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Man’s Best Friend–and Confidante

4 Jun

We all know that pets provide companionship and unconditional love. But, did you know they can be ideal confidantes, too?

A recent article in the Deseret News cited a U.K. study showing that children facing a crisis at home are more likely to speak to their pets about it instead of with their siblings or peers.

Matt Cassels was the researcher behind the study, and he looked at data from a 10-year study in the U.K. on the social and emotional development of children in 100 different families, which included a section on children’s relationships with their pets.download (3)

He found there is a therapeutic side to this relationship, as pets play the role of the listener and are more “empathetic” for children than writing problems into a diary.

“These children not only turn to their pets for support when faced with adversity, they do so even more than they turn to their siblings,” Cassels said. “This is even though they know their pets don’t actually understand what they are saying.”

And, children facing bereavement, divorce, instability and illness or those who came from disadvantaged backgrounds seemed more likely to have a stronger relationship with their pets than their peers.

The study also found that children in the U.S. are more likely to live with a pet than with their father due to family break-ups, which could be another reason some children are more comfortable confiding in their pets.

Whether it’s the unconditional love children feel from their pets–or the fact the animals can’t interrupt or judge–it’s clear children and pets are connecting in a therapeutic way. And, it’s encouraging to know that connection is there when it’s needed most.

Britt

 

 

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