Human bonding is the process of development of a close, interpersonal relationship between human and human, or human and animal. Bonding is mutual, interactive and very much different from simply liking someone.
Children tend to go through a stage in their young lives where they desperately want a pet. They nag and ask and cry and might even throw tantrums. It is important to know the difference between when this is merely a cry for attention, or if the child is really looking for a bond that his or her parents cannot give them.
Whether they want a goldfish, a guinea pig, a cat, or a horse, children enjoy the companionship and friendship offered by animals. And, a pet really is not as bad idea as you might think. Not only do they offer companionship and friendship, they actually help a child’s emotional, physical, cognitive and social development. So, if a child is begging for a puppy, parents should seriously consider it.
The benefits of having a pet
1. Physical development
Children are extremely active. Pets are extremely active. Pets will ensure that children get a good amount of physical activity, without parents having to worry about running around after them or keeping them busy. What’s more, young children’s motor skills can be developed by allowing them to pour water and food into the pet’s bowls and by helping groom them.
2. Social development
Pets can be wonderful social facilitators especially to children. They are much more prone to approach and interact with another child who is also playing with a pet than they are to approach a lone child at a park or playground. The pet itself can also be a social object for the child because of the nature of their relationship. Children believe pets are their friends. They will literally do everything with them – even talk to them on accession. A pet can give the child enough confidence to be socially active.
3. Emotional development
Emotional development can be difficult for some children – much more difficult for some than for others. Pets can drastically improve a child’s self-esteem and sense of responsibility. Also, when the child is feeling sad, the only one they will feel is there that they are not angry at is their pet. And so, pets improve a child’s ability to deal with sadness and sometimes even anger.
4. Pet therapy
Pets are comforters. As mentioned above, children will much rather share secrets, talk to or be sad with pets than anyone else, if, of course, the pet is his or her best friend. The relationship between a child and a pet is non-judgmental; a hurting, sad or angry child will definitely be more willing to trust a pet than a person, especially if it is a person that is causing the child’s “problem”. Other than the above-mentioned benefits in child development, pets also improve the following:
– Empathy skills
– Coping Skills
– Stress Management
Caring for a pet provides children with the opportunity to appreciate nature and increase their interest in wildlife and nature. Once the commitment has been made, the joys and benefits of a pet relationship will last for many years. A pet-child relationship really is a win-win relationship. A pet offers many benefits for a child’s development and life experiences, but the child in turn also rewards the pet by caring for and loving them, and giving them a great home. Pets are also brilliant stress relievers.
If a parent is not ready to make a commitment and take the responsibility of keeping a pet, or because of external influences, there is a really wide variety of pets to choose from: even ones suitably for apartment living.
Caring for a pet is not an instinct. Children need to be taught how to take care of pets by looking at their parents. And even though a child is still a child, a sense of responsibility, no matter how small, will ultimately help them develop better. However, it still remains the parent’s full responsibility to keep the pet health and well looked after. This is important to keep in mind, as animal shelters are sadly far too full of pets whose owners did not think their future through.
Ultimately, children who help care for pets receive a sense of accomplishment well beyond the immediate reward of simply loving a pet.