Family Pets & Teaching Children About Responsibility

family pet

If you don’t already have a family pet, your child has most likely expressed interest in having one. While an animal companion can be a perfect addition to any family, you must make sure the timing is right. Additionally, many parents allow a child to select a pet, with hopes of teaching responsibility, yet it’s still important to add a pet to your home only if you have the time and resources.

When is it the Right Time to Introduce a Pet?


Although the look on your child’s face, when he or she sees a cat or dog, may be priceless, you shouldn’t base a major family decision on “wants” alone. If you are a busy family, like many families, and aren’t home for the majority of the day, you should be careful about the type of animal you choose. While many families have a desire for dogs and cats, they need more attention throughout the day than animals like goldfish or hamsters.


While it’s not fair to call any animal a “starter” pet, there are some animals that may be easier to care for and are more suitable for younger children. Although some experts argue that no child, under the age of five, should be responsible for a pet, others agree that small animals like goldfish are perfect animal companions to start teaching responsibility.


If you already have dogs or cats in your home, it’s never too early to teach your child how to care for an animal. If you have younger children, never leave your child unattended with your beloved car or dog as a biting incident may occur. Younger children may not always know what’s appropriate or respectful behavior and it’s natural, for even the nicest of pets, to react negatively to pulling of fur or tails.

What Pets Can Teach Your Child


Whether your family has an aquarium full of fish, a parakeet, a guinea pig or a dog, your child can learn how to be respectful and responsible. By allowing your child to be part of the daily routine of feeding, watering, exercising, and cleaning up after the pet, he or she will understand that caring for a pet is more work than just having some fun when he or she wants.


In addition to teaching about being responsible for “life essentials” like food, family pets may also teach your child:


  • Compassion: Children of all ages should learn about and be reminded of compassion. Caring for a family pet allows children to look beyond themselves and focusing on the needs and well-being of the pet.
  • Self-Esteem: When children have responsibilities, their self-esteem can blossom. Knowing that they are excelling at feeding the cat, walking the dog, or cleaning out the gerbil’s cage, can encourage them to continue to take pride in what they do.


  • Get Active: Living and caring for an animal is a perfect way to get active. Encourage children to spend more time with the family pet than watching tv or engaging in “screen time”. Whether they’re walking the dog around the block or tossing a cat toy around the living room, your child is getting active.



  • Learning About Loss: Anyone who has ever had a pet knows how difficult it is to lose a beloved animal. While it’s never easy to see your child in pain, but he or she will also learn how to remember the good memories and how to cope with a significant loss.



Choose a family pet that everyone can enjoy and engage in responsibility. If your child really wants a snake, but you are terrified, wait until you know they are old enough to take for all responsibilities.


Family Pets : What To Consider

Family Pets

Family Pets can bring a tremendous jolt of joy to a family. Animals are fun, cute, and endlessly entertaining. Most children will be thrilled at the opportunity to share their home with a furry living creature.


A pet can provide many benefits for your family, but a pet can also become a burden in many ways. Families that thinking about pet ownership should weigh their option carefully; if you don’t think you can handle the responsibilities, you shouldn’t get a pet. Here are some of the things every family should know about the joys and troubles that a pet can bring into the living room.

Family Pets Bring Energy and Love

The best thing a pet brings to your home is love and happiness. Pretty much any family will benefit from having a cat or dog to share their space with. Kids, especially, will be constantly entertained by your pet; it’s like a living toy that moves and plays on its own. And kids will be fascinated watching a cat stalk around the house and solve puzzles. A pet will energize your family for sure. People who grow up with animals in the home are frequently joyful and fulfilled.  

Family Pets Teach Valuable Lessons

Having a pet can be a great teaching tool for kids. Pets need to be washed, walked, played with, and generally taken care of, even if you aren’t in the mood to do so. This sense of owing something back to another being can instill a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility in children. And of course, pets pass away, which can teach your kids about the inevitability of death. A dog will give your kids work to do, teach them about life’s mysteries, and make them realize that they’re not always the center of the world.  

Family Pets are a Lot of Work

Pets aren’t all fun and games. You will need to walk a dog and clean up after it every day, and sometimes even more often than that. Pets need food, and they need to be entertained. Sometimes they want to play when you’d rather be doing something else, and sometimes they’d prefer to sleep when you’d like to play. You won’t want to take a walk when it’s cold out and you’ve had a long day at work or school, but you’ll have to. Before getting a pet, make sure you and your family have strong communication skills and is going to be willing to give the animal the care it needs.

Family Pets Can Be Expensive

Pets need tons of care, and that care can cost a bundle. Vet visits are really not so different from medical visits, and your health insurance probably doesn’t extend to the family hamster. You have a responsibility to give your animal the best care they can get, so think twice about potential surprise veterinary costs that could pop up after you bring your animal home. Additionally, food and other daily living expenses can added up and leave a big mark in your pocketbook.

