There has been a remarkable study that has indicated that Children will confide in their pets more than their siblings. I remember my own childhood pet, it was a perfect companion who I talked to all the time. I just knew he understood my every word. The following makes for fascinating reading about kids and pets.
These findings are a result of PhD student Matt Cassels’ analysis of data from the Toddlers Up Project, a ten year longitudinal study of children’s social and emotional development, led by Professor Claire Hughes. The original research included a section on children’s relationships with their pets, as well as a broad range of other data from the children, their parents, teachers, and siblings.
This made the data set unique because, while there are many studies on our relationship with pets, few used the same tool to compare children’s relationships with pets with other human relationships, let alone over such a long period of time.
Matt hypothesized that strong pet relationships would make for happier children, but he found that animals create more than just smiles. The kids with solid animal bonds had a higher level of prosocial behavior, such as helping and sharing, than their peers. A subsection of the group, particularly girls and those whose pet was a dog, were even often more likely to confide in their pet than in their sibling.
I know we all have different ideas, but to me I cant understand why any parent wouldn’t want their child introduced to a pet early in life. The experience, as we have just discovered, is a great way to give kids confidence. I also believe that kids learn respect from an early age. They learn the art of nurturing. Most of all they learn what it is like to love another living creature and the power of being needed. Only kids and pets know this secret, and there is nothing more beautiful in the World.