward, shy, or introverted about our emotions have an opportunity to be openly nurturing and empathetic towards our pets.
Five benefits of pet ownership for children are…
For some children, the world seems full of pressure to perform. One of the beautiful things about pet ownership is that there is no judgement involved. Your pet is just delighted to be in your company- acceptance is unconditional.The Humane Society of Broward County in the United States, conducts the “Wags and Tales” Reading Program. This program offers children who are reluctant to read or literacy deficiencies the chance to read to a pet therapy dog. The dog, of course, doesn’t care whether the child misses a word- but the child’s self esteem and ability to read grows.
Children learn empathy through their pets initially through curiosity about the way their pets feel. This then leads to a greater engagement in the world around them. In a study on the differential effects of pet presence and pet bonding in children (Poresky and Hendrix 1990) significant correlations were noted between the children’s bonds with their companion animals and their scores on the social competency scales as well as their empathy scores.
Pets rely very much on their body language for communication with us. Children quickly learn to read and look out for their pets’ body language-to determine whether they are happy, sad, want interaction or in pain. They can then learn to apply this knowledge to the human situation.
Research has shown that children who experience traumatic events in their lives generally cope better if they have a pet to confide in. A pet can offer increased stability when the humans around them are in turmoil and therefore help children cope with change.
5. Nurturing skills.
Pet ownership gives children a chance to learn how to care for someone else. Keeping their pet well groomed, happy and healthy also teaches them the importance of doing the same for themselves. Naturally, when children see the importance of brushing its coat, watching its diet and exercising it, they will better understand the need to do these things for their own health.
Posted on 13 October 2016
Last updated on 11 December 2019
Tagged with: pets and children