Millions of families on this planet include at least one non-human member. Whether it’s a dog, cat, fish, turtle, rabbit or python, a new pet can quickly become a much-loved member of the family in its own right.
Many studies have shown that this can only be a good thing, for many reasons. When it comes to teaching children a variety of life lessons, helping to bond individual family members as a unit, and generally creating a sense of well-being and contentment within the home, there’s nothing like love. unconditional that a family caresses. radiates
Watching a kitten stagger with its new limbs as it explores the wonder that is the world around it often inspires the same kind of awe in the beholder. Sharing these kinds of experiences with your young children is like being present and seeing their own personalities birth before your very eyes. You are watching them, and even influencing them, as they create the fundamental thought processes that will inform all of their future moves in life, as they incorporate their mature world view into the expression of their very existence.
As both the animal and the child mature, so does the family unit. Members are commonly added as new children enter the scene, and the interactions between brother and brother, and brother and father, are often tempered by the unbiased and spontaneous love that a family pet can bring to the picture.
Upset, confused, or lonely children are often comforted by the complete support and acceptance that a long-loved animal offers. Memories of shared experiences and the animal’s possible total lack of judgment can cradle a sad heart with the flick of a tail and the touch of a paw.
Positive, life-affirming events like the birth of new pups, or even new tadpoles, can inspire an active curiosity about nature and life’s fundamental questions. If viewed from the right perspective and recognized by parents, they can provide learning opportunities not found in books, on television, or even in video games.
The lessons learned from other less happy events, although more difficult to experience, are just as important and valuable as the joyful occasions. If a family pet is sick or injured, the feelings experienced can be just as powerful as if a human member of the family were in danger. The agony of waiting to see if the patient will recover and become healthy again is not pleasant, but it is an important introduction to adult concepts that will be repeated throughout life and can teach children emotional strength as well as confirm that the worst does not always happen. will happen when the pet is safely home again.
If the worst happens, and the patient does not recover, even the latest tragedy of losing a loved one can be felt, examined, and understood in some way through the loss of a pet, long before the child must inevitably face the same situation as an adult. It is important for parents to recognize the learning opportunities inherent in raising an animal alongside their human children. From the time the child is old enough to safely interact with the chosen animal, the ideal situation is for both child and pet to grow up together. Depending on the pet, the animal’s shorter life cycle will allow children to see them grow from babies to adults, to parents with children of their own. Obviously, such an epic cycle implies commitment and responsibility, both from the child and from the parents involved.
It is immediately apparent that pets bring with them joy, spontaneity, and unconditional love that they can only add to any family unit. However, there are many less obvious but very important reasons why it can only benefit each family to include at least one non-human member.