Monday December 3, 2018
This Christmas and holiday season, many parents worry about getting that “perfect” gift for their child that will cause them to light up when they open it. One popular image is of a child opening a box that is moving only to discover a real puppy or kitten popping out to surprise them. But is this really a good present for your child?
The answer is actually a little more complex than a simple yes or no, so let’s look at the proposition:
Why you shouldn’t buy your child a pet for Christmas—Pets are not just something that can be added willy-nilly to a family. A pet is a decades-long (or more) commitment that requires almost as much attention and responsibility as a newborn infant. If you give your child a puppy on Christmas morning, they will likely be thrilled at the present.
But as reality sets in, your child may not be ready to step up to the responsibility. This doesn’t mean just feeding and walking the pet. Pets require love and attention and play and if your child isn’t ready for this commitment, then you shouldn’t buy them one.
Is it ever okay to give a pet as a gift? Sometimes, you may be able to take this step and give a pet as a gift, but only in specific circumstances. If you were already planning to buy your child a pet, it may be okay; however, it is not a good idea if this is a first pet.
Depending on their level of maturity, your child may conceive of the new pet as they would a new toy or game; they may see the pet as an amusement and not a responsibility. It is not healthy for a child to view an animal this way.
What about starter pets? As a compromise, you may consider giving your child a “starter” pet like a goldfish. This will help teach them responsibility by having them care for something without making a years-long commitment.
If you are looking for a great gift this Christmas for your child, think hard before investing in a pet. Pets are animals that require love and affection and are not toys for your child’s amusement.