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Discussion Starter #1
So animals have always been popular gifts for kids, my brother received a puppy for his birthday from our neighbor when he was 6. That puppy spent the majority of it's life outside, alone, in a kennel because we were dumb kids who didn't think any better of it and we were also afraid of her. As a result of poor socialization as a pup, our dog is terribly behaved and even for the majority of her adult life we ignored her because she was just so wild. I don't understand why people think it's a good idea to get a pet for a young child, since most of the time the pet gets neglected and rehomed in the end. I seriously just today saw a person looking for a puppy for their 1 YEAR OLD daughter. What on earth does a baby need with a puppy? Get her a stuffed animal, she won't know the difference. When people just give kids things, they don't feel as personally responsible for it and then they just don't care.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
It posted before I was ready.
And I know people say that pets teach kids responsibility, but the thing is that animals can survive as long as they are fed and watered. So as long as the animal is alive, the kid really can neglect any other responsiities, and then the food and water becomes too much work, and they get rid of it
 

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I agree. Pets aren't good for kids unless the parent is willing to take on pretty much all of the responsibilities of owning that pet. This lady once told me a story about a rabbit she got for her son and she went on and on about how it was his responsibility and he was supposed to feed it and water it and take care of it. The kid was probably no older than five or six. Apparently he lied to her (surprise surprise) about feeding and watering the rabbit and it died. Why, as the "responsible" adult, would you not check on the rabbit?
 

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Pets can be great to teach responsability but thats just it, they help teach it. Like a little assistant, the parent and the pet have to work together. I don't understand either why people don't get this. If your teaching someone how to fly you don't just give them a plane and walk away. That is asking for trouble. And I don't care if the kid is 5 or 15, its still the parents responsability. But especially with older kids i see a lot of "so and so isn't taking care of their pet. They've been told they need to do this and this, they better start doing it." No, youtake the animal and you either take are of it yourself or you rehome it if you can't, you don't keep giving someone who has no intention of listening chances. Or someone who will do it for a couple weeks and then fall off again.
 

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I feel like its important to have kids grow up around pets but the pets should definitely be the parents responsibility. Kids just don't know how to take care of animals, they can't take them to the vet or buy things for them or diligently train them. Kids do learn by example though and if you have an animal in the house you should take care of it as best you can so that your children will how to properly take care of animals. For example, my friend never had an animal of her own but they had two family dogs growing up that her mom took care of perfectly and did everything right and set an example for animal care. When my friend went off to college she got a sugar glider and I was so worried she wouldn't take care of it right since shes never had a pet of her own but she is one of the best sugar glider owners I've ever met. She has done everything right and put so much time and effort into her glider.
 

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I think pets are great for kids. The thing is, the pet also is the responsibility of the parent. If the parent doesn't also want said pet, then it should not be got.

I had lots of pets as a child. A got my pony when I was 4. A parakeet when I was like 7. My parents were really the owners of these pets, however they taught me to partake in all kinds of care. Brushing my pony, filing it's nails, ect. It is what taught me to love animals.

My kids grew up around me having a ferret shelter. Their first pets were rats. Which introduced me to that love. I originally chose rats, because if the kids lost interest, it would not be something we would have for 20 years. I was interested in them. The seemed the most social of small animals.

My children are all adults now, one's a vet tech going to school to be a vet. All 3 of my girls have a strong love of animals.

Animals are helpless in our care. It's our responsibility to teach our children how to care properly for them.
 

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Wow, yeah, get the one year old a fish to stare at if you have to, but defiantly not a puppy. :/

But I think it also greatly depends on the parents also. Most of the parents doing things like this, are ones who are "rich" or "peppy", etc. And give their child everything they ask for. :/

Thankfully I grew up learning about animals. Playing in the backyard with lizards, frogs, toads, and even snakes. While my dad had many dogs and chickens growing up, my mom had dogs and breed hamsters.

When I was born they already had a pet pig and got a puppy shortly after (giving the cat to my Aunt though, which just died last year- I'm 21 now). After moving to our current house when I was five, we got a cat and fish. By eight, I got my first hamster and it just grew from there. A ferret, two bunnies, two guinea pigs, a bird, more dogs, more cats, a gerbil, more hamsters, two orphaned birds at one point even.

