Fido As Teacher: How Pets Teach Responsibility

Some parents cringe when their child begs for a pet. They think of all the work and responsibility it would entail, knowing full well they have their hands full already with their kids. Allowing your child to pitch in and care for a dog or cat will help both of you out, not to mention teach you both some important lessons in the process. Read on to learn more!

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Most children wish for a pet at least once in their lives. While, dogs, cats, and other pets, represent fun and friendship for the child, they often represent something much more trying for the parent. Pets require a tremendous amount of work and responsibility. With a bit of realistic expectation, however, you can use everything that comes along with the purchase of a pet to teach your child important life lessons.

Family Pets

Treat Others Well

Teaching your child how to 'play nice' with and show affection toward another living being is an important first step toward developing lifelong empathy towards others. Learning how to be a good friend with a pet will teach one how to be more open and friendly with other people as well.

Teach Responsibility

Pets must be both loved and cared for. This means they need to be fed, given fresh water, and exercised regularly. Give your child a sense of responsibility by having them meet these needs, whether they feel like it that day or not. Be warned, however, that a dog must be properly cared for even if your child isn't willing to do it, so you must be willing to take on those responsibilities yourself if needed.

Give Confidence.

When your child properly cares for his/her pet and feels some sense of responsible ownership, he/she will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Encourage Exercise

If you've ever been forced to keep up with a young puppy or kitten, you know how exhausting it can be! Use your new pet's energy to your advantage. By encouraging your child to play with his or her pet, both of them will get the exercise they need to sleep soundly and live healthy, happy lives.

A New Friend!

While some pets are more personable than others, children have an uncanny ability to bond closely with dogs and cats. Studies have shown that pet ownership brings happiness and longer life. While a four-legged friend cannot replace the two-legged kind, the companionship they provide can be healthy and beneficial.

While the benefits of pet ownership are clear, pets are not for everybody. If your child does not properly care for your new addition, you must be willing to do so. Also, some pets are exceptionally aggressive with children. It's best to introduce your child and the potential pet before bringing him or her home to make sure that there is a healthy connection.

It's also important to supervise all interaction between your child and a new pet. Please don't allow children to tease a pet, pull tails or ears, etc. Instead, show them how to properly care for and respect animals.

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