Yeah, I know. You don’t want a puppy running around chewing up your shoes and digging holes in the front yard. But the benefits of having a pet will far outweigh a few chewed shoes. A dog, or any other pet, will be especially beneficial for your troubled kid.
Pets can help reduce stress and blood pressure. Heart attack victims who had pets lived longer than their counterparts. And contrary to popular belief, pets have been proven to lessen children’s risk for developing allergies or asthma. Best of all, dogs can help you lose weight and stay active. Dog walkers exercise more frequently than someone with a regular human companion does. Dogs don’t make excuses not to go on walks–they’ll drag you out the door to go on a walk.
– Animals encourage children, and even adults, to open up.
Animal-assisted therapy didn’t come into common use until the 1960′s, when Dr. Levinson, a child psychiatrist, was having particular trouble with a disturbed, nonverbal youngster. When the kid saw Dr. Levinson’s dog, he finally opened up and they were able to carry on with therapy.
Since then, animals have continued to assist in therapy by helping individuals to become more relaxed. They provide an avenue to begin communication between the therapist and the client. In schools, class pets are therapeutic. If children are responsible for a class hamster, they learn social skills and develop better self-control.
– Having pets allows rehabilitation to continue.
For troubled teenagers, animals are particularly beneficial. Parents usually send their children to insitutions that offer specialized programs that are generally quite effective. Still, having a pet can help continue the therapy. Troubled teens often have trust issues, and an animal’s unconditional acceptance and love are exactly what they need. Taking responsibility for an animal, such as a horse, helps kids to learn responsibility and social skills. Also, animals don’t respond well to negativity or bad behavior. This way, the troubled youngster learns that his behavior affects others, both animal and human. He will slowly learn that constructive encouragement is the only way to get positive results from his animal companion. He can then apply these principles to human interactions.
– Animals do not judge; they readily offer love, acceptance and sympathy.
Animals are nonjudgmental listeners, so children with trust issues are able to open up without fear of rejection. Perhaps this is because interactions with animals produce the hormone oxytocin, which creates a “happy and trusting” feeling. Eventually, children are able to verbalize their feelings to more than just their trusty animals.
Really, Buy Your Kid a Dog
In the home setting, getting your troubled child a dog could help him not only learn responsibility, but it will also aid him in developing social skills. The unconditional love of a dog may help your kid become more emotionally stable by reducing his stress and anxiety. A dog will give him someone who will listen to his problems without judgment and give him constant companionship. His dog will be a friend who doesn’t care about peer groups and will love your child unconditionally. So, seriously, get your kid a dog.