The Power of Pet Relationships


A strange question I admit. Surely you love your sibling more, right? A recent study has shown that young children tend to have a closer relationship with their pets than with their siblings. The study does go into great detail and unsurprisingly it is talking mostly about dogs as no one can ever be truly close with a cat. 

The study was conducted based on a large sample size of data called the Toddlers Up Project. The data was based on 88 families over a ten year period with the findings on pets based on the time the children were 12 years old. 

The study showed that children who had grown up in difficult conditions (death, divorce, instability or illness in the family) were more likely to have a stronger relationship with their pets than their siblings. The study also showed that children with pets had a greater level of prosocial behavior meaning they were better at helping others, cooperating with others and sharing with others. 

The study highlighted that these children were more likely to confide in their pets than their siblings. The result was highest among young girls with dogs. Psychologists believe that children feel pets are good listeners, even though they can’t understand. The pet acts as a way for a child to talk through their emotional issues without the fear of being mocked or abused by a sibling or peer. 

While the findings are surprising it also makes a lot of sense. Children (and adults) form an incredibly strong bond with their pets over a lifetime and previous studies have shown that losing a pet is the same emotionally is losing a family member. 

The study shows the importance of having someone to talk to and let your emotions out to, whether it is a sibling, a pet or even a journal, although pet appeared to rank the highest. While everyone will go through adversity in their lives it is important to never suffer in silence or suffer alone. Help is never far away and as the saying goes a problem shared is a problem halved. 

The next time you are feeling blue, have a chat with your pet and maybe the problems that were weighing so heavily on you before won’t seem so tough after all. Whatever you decide to do always seek help when you need it.