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kheredia's avatar

Do you think having a pet is an important part of a childs life?

Asked by kheredia (5558points) May 31st, 2009

I grew up with dogs and cats and I think that helped me learn about loving and loosing someone important in my life. I have a friend who’s husband does not want a pet for his kids. What do you guys think about this?

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31 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It’s definitely a good idea but you can also expose your kids to pets at friends’ houses and pet stores and zoos and on the street – basically I’m saying that you don’t HAVE to have animals of your own but it’d be good…I try hard to expose my kids to animals, we have 3 cats and 2 dogs and used to have a little snake

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Kids will live either way. If they don’t learn the lesson they would have from a pet they will learn it elsewhere.

As a parent, my kids will definitely have one. A pet adds a positive element to a family that no human could.. as long as we’re not talking about a lame pet like a goldfish or something.

Ivan's avatar

It was an important part of mine.

And I really don’t want to think of what “loosing” someone means.

chyna's avatar

Yes, we had dogs, a turtle that lived under my bed (til mom found it), a snake, a baby alligator (til mom found that), a rabbit and various kittens I always had to take back because I was allergic. I am glad to have grown up with animals.

kheredia's avatar

@Ivan what I mean with that is this. I had a dog for 16 years. I grew up with him and he gave me a friendship that will never be duplicated. When I lost him, I was still very young and it was a very difficult time in my life, but I learned that I should appreciate every moment I have with those I love because they wont be there forever. Till this day, this dog taught me one of the most important lessons in my life.

Ivan's avatar

@kheredia

I was just messing with you; I think you meant “losing,” not “loosing.”

I’ve lost three dogs in my lifetime, and the one I have now is getting old. She’s the one I’ve been closest to; I can’t imagine what is going to happen when she dies.

flameboi's avatar

kids learn about death with a pet, i guess it is important, I didn’t have one I wish I had

MissAusten's avatar

I grew up with almost every kind of pet a kid could have. Dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, parrots, lizards, rabbits—we even had a raccoon for a while. I remember a time when we had 3 dogs, 15 cats, three parrots, two hamsters, and a guinea pig. Cleaning up after all those animals was a nightmare. I love animals, but now that I’m a parent myself, I have a “one pet at a time” rule. So now we have a rabbit. I figure we’re good for 7–8 years, then maybe we’ll think about a puppy.

Anyway, we learned about responsiblity a little bit, but when a kid has a pet it usually means Mom and Dad have something else to take care of around the house. I remember being absolutely heartbroken when my first hamster died, and when I lost my first dog I cried off and on for days. I certainly learned to appreciate animals, care for them, clean up after them, and deal with the grief of losing them.

An added bonus to having pets as a kid is that there’s evidence that early exposure to animals decreases the child’s possibility of developing allergies or asthma later in life. However, if those conditions don’t run in your family you probably don’t have to worry about it.

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hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I hear the learning about life and death and learning to care for a living thing/responsibility all the time but mostly what I’ve seen is parents stuck with the responsibilities for the pets. So many things go wrong with pets and then they usually die before the kids grow up leaving them traumatized to write David Sedaris types of stories later on.

veronasgirl's avatar

I think having a pet is very important in a child’s life. A pet not only offers them companionship, but introduces them to responsibility (you have to feed it, water it, walk it, etc.) A pet is not only good for the child, it is good for the entire family. It can bring everyone closer, I know it has done that for my own family.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

I think it was a great idea; I’ve grown up with cats and I currently have 3 cats. It taught me about loving something, caring for something, responsibility (though not as much as dog—thank God) and I think it can only help a child. It’s not that people who don’t have pets are doing something wrong, but having a pet can add more to a child’s life.

Kenyan's avatar

Well ova the years i have had a igauana, a few geckos, alot of horses, sum turtles, dogs, kittens, and sum exotic fish. I loved my pets and im sure they will make a positive addition in your home

crisw's avatar

Pets are not important just because of lessons in living and dying- this is simply using the animals as a means to an end. An even greater importance, to me, is that pets let children learn that animals are feeling, sentient beings deserving of respect. In addition, animals have their own worlds and their own “languages.” This is not a lesson that is easily learned without day to day contact with animals.

Consider dogs, for example. It takes day to day life with a dog (and actually paying attention to the dog, not just having one as a household ornament) to learn their expressions and intentions. I’ve heard it said that due to the ubiquitous nature of television, today’s children know less about the behavior of dogs than of tigers or dolphins.

Animals are also friends- vital friends for many children who may otherwise have no one in their lives that loves them or connects with them in the way that a pet can do.

