For all the love we bestow upon our children and the delights they bring, there is one simple fact that is inescapable: it’s our job to teach them how to live in the world. We are the primary way they will learn how to behave, how to interact with others, and even how they will eventually conduct their own lives.
So while we enjoy their childhood, we have to always keep one eye on what they will be like as adults in the future.
One of the primary aspects of life we have to teach to our kids is that of responsibility. Without a solid grounding in responsibility, children (and the adults they grow into) can quickly lose control of their lives. They might find it difficult to hold down a job or maintain relationships; it’s fair to say that it’s a fundamental.
There are many ways of teaching kids responsibility, but it’s also nice to be able to make such a lesson an exercise in enjoyment. Perhaps the easiest unity of these two desires is with pets. More specifically, a dog.
Dog + Kids = Happy Home
It doesn’t matter if it’s the smallest of teacup chihuahuas or the largest Great Dane; kids can learn a lot from growing up with a pet in the house. For one thing, growing up with a dog is great for children for a variety of reasons; from helping with shyness to encouraging them to exercise with the necessary walks.
So they get all the fun, but if you do it right, they get plenty of responsibility as well. The older your kids are, the more involved they can be in basic dog ownership skills. They could help to trim claws, draw baths, and even assist you in finding the right foods for your pooch to enjoy. Not to mention the daily walking necessity can become their activity too, giving them extra exercise while learning to care for another creature.
Are there potential downsides to this plan? Of course – nothing is perfect. For one thing, you will have to deal with the general issues that dog ownership can bring. That might mean the occasional mess on the carpet resulting in calls to companies such as http://www.springfieldmacarpetcleaning.com/; or the lack of sleep due to night time whimpering and barking. These are all part and parcel of owning a dog, however. For most families, they won’t be deal breakers, especially when you consider the potential benefits. There’s also plenty of help you can find online about dealing with these kind of issues; http://www.vetstreet.com/ for example, has some great examples on dealing with nocturnal barking problems.
Relationship With Your Child
There are potentially a few flare points when it comes to your children learning their responsibilities, too. There will inevitably be a point – probably when you have had your canine pal for a couple of years – when your children’s interest wanes somewhat when it comes to dog care.
The temptation when this happens is to take over the dog care tasks yourself. To an extent, this might be necessary – you don’t want your dog to suffer unduly, so you’ll step up if you have to. However, it’s also one of those valuable teachable moments. It’s easy to care for a pet dog when they’re a new and exciting addition to the household, but as the excitement fades, you might have to reinforce the values of responsibility.
If you find yourself in this situation, try and approach the situation as calmly as possible. Explain that the dog care was part of their responsibility and you expect them to hold their end of the bargain. There might be times when their attention is slipping for the right reasons – exam season being a primary example of this – but the rest of the time, you’re entitled to expect they pull their weight. This is especially true if the only thing that’s getting in the way of their dog care duties is a desire to watch more TV – that gives you plenty of incentive to give them something else to focus on!
When negotiating this, always opt for encouragement over scolding or threats of being grounded; teaching responsibility is about helping your child find their own way to making the right choice.
Lessons For The Future
It might take a few frank discussions with your child, but if you insist, eventually they will involve themselves again. Then, without having done very much lecturing at all, you will have impressed on them the lessons of not only the consequences of their actions, but the fact that sometimes we have to do things we’re not that interested in. These, without a doubt, are lessons that will stand them in good stead in the future.