Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pets Can Be Your Child's Best Friend

   A new study shows what many people have known for a long time; pets are a child’s best friend. According to a published report in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, children get more satisfaction from relationships with their pets than with their brothers and sisters. The University of Cambridge study was conducted in collaboration with the WALTHAM Center for Pet Nutrition, part of Mars Petcare and the Economic and Social Research Council as part of a larger study, led by Professor Claire Hughes.
Young girl and boy with dogs
 The research shows increasing evidence that household pets might have a major influence on child development as well as a positive impact on children’s social skills and emotional well-being. Since pets are becoming as common as siblings in western households, it is important to study the effect these animals have on young people.
   If you had a childhood pet, you probably recall times when they were the only one who seemed to understand what you were going through. Researchers wanted to know how strong these relationships are with pets in comparison to other family ties. This is going to help them understand how the human/animal bond can contribute to healthy childhood development.
Baby girl with her Labrador Retriever
   The research was conducted with 12-year-olds from 77 families with one or more pets of any type and more than one child in the home. Children reported strong relationships with their pets compared to their siblings. Lower conflicts and greater satisfaction was reported with dogs over other types of pets.
   Pets might not understand or respond verbally but the ability to disclose feelings to pets was no less than that of a brother or sister. It might be the fact that pets can’t talks back that is so beneficial because they are non-judgmental. Previous research had shown the bond stronger with boys and their pets however this new research shows that not to be the case. Girls are more likely to disclose secrets to their pets which is very helpful during adolescence.
Toddler offering ball to German Shepherd
   According to WALTHAM researcher Nancy Gee who co-authored the study, “Evidence continues to grow showing that pets have positive benefits on human health and community cohesion. The social support that adolescents receive from pets may well support psychological well-being later in life but there is still more to learn about the long-term impact of pets on children’s development.”
   What do you think about this study? Was there a particular pet that you loved growing up that made a difference in your adult life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
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  1. Paisley and her sister are the best of friends

    1. They are so precious together. Gram loves them both. ♥

  2. I'm sure kids who grew up with pets are blessed. I learnt a lot about taking care of my pets and about friendship and empathy...

  3. It's so awesome all the good that pets do!

  4. Mom got a cat when she was 7 and just loved her. She thinks kids should have pets and also learn to be responsible and care for them.

  5. Every child should have a pet! I grew up with cats and have almost always had a cat in my life since. They were wonderful confidants, but I wish I'd had a dog too...they can help kids be so much more active.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  6. Ghostwriter had parakeets. Dad's "big brother" was an Irish setter named Kelly. My patron saint, Old Charisma, gave moral support to all the four siblings while they went through those angst-filled junior high school years.

  7. I got my first dog, a Chihuahua, when I was 3 and she lived until I was 18. She was part of everything in my childhood.

  8. OF COURSE we make life better fur Little Peeps... what would life be like fur a little peep withOUT a Fur or Feathered Furend to learn LOVE from?

  9. Pets are mommas best friend
    Lily & Edward

  10. Having grown up with pets, I knew that. Wouldn't be without one.

  11. We agree. Claire is a single child, and she grew up with a cat. The cat was always called her brother or her sister (yes, Claire's pawrents were crazy cat people too...) Purrs

  12. That's awesome. All kids should have a pet at some point as they grow up.

  13. Our mom never had a pet growing up and she thinks it's very important. Our hooman sissy has always had a furry best friend☺

  14. Oh Ma has doggies since she could remembers! I thinks it is very impawtent for kids to have pets! I thinks that's where true compassion is taught, and it also teaches unselfishness. ME the cookies! BOL
    Ruby ♥

  15. They sure can, I think all kids should grow up with pets.


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