How do I know when my child is mature and responsible enough to have a pet to care for on his own?
Last Updated: 01/19/2021 at 7:16am
Paola Giordani, Psychoanalyst
I have helped and am helping people cope with loss, divorce, anguish and parenting. Depression is also a major issue that comes up.
Top Rated Answers
I would say that if your child is responsible enough to take care of himself, i.e., brush teeth take a bath, feed themselves etc, that is sufficient. You will still have to remind them and be sure it gets done, but taking care of a pet is a great teaching moment for responsibility.
you wont know it till you give him a chance.....buy him a pet even if hes not mature he would be taking a step to be mature.... :)
Pets are great for childhood development at any age. As a parent, assume they cannot manage the responsibility alone. Plan to take care of the pet with them and you can be pleasantly surprised if they don't need your help.
The fact is there is no specific answer. Try starting with a small pet like a goldfish or something that is easy and low maintence or even by allowing them some small responsiblity with a family pet. Then work your way up to their own pet as you see them succeding along the way!
Observe their care of their possessions and how they handle their chores. If they handle these with care, they will likely also handle the pet in the same manner.
When they can take direction from you and complete the task on a regular basis. Taking responsibility for other things around the house is a good indication they maybe able to care for a pet.
Bring him/her to a zoo and that should act as an examination to test whether or not he/she will have a pet to care on his/her own.
You know there child best and you can always help if needed. Can they tidy their room regularly, make their own breakfast or snack? Give them small responsibilities such as doing dishes or taking out trash? Teach them the importance of tasks and reward them with praise encouragement and their own pet :)
I would honestly start out with a plant, then a fish, then a small bird. If you have a family pet for the whole family, try assigning tasks for the child to regularly feed, water, walk or otherwise care for and clean up after that pet first. I know so many pets that were given away because a parent or grandparent gave the child a pet with the best of intentions, but the child quickly loses interest because other things compete for time and attention.
How does your child handle his other responsibilities around the house? If he does his chores with relatively little protesting, and is able to manage his schoolwork successfully, then perhaps he is ready for the responsibility of a pet.
This question made me smile! Well, in order to know if your child is going to be responsible to take care of a pet, you could tell him/her to pass a “testing period”. The child could either take care of a fake baby -there are babies for new parents who cry when they want to eat, poop, sleep- or be responsible of anything similar. It may sounds silly but it would be really helpful. Of course a dog doesn’t have so many needs as a baby, however both you and your child could see how ready is the child to take such a responsibility. Good luck ;)
Having a pet is a big deal for a family. It's important to know that the pet will be well taken care of, especially when you're not around. As someone who owns 10 pets in total, a really important factor in making this decision is cleanliness. Pets have to have a clean environment (places to sleep, litter boxes, etc.) Grades can also be a useful thing to look at, as it can show commitment. Does your child do things even when they don't want to? Sometimes a dog needs to go out or a cat needs to be fed, even though your child may not feel like doing it.
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