A child’s best friend is their pet.
A study’s found children get more satisfaction from relationships with their pets than with their brothers or sisters.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge surveyed 12 year old kids from 77 families. All the families had one or more pets and more than one child at home.
Children reported stronger relationships with their pets compared to their siblings, with lower levels of conflict.
And kids who had dogs reported greater relationship satisfaction than owners of other kinds of pets.
The study’s lead researcher, Matt Cassells said:
”Anyone who has loved a childhood pet knows that we turn to them for companionship and disclosure, just like relationships between people.”
“We wanted to know how strong these relationships are with pets relative to other close family ties. Ultimately this may enable us to understand how animals contribute to healthy child development.”
”Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than to siblings.”
“The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as it means they are completely non-judgemental.”
The study joins a growing body of evidence that suggests household pets have a positive impact on a child’s social skills and emotional well-being.