Meet Mugsy ~ Benefits of pets and children

IMG_0484This is my bulldog Mugsy at about 3 months old. Although he is much bigger today, I could not help but post my favorite picture! As I was thinking about the next post for Say Think Know, I looked at my lovely bulldog and smiled while thinking how awesome pets make us feel. So how does having a pet affect children? I was curious and searched for some answers. Most of what I found was common sense. The best result with the highest credibility came from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – Facts for Families (see below).

Advantages of Pet Ownership

Children raised with pets show many benefits.  Developing positive feelings about pets can contribute to a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.  Positive relationships with pets can aid in the development of trusting relationships with others.  A good relationship with a pet can also help in developing non-verbal communication, compassion, and empathy.  Pets can serve different purposes for children:

  • They can be safe recipients of secrets and private thoughts–children often talk to their pets, like they do their stuffed animals.
  • They provide lessons about life; reproduction, birth, illnesses, accidents, death, and bereavement.
  • They can help develop responsible behavior in the children who care for them.
  • They provide a connection to nature.
  • They can teach respect for other living things.

Other physical and emotional needs fulfilled by pet ownership include:

  • Physical activity
  • Comfort contact
  • Love, loyalty, and affection
  • Experience with loss if a pet is lost or dies.

http://aacap.org/page.ww?name=Pets+and+Children&section=Facts+for+Families

In my opinion, the theme to positive child development lies in providing experiences with loved ones (including pets) which foster critical thinking, socialization, encouragement and creativity.

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