A Season of Gratitude: Passing it On to Your Child

During the holidays, we are often reminded that it is the “Season of Gratitude”, a time when we reflect on what we have in our daily lives and be thankful for what surrounds us. Although gratitude should be and is practiced daily by people across the globe, some of us need reminders to take a break and really focus on what matters. Even more importantly, children should learn about gratitude; the earlier the better. As a role model, whether you are a parent, a relative, a caregiver, or an educator, it’s up to you to lead the way and teach a child about the importance of gratitude.

Gratitude is More than “Thanks”


Many parents start to encourage their young children to say “thanks” even before they become fully conversational. While saying thank you is important, sometimes it becomes too monotonous, a little mimicky, and even said without any meaning behind it. Parents want to have a polite child. Not only is it important to be a conscientious member of society, but it makes parents look a little better. Let’s face it, children are often a reflection of their parents and no one wants to be accused of having a rude child. If your child resists a simple “thank you”, it may not mean that he or she is rude, but it is important to teach gratitude and how to show it to others. Basically, “thank you” is not going to cut it in this world. If you want to have a grateful child, you’ll have to go a bit deeper.

Gratitude Costs Nothing


Teaching your child gratitude costs nothing, in fact, it may actually save you money in the long run. A grateful child is less likely to get everything that he or she wants and may actually start asking for less. Does this mean that you should say “no” to everything that your child wants? Of course not, but the more you say “not this time” may lead to less whining and hearing less of “life’s not fair”. It’s a hard thing to do, saying no, particularly if you grew up with little and what to provide more for your child. However, simply filling their lives with material items will not automatically create a grateful child. Gratitude is made for everyone and you don’t have to be affluent, academically minded, a believer of organized religion, or have lived a life of hardships to teach and practice the art of thanks. So, there’s really no excuses to not be thankful.

Going Beyond Material Rewards


When talking with your child about gratitude, remember that there is no right or wrong answer. You can guide him or her through the process of identifying what he or she is grateful for, but you shouldn’t decide for him. Let’s say a five-year old boy is thankful for his super hero toys, his bicycle, and chocolate ice cream. These items are essentially materialistic, but discuss how these things help him be a better person. For instance, you can discuss how super heroes are “good guys” that do nice things for others, a bicycle is a good way to be healthy and many people are thankful for good health, and the chocolate ice cream is a treat that many people do not have the chance to eat.


As they become older and gratitude discussions become more frequent, children begin to gain a better understanding on their sense of purpose and why helping others is important, as well as showing and practicing gratitude. Whether a child writes a thank you note to his or her grandparent or simply thinks of someone other than him or herself, he or she is slowly becoming a grateful individual.  Be patient and don’t forget to model gratitude year round.

New York City and New Jersey: Which is Safer for Your Family?

New York City is one of the most popular cities in the world. It has even been referred to as the capital of the world. It is known for the bright lights, Empire State building (and song), the One World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty and fast paced lifestyle of its residents. New Jersey lies just across the Hudson River and it is known as the Garden State and second wealthiest in the country. Many people argue between New York City and New Jersey, and the debates have been going on for years, long before the 1998 land dispute where New Jersey won about 90% of Ellis Island. You may be considering either of these locations to raise a family; however the common debate has always been which is better: New York City or New Jersey, and in recent times, this has focused more on which is safer.

New York City vs. New Jersey

New Jersey has for many years been regarded as a hotbed for crime in the country. With towns such as Camden – which was hailed by Mail Online in 2012 as the most dangerous in America, you cannot be surprised that many people think so too. New York City crime on the other hand reminds you of places like Brooklyn where the crime rate stays high, but some reports rate the crime in areas of New Jersey such as Jersey City to be a lot lower than that.

Crime Rates

Jersey City crime rate holds at 1,670 violent crimes and 4,836 property related crimes per annum in a population of 257,342. The crime ratio holds at 6.49 violent crimes per 1000 residents and 18.79 property related crimes per 1000 resident making the probability of being a victim in a crime in New Jersey at a solid 1 in 347. The probability of being a victim in a crime in New York City is a 1 in 55 ratio. This is because there is a reported rate of 77,372 violent crimes per annum in New York City in a population of 19,651,127 people.

Driving While Intoxicated Offences

There are over 90,000 Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrests made in the city of New York every year. This factor makes the city of New York a very dangerous place to drive in. In New Jersey a full 27 percent of all road deaths involve a DWI offence. According to Anthony J. Vecchio, “One of the greatest privileges you can have as a New Jersey citizen is the ability to drive. When you are charged with a DWI or traffic violation at a traffic stop or after being pulled over, however, your days behind the wheel may be numbered”.

Being Prepared

When living in cities that are high in crime, it is important to make your personal safety your own responsibility. One of the best ways to do this is to avoid placing yourself in dangerous situations. It is also important to be prepared in your thinking and acting in order to become an active defender and not a passive victim.


Comparing both New York City and New Jersey, one can see a very interesting resemblance. Both coastal cities are fast paced and play host to thousands of characters and people that love their city. Living in either of them is sure to be an interesting experience, with a similar set of challenges. Always being aware of your surroundings and trusting your instincts can be helpful when living in cities such as these.

Do you prefer New York or New Jersey? What measures do you take to keep your family safe?