So while my future kids won't be getting their own pet until at least five, they WILL be taught how to care for living things, etc, until most kids these days. v.v
 

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Discussion Starter #8
To a small degree, my parents were just as unprepared to take on a puppy as we were. What really happened was the neighbor who was a family friend had puppies, and she knew my brother wanted one (I mean but what 6 year old doesn't want a puppy). So without asking my parents or even telling them, she literally drove up, got out of the car, and handed my brother a puppy. He was so excited that of course my parents would have felt bad taking it away, but they've always had a sour taste for what our neighbor did. The dog is a black lab, so she grew big pretty fast and none of my family knew how to train a puppy. And sadly in my area at least, it's actually the poor people who get their kids pets. Since a lot of times people give away free animals around here, it's like a free toy for their kid
 

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My dad lives by a rule that you never gift an animal. Like you said it's not a toy, it's alive and a responsibility. That's a choice that the owners need to make and agree to. I think that rule not only applies to kids, but adults as well. I see a lot of cl post start with "my gf/bf got me this puppy and I can't take care of it." My friend tried to buy me a rat the other day and I freaked. Yea it's nice, but I am so not ready for a fourth rat nor do I want a fourth. Over all it's a bad idea to get an animal for someone else.
 

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i am so grateful that my parents decided to get me rats when they did. i was 5 at the time, my brother 4. They did things right though. We were involved in their care and taught responsibility but they ultimately looked after The rats.

27 years on and i still keep rats and have learnt so much from them. My brother did lose interest on the way but had proven to be a good pet owner since.

i genuinely think pets are great for kids, the issues isn't the kids its the parents lack of taking responsibility.
 

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People seem to have this idea that getting a kid a pet automatically equals +10 responsibility, but it sadly doesn't work that way. Kids don't just become more responsible because someone thrust an animal into their arms. Animals as gifts are generally bad ideas, unless the receiver is already prepared for that animal.

The worst is people getting their little kids rabbits as presents. Rabbits require a lot of special care, and they are SUPER DELICATE. I've seen tons of rabbits blinded because the toddler they were a pet for hit them on the head. Toddlers have trouble controlling their motor skills, and their emotional responses, so this is pretty common- either they are really excited to pet the bunny, or they are upset by something and take it out on the bunny. There's also the trouble that rabbits go through hormonal phases that make them less than sweet and cuddly, and people usually give up on them at that point. It's truly sad.

Being around animals does help build up an immune system, and reduce their chances of being allergic to animals, and that child is more likely to have a healthy love and respect for animals.
Any animal that came into the house, my mom would buy a couple books on their care and maintenance and make sure that I knew my responsibilities. If kids are actually held to their promise to take care of an animal it can be a wonderful experience and really teach kids how to be responsible, but they have to be held accountable for that animal!
 

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Imo, children are not responsible enough to care for animals. Alot of adults are not responsible enough to take care of them, cant really expect a small child to be. Bottom line, if you get a pet its your responsibility.....
 

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We've just bought rats, for my daughters 3rd birthday. She has (as most kids do) been asking for a pet for as long as I can remember. I've always grown up with pets, as has my husband, but it's been a long time without, so we discussed and decided that it was something we were happy with doing. However, I vetoed mice and hamsters because I don't personally think much of them as pets, so would not want to look after them if/when she loses interest. Dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs are out due to allergies. But rats, rats are different. I love rats, and have very fond memories of mine when I was 18, and have hankered after more for some time. I think I have been just as excited as my daughter to get them, and I know that I am happy to have ultimate responsibility for them. I have made the decision as to what cage we got, based on maximum space for the rats whilst fitting in to our home where they need to be, but she got to help pick out cage accessories. When selecting the rats, I interacted with them all first to get a feel for temperaments, then allowed my daughter to interact with my broad selection under close supervision to see how they were together, then allowed her to select from those I thought had the best compatibility. She also got to name them. At home she knows she may not open the cage, nor poke fingers through the bars, and we have very closely supervised play. So far she is brilliant with them, checking their food and water, and stopping to talk to them every time she passes, and she is so careful and gentle handling them. I don't think there is a problem in this sort of young ownership.

However I have seen the problematic parents in pet shops... "she wants a hamster/rabbit/guinea pig." "ok, can you give me 2 minutes and we can sort out somewhere quiet so she can meet them and see which one she likes?" "no, I'm busy, just give us that one, she'll be bored of it in like a month anyway.". Actual conversation with countless parents when I worked in a pet shop. Needless to say, I always refused to sell them the animal... Just saddens me that they probably just went to another store where staff sold without scruples.

Guess my point is, it's all down to the individual family. There is no blanket right or wrong age for children to "own" a pet, as long as the parents understand that at the end of the day it is their responsibility...
 

