According to a recently published study from the University of Cambridge, children enjoy relationships more with their pets than with their siblings. Children also get along better with their companion animals than with siblings. The study adds to growing evidence that pets can have a big impact on a child’s development and can have a positive impact on children’s social skills and emotional well-being.
Pets are almost as common as siblings in Western families, although there is relatively little research on the importance of the child-pet relationship. “Anyone who loved a pet as a child knows that we look to them for communication and disclosure, just as we do in human relationships,” said Matt Cassells, lead researcher.
“We wanted to know how strong these pet relationships are compared to other close family ties. Ultimately, this may allow us to understand how animals contribute to the healthy development of the child.