'Moms Talk' Q & A: When Are Children Ready to Have Pets?
As parents know, pets bring responsibilities
Each week the council will answer a question on parenthood posed to them by readers or another member of council.
This week, Moms Council members discuss when children are ready to have pets. Joining the talk this week is new Moms Council member Diane Snider of Mayfield Heights.
First off, though, I thought I'd share some insight from a person who never had a pet until adulthood. My mom has never liked animals and all the begging in the world never brought a dog or rabbit into the house – just one hamster for a short time, until it bit one of my older sisters. I think that sealed the deal on ever having another pet.
As I kid I didn't feel so much that I missed out, but as an adult I can see how children can learn a lot from having a pet. And it was quite an adjustment marrying someone who wanted pets. It's not just about responsibility, pets – especially dogs, because owners connect with each other on walks – also have a social component and having them helps in relationships with humans as well.
Now, on to the real experts.
Kim Zannetti: I always just went with my gut. When they show that they are able to handle basic tasks, and they are able to handle that basic care a pet requires, I thought they were ready. The sensitive, animal lover child gets so much from having their pet to love.
Diane Snider: I feel pets are like kids so therefore children have to be responsible and understand what it takes to care for a pet. If you have children that are very active and busy, people tend to not have the time to spend with their pet. I do feel that it is a great for children to grow with their pets but at the same time I think it is hard for kids to be consistent and responsible for their pets. I am thinking an average age may be 9-12.