A recent study in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology indicates that children may get more satisfaction out of a relationship with a pet than a sibling. This study of the human/ animal bond was published this January, and surveyed 77 12-year-olds.
Researchers found that overall, the children preferred the relationship with their pet, receiving more satisfaction and less instances of conflict. Though, pets cannot replace the role siblings fill in a child’s life.
Why do they feel they have a better relationship with their animal companion? (insert whatever joke you may have about your own sibling here).
In an interview with Parents.com, Dr. Gail Melson found that children tend to go to their pets for comfort and encourage nurturing. The January Study found that girls in particular tend to confide in their pets. While siblings can be helpful in emotional situations, pets won’t talk back or state an opinion. They just listen.
Dr. Melson has also found that pets can bring families together. Walking the dog, playing in the yard, or just watching pets can bring family together.
It’s important to know this study is not anti-sibling at all, but it adds to the still-growing research that scientifically examines the relationship we have with our pets as we’re developing.
People talk about their “fur-babies,” why not “fur-siblings?”