A life without pets is sterile and restrictive. Without contact with animals, we can never truly appreciate them for the sentient beings that they are.

cyn's avatar

actually it is proven that most kids that have a pet grow up to be smart! :)

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I had pets all during my childhood & so did our girls. Besides the obvious reasons that they’re good for kids, they also teach responsibility.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

When we were kids, we learned about all the important things, like where babies come from, the birthing process, death, and most of all, love and friendship because of our pets.

of course, having mostly male dogs when I was a kid probably explains why I feel the need to lift one leg when urinating on a tree.

asmonet's avatar

I wouldn’t have made it to sixteen at least not in a functional way if I did not have my dog growing up. She was my counselor, my friend, my sibling, my everything. I was on my own sometimes by choice, sometimes not for a good portion of my childhood. I had her. When she dies, I will be heartbroken. She’s taught me a lot in her 14 years with me. And I love her to pieces.

Even if you set aside the lessons you can learn from a pet, the emotional stability and friendship is something amazing all on its own.

chyna's avatar

@asmonet I know exactly what you are saying.

curioscamel's avatar

Yes, pets are a great way for children learning, it will teach them to be responsible.

crisw's avatar

@curioscamel
Not to particularly pick on you as several in this thread have expressed similar sentiments, but pets do not necessarily teach children to be responsible- and they should never be gotten if that’s the primary reason for getting them.

All too often, parents buy a rabbit, a puppy, or a kitten when they don’t particularly want the animal around, expecting that the kids will take care of it. When they don’t, the poor animal gets dumped at the pound. And what lessons do the kids learn from that? That animals are disposable playthings to be acquired and discarded as mere whims.

Pets are part of the family. If you aren’t prepared to treat them as such, please don’t get one.

loser's avatar

VERY important part of my childhood but I don’t know that I would have turned out any worse without them.

cak's avatar

I think that pets are good good part of a childhood; however, do I think they are essential, no. Not all children are cut out for pets. Not all have the patience or attention span to deal with pets.

I was raised with dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish and at one time – a bird. (the bird didn’t last long…poor bird!) My children have pets, but I made that decision based on whether or not they proved responsible enough to have a pet.

@crisw was completely correct in saying that there are time when pets are purchased, they don’t work out and the parents “dump” the pets at the pound. I’ve seen this, a lot – I worked at a rescue and I foster animals. It happens too often and the only one that suffers is the pet.

If the husband has something against getting a pet, it shouldn’t be pushed – maybe he will come around, maybe not; however, his resistance to a pet is enough of a reason to not get a pet.

Darwin's avatar

I am glad we had pets when I was a child. Even though the inevitable loss when they died (always too soon) was tough, I really enjoyed their presence. As an adult I love having dogs and cats around. They are fascinating and different personalities who show me that love and communication are not limited to my own species.

I believe that my children have developed empathy for other living creatures and have experienced the pleasure of their company. They have seen first hand what it takes to care for a pet so they have that knowledge base. They probably also will adopt a one pet at a time rule because I have a tendency to rescue just one more desperate animal and so end up with a houseful.

I don’t know that it is necessary for my children to have grown up with pets, but I do like what they have learned from our pets. I also think that childhood is a time to experience a lot of things just so you know what you like and what you don’t when you grow up.

I must say that if a parent does not want a pet then it would not be a good idea to have a pet. Ultimately, the parents take care of both pets and children and if they are forced into taking on the care of a pet, they may begin to resent the pet, and possibly the children to a slight degree.

A family is a committee and needs to make decisions that accommodates the needs of every member, but not necessarily the desires of all.

Likeradar's avatar

@cyndihugs Where/when/how was this proven?

YARNLADY's avatar

I grew up with pets and have had pets most of my life. I believe that if the entire family is good with having a pet, then it is a great idea. If any family members don’t like animals, they should not have a pet.

Judi's avatar

If the parents don’t want them they’re not good for kids. They will become a sourse of friction in a family instead of joy. If the parents embrace them they can be wonderful.

YARNLADY's avatar

@cyndihugs I’ll second that

RedPowerLady's avatar

I am one of those who didn’t get to have pets growing up. I definitely felt like I was missing out as a child. And as an adult we now have a dog and it was more of a challenge to us than to most people because we were “starting from scratch” so to speak. I really believe that having a pet is beneficial for several reasons, especially during childhood. It may be one of those things that “you don’t miss it unless it’s gone”. or rather “you don’t know how great it is unless you didn’t have it” (another good example: traveling as a child).

casheroo's avatar

I think it’s extremely important.
They help a child learn love, and compassion. They help them learn responsibility, to care for another being.
I grew up with a famiyl dog and cats, and various other small animals (hamsters, lizards, rabbits)
My husband are going to wait until we’re finished having children to even think of adopting a dog. We already have two cats, pre-child. The dog will be given to our oldest, when he is old enough to help out. We’re thinking around 6 or 7 years old.

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