Can Pets Help You Beat Addiction?

Published On: May 25, 2018

In this article, we shall look at some of the reasons why having a pet may help your children develop the qualities that could also serve to prevent them from abusing drugs and alcohol. These reasons are all linked to personal qualities that are developed when a child is responsible for a pet.

Below, we explore each of these personal qualities that are developed when your children are responsible for an animal:

#1. Responsibility

We include responsibility in the top position because this is perhaps the most obvious personal quality that's developed by virtue of owning a pet. Responsibility is particularly developed when the child ‘owns’ the pet him or herself. When your child owns his or her pet, this ownership will undoubtedly be linked to certain duties. If these duties are not met, the welfare of the pet will suffer. Thus, these responsibilities are very real with very real consequences if they are not met.

This teaches children that duties must be performed and that there are negative consequences if the ‘right thing’ isn’t done. Children who are put in charge of a pet will soon begin to realise that ‘doing the right’ thing must be done even if this gets in the way of other activities such as playing video games, watching movies or playing out with friends.

#2. Self-esteem

Another trait that’s developed by owning a pet is positive self-esteem. When a child successfully completes his or her chores relating to pet ownership, it will help the child to develop a sense of self-belief and self-confidence. This will help your child develop his or her independence, which will, in turn, make your child less vulnerable to peer pressure.

#3. Nurturing abilities

This quality that develops thanks to pet ownership is perhaps as obvious as responsibility described above. When your child cares for a pet, his or her nurturing qualities will be developed. This important quality will assist your child in many areas of his or her life and also prevent your child from mixing with the wrong type of people who are likely to encourage substance misuse.

#4. Bring the entire family closer together

When family members are distant from one another, substance misuse is much more likely to occur. Many people who develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol come from a broken home. Pet ownership helps to bring the family closer together, both in terms of children and their parents and children and their siblings.

Pet ownership gives rise to responsibilities that are best tackled as a family unit rather than individually. Family members must work together and carve up responsibilities fairly and equally. These duties must also be performed according to a pre-agreed schedule to ensure the pet’s needs are fully met.

#5. Processing of emotions

Your child’s teenage years are never going to be without their fair share of drama. If you think back to your own teenage years, you may remember that began to experience adult emotions that were entirely unfamiliar to you. One way some teens choose to process these emotions is by abusing substances.

Again, pet ownership helps because it allows teens to develop the ability to process negative emotions in healthier ways. Why? Because a pet is often seen as a friend who allows teen’s a non-judgemental eye to listen to their worries. This valuable emotional outlet offered by pet ownership may help to prevent teens from seeking other outlets that arguably serve this purpose such as abusing drugs and alcohol.

In conclusion, pet ownership is a sure way to help your child develop many of the qualities that will make him or her less vulnerable to drug and alcohol addiction. Pet ownership also helps bring your family closer together in ways you may not have thought possible.

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