Many parents dread the time that their little ones start to ask for a pet of their own, envisaging having to do all the work themselves. They are also put off by the thought of the mess and expense that can come with pet ownership.
But according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, almost 50% of households in the UK had a pet in 2014. It is widely believed that keeping a pet can, in fact, provide a range of tangible benefits for children as they grow up.
Responsibility and Commitment
Of course, the parent must always take ultimate responsibility for the welfare of any pet that is brought into the household. But with proper supervision, even fairly young children can be quite involved in pet care. They can help with feeding, cleaning and even with walking a dog, as long as they are accompanied by an adult. The Pet Health Council reports that by encouraging young people to treat animals with respect and compassion, parents can help them to grow up with an enhanced sense of understanding and empathy towards others. Teachers and counselors often use relationships with animals to help troubled children with low self-esteem, who may find it easier to open up about their problems when caring for pets.
Life’s Hardest Lesson
The death of a pet is always a traumatic event, and parents usually dread it as they worry about the effect on their child. But facing the death of a pet can open up discussions about the subject of death in general.
When you are considering which pet would be suitable for you and your child, you would do well to think about buying a pet tortoise. These fascinating creatures can be really rewarding to keep, and children can learn a lot from them. As long as you make sure that you have thoroughly researched their care needs, a tortoise can become a valued member of the family for many years to come.
All in all, it seems that the benefits to children from having a family pet can far outweigh the possible inconvenience to parents. In fact, young people can learn some incredibly valuable life lessons from the experience which will stand them in good stead for the future.