Can a Pet Help in Strengthening Family Bonds?
Coming home to a wagging tail and lots of kisses ought to be the perfect welcome after a long day. For eons, dogs have been known to be man’s best friend. Cats, with their playful tendencies, leave us with a sense of comfort, ease and of course a mouse-free house. Birds are known to be social creatures and in some cases are as loving as another cat or dog. They can be trained and are also known to possess the reasoning capabilities of a seven-year-old human.
Overall, one could assume that pets are highly intelligent and they provide a sense of companionship, love and a sense of belonging.
Here are some of the ways in which pets improve the home environment.
Pets provide emotional support
With the rising tide of divorce rates and spouses living separately, the companionship and warmth that a dog provides may help glue the family together.
A pet lightens the mood at home, especially when dealing with a family crisis such as the loss of a job, death of a loved one or simply when dealing with the daily hassles life presents.
These challenges can cause havoc in the life of an individual member of the family. Pets can prove to be a source of support and provide moral strength.
Experts suggest pet therapy and believe that pets can help improve depression and stress. Furthermore, they provide that degree of unconditional love.
A pet is another member of the family
Raising a pet is like raising a child that never seems to grow up. It takes a lifetime of commitment and requires time and resources. Celebrating birthdays, being a family affair, now includes celebrating their pets birthdays too.
A pet becomes and is treated as another family member.
Be it a family vacation, a visit to a beach or a long drive, families tend to take their dogs along with them. Various restaurants are pet-friendly for that matter if you do have a pet.
Pets are a source of entertainment
Beyond creating special memories, a pet seems to add in that extra element of joy during the holidays. Having a little fur baby around can also be incredibly entertaining.
Especially if the kids in the family share a special bond with the pet, their added antics bring about a sense of playfulness.
They can also keep kids occupied while the older members of the family are preoccupied with important work.
Improved communication within the family
The internet era has led to an increase in the overall screen time that families are exposed to. Talking about one’s pet can help strengthen communicational ties between family members.
Sharing common experiences shared with their pet can also help knit the family closer together.
These topics of conversation may even pave the way toward other topics of discussion.
Pets mitigate arguments
In the unfortunate event of a family fight, pets are known to calm the ambiance.
They may sometimes even be seen as a source of distraction. Having a pet sit by you or jump on you during an argument might lead to a shift in the conversation and might even lighten the mood.
Reminiscing through shared experiences and memories becomes a great topic of conversation within the family. Pets are intelligent and take up their own space in the family dynamic.
Pets can have their own mood swings as well. They also pick up and sense emotions from the humans they are surrounded by. Their unique personalities shine through and this gives the family a lot to talk about. Talking about a dog with the family can help improve one’s mood.
They seem to fill our emotional needs and provide us with a sense of companionship.
Time to connect
Shared responsibilities that tag along with having a pet can instill a sense of responsibility in family members.
For example, taking a dog for a walk together, not only improves the overall health of the individual but gives members of the family time to connect and share their daily experiences.
Playing with a pet can help alleviate stress and create a playful environment within the family. A study by the University of Virginia suggested that the sense of touch can help alleviate stress.
Interacting with a pet activates this sense of touch which can boost the hormone called oxytocin which is also known as ‘the happy hormone’.
Scientifically, therefore, having a pet can boost the overall level of happiness that is experienced by families.
Stronger bonds within the family
Finally, a study suggested that children who share a strong bond with their pet somehow maintain stronger bonds with other family members and friends throughout life. They portrayed a stronger attachment style whilst bonding with others. An Austrian study even found that having a pet cat is equivalent to having a romantic partner.
In conclusion, having a pet isn’t easy. It takes a long term commitment and requires adequate financial resources for meals, vet visits etc. However, considering the ways in which they can add to your life, I reckon it’s worth the bargain.
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