Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Raising Kids with Pets

A week or so ago, I was reading a magazine that gave me ammunition to act all smug and self-righteous for a little while. It was an article that discussed how socially advanced children are when they grow up with pets, specifically dogs, compared to kids who don't grow up with pets. The key social issue that is learned is apparently empathy, although there were other benefits mentioned as well. I'm sure I discussed this further with some other dog-people I know, and together we praised ourselves for this fabulous thing we are doing for our kids. There is just one problem. My daughter is an absolute terror towards my dogs. Empathy? Certainly not yet. She steps on them. She jumps on them. She shrieks at them. She pulls toys out of their mouths. She teases them with food. She practically decapitates them with doors. I can't believe they tolerate all this. It's constant too. Yelling at her won't stop it. She just laughs at me. Holding her down only works for as long as she is held down. I have no idea how to stop her except by distraction. It is now my all-day battle, as it is too dangerous to not keep on top of her for this. The dogs have been good so far, but I'm sure they have their breaking points. Maybe the empathy comes later. For now, having dogs and a toddler at the same time is starting to wear me down. I don't think I get to be smug for a good, long time.


Nora Bee said...

I feel the same smugness because I have cats and my baby will have an iron immune system and no asthma. I have also heard that pets are good for kids to learn about death, which I find horrifying (and completely irrelevant to me because my cats are going to live FOREVER).

painted maypole said...

i do think it comes a little later in life. my husband always says he learned about unconditional love not from any person, but from his dog growing up.

babies in home with animals also develop less allergies, or so I've read.

b*babbler said...

Ah yes. Peanut has already started this. She loves stealing the dog's toy, and thinks it's hilarious to drag herself to standing by hauling herself by the dog's ears. Poor puppy.