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I agree with almost everything said on this thread so far. If a pet is to be gotten for a child the parent should expect to take care of it or force the child to take care of it (Under supervision) if they are old enough and the pet is their responsibility. The first pet that I personally owned was a Robo Dwarf Hamster given to me by my cousin as a birthday gift. My parents were informed before hand and my counsin's parents asked long before they ever got the hamster for me. While it was in their care they fed her and gave her water but I don't believe they played with her. She was one of the best pets I have owned to this day because she was fully my responsibility to care for but my parents would check on her almost every day and she lived in our class room (I was homeschooled).

My parents did the right thing, glancing at Chelsea (The hamster) and commenting if they noticed something like, "Her water seems a bit low. Would you go and refill it please?" and then I would. As I got older I learned to check for this myself and care for them all on my own. However, my parents have always commented on how well I cared for my animals because it's something I enjoy and I love them. My brother did not do the same. His guinea pig was neglected often and for a little while my parents didn't notice, since they assumed my older brother was perfectly capable of caring for his own animal since I could. When they realized he wasn't, they warned him and when he still didn't they gave the guinea pig to me to care for. This could have ended very badly for the guinea pig if my parents hadn't paid her any attention but they always took the time to check on them at least once a day.

I appreciate the fact that my parents taught me to care for an animal and that they waited until I was old enough to understand how to care for them before I was allowed to own one. Now I do as much research as possible before getting a new pet and I care for it as well as I can without anyone ever glancing at them. I can say that I think it depends entirely upon the child if they should be given a pet before the age of 10. If they have never shown interest in animals, I see no reason why they need one nor would they feel inclined to care for one, as I learned from my brother. But, some children may be able to care for their animals at a young age, but should always be supervised and taught how to properly care for them.
 

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To be honest I got hamsters for christmas one year and within the first night one died, i have absolutely no clue why to this day, but when I did got them I had no clue what to do. I had never dealt with rodents of any kind ever and was completely ignorant and everything on the topic. I fed and watered them daily and my mom helped me clean the cage weekly but that was as far as the help went (except for buying food/bedding) I didn't even have any of them for a year. I felt (still feel) like a horrible owner. I blame myself for letting them just die. (I went through several. 2 escaped and were killed by my dog, the 1 I mentioned earlier, then 2 just got really lathargic one night ((seperate nights though)) and were gone by morning) Lesson being: if you want to get your child a pet at least read up on the subject and tell your child what you learn. If you don't in the end the kid could run from all sort of "responsibilities" I am still terrified of owning pets. I always feel like I will screw up in some way and it won't end well. I've already had 1 scary encounter with my hedgehog (wasn't really my fault but I still blame myself for letting myself be persuaded to go on the short trip) and 1 with one of my rats (When Jojo had his episode a couple nights ago)

Edit: I think with my hedgehog and rats my parents learned their lesson with the whole hamster ordeal because I had to do a bunch of research and give a short presentation before I was allowed to get them.
Edit: I saved up for a year to get my hedgehog so I take him as fully my responsibility (my parents help get food/bedding and such since I don't currently have a job but once I get one i'd pay for everything on my own)
Blaze was technically free (if anything I was paid to take him since the person gave me a 20$ petsmart giftcard for supplies and such) but I still take him as my responsibility (along with Jojo)
 

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Fortunately parents these days are more likely to get their kid an ipad than a live pet, but it's still an issue. If you're not willing to take the time to teach your kid how to care for a pet and make absolutely sure that they're doing it then don't bother. I've been caring for pets for as long as I can remember and if I didn't do what I was supposed to then I was in deep doodoo. I feel like the consequences for misbehaving/not doing something are slim to none for kids these days...I feel old saying that lol
 

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When I was quite young, maybe 8 years old, my parents gave my younger sister and I rabbits. We were in charge of their care and my parents didn't bother to coach us or check on them. We of course were children, and the rabbits lived out doors in a hutch so we forgot often, which led to thier death. It was awful! Of course then we were told how awful we were to have neglected them to death! When I was 10 I begged for a gerbil, and Santa brought me one. Again I had sole care for the little black fuzz butt, and this time I did my very best to care for her. She lived for three years before chewing through a plastic part of her cage, escaping and succumbing to poison left for mice. I got a puppy that year, cat later on after the dog ran away and was never found, several more rabbits then as a teen I became involved in 4-h and learned about proper animal care.I am now the mother of 4, and my two oldest have guinea pigs, they are responsible for their care but under my guidance. I have a rule that they don't get to have breakfast until the animals are cared for. Cage is cleaned twice per week, every week. When the older ones visit thier mother (they are my step daughters) I take over the care gladly! With piggies it's easy because they sure let you know if they haven't been give. Breakfast or if water is empty! My second youngest has been asking for pet rats since July. Her father and I discussed it and agreed to go ahead with it. She turns 4 next Saturday. She knows she is getting rats for her birthday, we have been talking everyday about how we can give them the best home. We have watched many YouTube videos together about rat care. It will be fun to have her help with their care and show her how to train them and give her a good foundation of how to PROPERLY care for a pet BEFORE she ever has full responsibility! Plus I get to have ratties around again! I know that as the adult in the home the animals are my responsibility, they are not a toy that can be played with then forgotten until the mood strikes again, I would never allow a pet that I am not willing to care for (such as birds). However I do think there is a lot of value to kids having responsibility for animals, to learn empathy and how to give the best care possible for any animal they share their home with!I'm not saying there aren't many irresponsible parents, and irresponsible pet owners, but that isn't always the story it's possible to give your children the joy and responsibility of pet ownership while still ensuring that the pets are treated well. It's more work than just doing it yourself, but that is how it is with being a parent.
 

