The benefits of a family pet - MSU Extension
Attachment to pets has an important role in children's social, emotional, and In their relationships with pet animals, children's role of caregiving [26,27] might .. Future research would benefit from using a combination of. However, a deeper insight into the beneficial effects of pets on the physical, whether children have more intense relationships with animals which are The results indicate that the younger children's relationships clearly. CHILDREN AND THE HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND. Children & HAB_Girl with dog. The human-animal bond can be a beneficial relationship for adults and children.
If your child asks for a pet, talk with them about responsibility and the permanency of owning a pet. Have they expressed a consistent desire for a pet and understand it will need daily care up and above play time? Remember, no matter how committed they are at the time of getting a pet, you will have to consider yourself as the backup plan if and when they cannot or will not continue to care for the pet.
One of the major reasons, and an important life skill, for owning a pet is to teach responsibility. Pets require food, water and love. Many, some more than others, require exercise. Children over 5 years old can have developmentally appropriate responsibilities in regards to the care of the pet. Children under the age of 4 should be monitored with pets at all times, and children under the age of 10 should not be expected to take care of a dog or cat completely on their own.
A second skill children learn is trust. A pet offers unconditional support when a child or anyone is sad, angry or upset.
They can teach your child to trust the pet, themselves and build trust in other relationships as well. Compassion is the third life skill developed. Studies also showed evidence of an association between pet ownership and educational and cognitive benefits; for example, in perspective-taking abilities and intellectual development.
For Parents and Caregivers - The Colorado LINK Project
Evidence on behavioural development was unclear due to a lack of high quality research. Studies on pet ownership and social development provided evidence for an association with increased social competence; social networks; social interaction and social play behaviour. Prospective studies that control for a wide range of confounders are required.
Introduction Childhood and adolescence are crucial life phases in their contribution to the quality of health, emotional well-being, learning and behaviour across the life span [ 1 ].
The benefits of a family pet
Relationships with others are fundamental contributors to child and adolescent development according to relationship psychology [ 2 ] and attachment theory [ 3 ]. However, animal ownership is common.
Moreover, epidemiological studies suggest that pets are more likely to be found in households with children than in any other household type [ 6789 ]. Interactions with animals may affect several aspects of human development: Companion animals including horses, dogs, cats, rabbits and other rodents have the potential to promote healthy emotional youth development in many ways, as shown by research in Human-Animal Interactions HAI the mutual and dynamic relationships between people and animals and the ways in which these interactions may affect physical and psychological health and well-being of both people and their pets [ 12 ].The Pros & Cons Of Zoos
There is growing evidence that children turn to their pets for comfort, reassurance and emotional support when feeling anger, sadness, or happiness [ 13141516 ]. Thus, it is plausible that companion animals may have the potential to encourage better emotional health and reduce anxiety and depression.
Physiological mechanisms, such as activation of the oxytocin system may partly explain this reduction of psychological stress for humans who are in contact with animals [ 17 ]. However, it is important to recognize that pet attachment may be more important in exerting these potential effects than pet ownership.
According to attachment theorists, when attachment behaviours are consistently met by the primary caregiver, children form secure internal working models a cognitive framework consisting of mental representations for understanding the world, self and others that are foundational for their ability to make affectionate bonds with others and to create and maintain close relationships [ 3 ].
Although psychological theories of attachment concentrate on attachment between humans, research has demonstrated that children display attachment behaviours towards their pets [ 18 ].
Because companion animals both give and receive affection, they can contribute to and partially fulfil attachment needs; therefore, the developmental importance of bonds that children and adolescents form with animals should not be overlooked [ 919 ]. In addition, children who develop poor parental attachment tend to nurture internal working models of distrust with others, insecurity, separation anxiety, low self-esteem, and a propensity for loneliness [ 202122 ].
The Benefits of Pets for Human Health
If children are able to develop secure attachment behaviours with their pets as a substitute, secure internal working models may still develop to some extent [ 23 ]. Whether pet attachment and ownership has any impact on child and adolescent development is currently unclear.
Self-psychology self-esteem, self-cohesion and self-acceptance is another important aspect of youth development. When the purpose of the action is to: This expression of maladaptive behavior may indicate that there are other issues going on with the child. These types of behaviors should be taken very seriously and examined to determine the context and meaning of the behaviors.
Sometimes children who abuse animals become desensitized to inflicting harm and this could lead to future abuse issues. What should you do if you suspect your child or a child you know is abusing animals? Contact your local animal control office, humane society or your local law enforcement. The loss of a pet can be an important time to normalize the life cycle and create an open dialogue with your child.