Children prefer to spend time with pets rather than their own siblings, a new study shows. Researchers show kids prefer pets, especially dogs, and owning a pet causes the least amount of conflict in the family.
The research suggests that if your kids won't stop fighting, it may be time to consider getting a pet, Daily Mail Online said. Owning a pet also has a positive impact on your child's social skills and emotional well-being. The research was conducted in collaboration with the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in Leicestershire - a research center owned by Mars Petcare. Mars Petcare is the company behind brands for dog and cat food, like Pedigree and Dreamies.
Study Participants Reported Strong Relationship With Their Pets Relative To Their Siblings
Lead researcher Dr. Matthew Cassels from the Cambridge University said that anyone who has loved a pet during childhood knows that "we turn to them for companionship and disclosure," similar to relationships with people." Cassels said that his team wanted to know how strong these relationships are with pets relative to close family ties.
According to Yahoo! News, the research team surveyed 12-year-old kids from over 70 families with one or more pets of any type, and with more than one child at home. These kids reported strong relationship with their pets relative to their siblings, and lower levels of conflict with greater satisfaction in dog owners compared to any other kinds of pets.
The Reason Could Be that Pets Are Not Judgemental
"Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than siblings," Cassels said. He added that the fact the pets cannot understand or talk back could even benefit because it means that they are completely non-judgemental. Also, pets will not disagree and will never share a secret.
The researchers also found that boys and girls are equally satisfied with their pets, but girls reported more disclosure, companionship, and conflict with their pet than did boys - which indicate that girls may interact with their pets in more nuanced ways.