Kids are more likely to confide in their pet than their siblings research reveals
Published 08/05/2015 | 15:18
Children are more likely to confide in their beloved pets than their siblings despite the fact that they’ll never receive helpful advice, new research has revealed.
A new study has shown that cats and dogs are top confidantes of young children because they believe that pets will be the least judgemental about their secrets.
Researchers in the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge University found that family pets often play a listener role in the lives of children and can help kids deal with issues such as bereavement, illness or divorce.
Matt Cassels, who conducted the research, believes that there is not enough focus on the role pets play in helping children cope with their emotions.
“It’s really surprising that these children not only turn to their pets for support when faced with adversity, but that they do so even more than they turn to their siblings.
“This is even though they know their pets don’t actually understand what they are saying,” he said.
The research comes from analysis of 100 families in the UK whose progress was followed for more than ten years. The study’s focus was placed on children aged 12.
The study also found that children often have stronger relationships with their pets than their peers.
Mr Cassels said: “They may feel that their pets are not judging them and since pets don’t appear to have their own problems they just listen. Even confiding in a journal can be therapeutic, but pets may be even better since they can be empathetic,” he said.