Most every child wants a pet, but does every child really understand the responsibility that comes with pet ownership? Animals can bring great joy into the life of people of all ages, and children are especially drawn to them. However, many parents find that their children soon lose interest in a pet or cannot keep up with the responsibility of ownership; thus, they end up doing all of the work.
However, pet ownership can be an excellent way to teach children responsibility in different aspects of life:
Pets require care on a daily basis. This helps to teach children that there are things that must be done everyday and mom and dad cannot be relied upon to do them. Ideally, children will recognize that this extends to aspects of their own personal care, such as showering and brushing teeth.
Kids will also come to realize that care is something that does not have set hours. It is a person’s responsibility to look after their animal whenever it needs attention. Life often does not work on a set schedule and it helps for kids to discover that early on.
Children can be remarkably cruel towards one another because they do not understand the ramifications of the pain they are causing. Looking after a pet can provide a direct lesson; if a child is mean towards a pet, they will see first hand the damage that does. This will help them to better consider their actions in future when dealing with both animals and people.
Having a pet die can help to teach children about death and how it can affect a person’s life. This is good preparation for when family members or friends pass away.
Very few children are patient. Working with a pet, particularly one that requires training, such as a dog, can teach children the importance of patience and delayed gratification.