One of the first lessons children should learn when they’re old enough to understand is to treat pets and animals in general with kindness and respect. This should go without saying, but many people assume they wouldn’t need to because who would harm an animal in the first place? While most kids, when they’re very little, don’t do it intentionally, small children need to be told there are limits to the strength or force they use when interacting with animals. That’s because they haven’t necessarily learned how to be gentle yet. Finesse means nothing to them at an extremely young age, and you don’t want them to harm the animal they’re trying to pet, especially if it’s a juvenile itself.
Don’t Know Your Own Strength
The flip side is that they could end up hurt themselves, and that’s no good, either. Start early and remind them to softly pet the kitty or doggy they are yearning to touch or hold. Although it would seem like common sense, use words like “be gentle” or “don’t be too rough” when instructing them, and be sure to remain in the room and monitor the situation until both are old enough to be trusted on their own. Again, you don’t want either to be injured when simple affection was their only goal.
As they get older, it’s not enough to teach them to just be gentle. The lesson goes a long way toward forming a healthy relationship with furry, feathered, and scaly creatures, but there’s more. Explaining to children that respecting an animal as a living, breathing being with feelings and emotions of its own is also vital. As kids age and learn about respect and what it means, they should be made aware that it applies to not just people but animals as well. Another point that everyone needs to learn is that for every action, there is a reaction. Whether it means that if you hurt an animal, it could retaliate and harm you in return or that if you hurt an animal, there is a price to pay in society.
As your child grows, if it comes to your attention that they’ve been mean or inflicting harm on any creature, it is suggested that you seek professional help via counseling as soon as possible. Kids who display this type of behavior are often troubled and are exhibiting signs that could point to further anti-social acts in the future. They could also be acting out because something devastating is going on in their lives you haven’t been made aware of yet. Don’t ignore it, because it’s not typical for humans to want to inflict pain for their own pleasure. Instead, consult with your pediatrician to learn more.