All children dream of a pet. To fulfill this dream or not - you decide. And we will help weigh all the pros and cons
Marley and company
How many touching movies made about the friendship of kids with pets! Labrador Marley ("Marley and Me") met children from school every day. St. Bernard Beethoven from the film of the same name did help his little friends in all leprosy. The boy George and the talking little mouse Stuart (“Stuart Little”) together won the race of the tall ships, and the girl Eva coped with the bandits with the help of her tame monkey (“The trouble with the monkey”) ...
There is some truth in these fictional stories: pets help a child to become self-confident, to get rid of loneliness, which often torments adolescents in transitional age, to learn to be responsible and to care for those who need help. This is confirmed by the statistics: children who have pets think more positively and even smile more often than their friends raised without animals.
The animal makes the baby more sociable. Therefore, many psychologists advise parents whose children are closed, have speech problems, have a dog or cat. They give the same advice to adults who have one child - the pet will not allow him to grow into an egoist. And aggressive children will teach animals to be soft.
Not a toy, but a family member
If you decide to have a pet, first discuss with the child issues of education and responsibility. The child must understand that the pet is not a toy, but a living creature that can be happy and in pain. Explain that a dog, cat, or parrot is a full member of the family to take care of. You can read a few stories about pets to your child or show a film so that your baby has a correct and complete picture of our smaller brothers and how you should behave with them.
In no case do not impose an animal on the baby: if the child does not want a pet, it is better not to start it. Otherwise, you will have to take care of the beast. However, the first time you already have to take care of the animals on their own and show the child what to do and how. Shift responsibility for the pet to the children should be gradually.
It is believed that a child can take care of a parrot, hamster or guinea pig from the age of 7–8 years old, and take care of a dog or cat from 12–13. Naturally, you must constantly monitor this process.
To each his own
Let the child decide for himself which animal he wants to make friends with. As a rule, children dream that the animals participate in their games, so it is better to choose an energetic pet: a cat, a dog (read more on this topic, the article “Dog for a child”), a hamster or a rat. With turtles, kids are boring: they are too slow and unemotional. But the fish just fit hyperactive guys - watching the smooth movements will calm restless child.
Many are convinced that the best companion for a child is a dog. Understanding and agile, he will be able not only to share all his amusements with his young friend, but also, if necessary, to protect him. However, you do not need to trust stereotypes recklessly - not every dog can become a nanny. Moreover, a wayward or jealous dog is better not to allow children at all until a specialist reinstates him. Moreover, even a good-natured pet needs special training. So, a cheerful Labrador who doesn’t know the teams will be able to “carry off” the child along with him on a leash.
Meet the newborn
It often happens that a pet first appears in the family, and then a child. Moreover, some future parents are so concerned about the behavior of the animal in relation to the baby, that they even get rid of the pet - and make a big mistake.
Of course, there are truly aggressive animals. With some dogs and cats, even adult owners get along with difficulty. But the majority of pets will never attack a defenseless baby - other young “cubs” are taboo for them. Nevertheless, how the child’s relationship with the animal will develop depends on the parents.
Even before the baby arrives at home, show the baby's bed to the beast and explain that it is impossible to climb there. When the child is born, lay a diaper on the animal, on which the baby was lying, so that the pet gets used to the new smell. And when, finally, you step over the threshold with a newborn, do not hide it, but show the beast - then one day they will become best friends.
Do not forget: no matter how much trouble you have with the birth of a child, once you have taken responsibility for the pet and should not let him down. Give him as much attention as he received before - then he will never become dangerous jealous.
Do not allow the grown-up child to pull the cat by the tail, and the dog for the ears - not all animals like this treatment. And even more so, do not force your pet to sit on the child’s arms, if your four-legged friend is naturally capricious. He may not be a nanny, but he will remain your friend.
The last word
Many pet opponents claim that pets have no place next to children: quadrupeds become carriers of infections, too much dirt and wool from them, finally, they can bite an inquisitive kid. However, recent studies have revealed an interesting pattern: children who constantly communicate with animals have a stronger immune system than those who do not have pets.
Whether to believe scientists and psychologists is your business. But before you start a pet or give up your pet, remember your own childhood dreams. Whatever gift you want to get for your birthday, the most cherished desire has always been a faithful dog or a sweet cat. Maybe it is worth making this dream a reality for your baby?