We have written a fair bit about challenges between pets and children but we came to realize the problem typically don’t lie in the children, it’s with the parents! So today, we will like to take the opportunity to share our experience and we hope every parent can learn a little more before acquiring a pet.
1. ‘I want to educate my child!’
While it sounds like a brilliant idea, this ‘learning’ experience is more than just a lesson. It is a routine, mundane repetition of cleaning, feeding, and more cleaning. Unless the parents are enthusiastic about this, it is unlikely a child will sustain their interest in the long run.
2. ‘I love animals, my child will too!’
While we agree some interest are inherited, passion for animals have to be nurtured over time. Parents have to be good role models and confident in handling the ups and downs of pet ownership before inculcating the same values in their children.
3. ‘I want to teach my child about responsibility.’
Unless your child is mature enough to be responsible in caring for themselves, we think it’s far fetch to assume they can take care of someone else. So let’s start with the simple chores like doing the dishes, making their bed and cleaning up after themselves before you decide they are ready to do the same for others.
4. ‘Pets are completely safe and harmless.’
That’s not true even with our mildest, gentlest rabbits. They have itchy teeth that can nip and scar. They also shed year round which can cause allergies in young children. Acquiring a pet when you are uncertain of such risks may end up being the most dangerous thing a parent can do to their child.
Let’s be honest, when it comes to deciding between a pet and their child, there is no question the pet will go. It’s frustrating as animal rescuer for us to see good parents making bad decisions. Acquiring a pet is especially important for an impressionable child and it can have a significant impact to how they treat animals in the future. We hope that all parents can make the best decision to instill the right values in their children.