We like to think that being caring and kind comes naturally to us, but in reality it’s a skill we learn particularly as children.
It’s natural to put ourselves first before others, it’s the instinct that leads to the behaviours we associate with the ‘terrible two’s’ in toddlers before we have learnt to be less self-centred.
If kindness and being caring is a skill we need to learn as children, we need to consider adopted children as their early life experience may not have given them as many kind and caring role models from which to learn, naturally by example.
Pets can help to give all children real hands on experience of how to put another’s needs first, which can be especially helpful to an adopted child.
By giving children small jobs to do in the care of a pet can help them to learn responsibility.
Feeding, giving water, helping to brush and the importance or regular walks and routines all help children to understand what it means to care for another, helping children see directly the impact this has on a pet such as the happy wagging tail of a dog a feeding time, teaching a child how good it can feel to be kind.
If a child has been treated unkindly themselves in their past, their role models have taught them to be unkind and as such supervision is always needed with children and animals.
For all the benefits pets may provide, there are things to consider when adopting a child when you have pets or our considering a pet post adoption.