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When I was quite young, maybe 8 years old, my parents gave my younger sister and I rabbits. We were in charge of their care and my parents didn't bother to coach us or check on them. We of course were children, and the rabbits lived out doors in a hutch so we forgot often, which led to thier death. It was awful! Of course then we were told how awful we were to have neglected them to death! When I was 10 I begged for a gerbil, and Santa brought me one. Again I had sole care for the little black fuzz butt, and this time I did my very best to care for her. She lived for three years before chewing through a plastic part of her cage, escaping and succumbing to poison left for mice. I got a puppy that year, cat later on after the dog ran away and was never found, several more rabbits then as a teen I became involved in 4-h and learned about proper animal care.I am now the mother of 4, and my two oldest have guinea pigs, they are responsible for their care but under my guidance. I have a rule that they don't get to have breakfast until the animals are cared for. Cage is cleaned twice per week, every week. When the older ones visit thier mother (they are my step daughters) I take over the care gladly! With piggies it's easy because they sure let you know if they haven't been give. Breakfast or if water is empty! My second youngest has been asking for pet rats since July. Her father and I discussed it and agreed to go ahead with it. She turns 4 next Saturday. She knows she is getting rats for her birthday, we have been talking everyday about how we can give them the best home. We have watched many YouTube videos together about rat care. It will be fun to have her help with their care and show her how to train them and give her a good foundation of how to PROPERLY care for a pet BEFORE she ever has full responsibility! Plus I get to have ratties around again! I know that as the adult in the home the animals are my responsibility, they are not a toy that can be played with then forgotten until the mood strikes again, I would never allow a pet that I am not willing to care for (such as birds). However I do think there is a lot of value to kids having responsibility for animals, to learn empathy and how to give the best care possible for any animal they share their home with!I'm not saying there aren't many irresponsible parents, and irresponsible pet owners, but that isn't always the story it's possible to give your children the joy and responsibility of pet ownership while still ensuring that the pets are treated well. It's more work than just doing it yourself, but that is how it is with being a parent.
^doing it right! Thank you :D
 

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I think that often times a parent will use their child as an excuse to get a pet. They are really the ones who want one but it may not be a good idea because of their current life situation. But, if they claim their son/daughter wants one they can rationalize getting one.
That's not to say that a pet can't teach a child responsibility. But, in my opinion if your child is old enough to want a pet it should be their responsibility to work for that pet. Either making money working for their parents or getting a job outside of the home. I think working for something helps you appreciate what you have. Pets can be pretty expensive, too. Especially if its your first and you have to buy all the supplies.
We just bought a puppy for our 9 month old son. But, in reality it isn't his pup. We bought the pup because we wanted our son to grow up with an animal (we bought a pup right before having our daughter as well) and to know they don't have to be afraid of dogs. We would never expect either of our children to take care of the pet, but rather learn from having a pet in the home and watching as we take care of them. Eventually, they will be responsible for some of the care but that won't be for years.
 

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I agree. While I think it can be a great learning experience for kids to grow up with animals (I have a lot of happy memories of my childhood dog), I think it's a terrible idea to expect them to be the primary caretaker. Kids just don't have the maturity for it. I read somewhere (don't remember where) that you should not expect a kid to be a good caretaker for a pet until they are about 14 years old. A teenager. Up until then, a parent should expect to take over most of the work once the kid loses interest. I remember losing interest in some of my pets to some extent as a kid, and then would have to be nagged to clean the dirty hamster or bird cages. It makes me mad when I see people posting ads saying they're getting rid of a hamster because their kids have lost interest in it--that's when it's time for the parent, who bought the hamster, to step up to the plate and take care of it.
 
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