Adolescence is the most sensitive life period for every child, and during this time, kids are prone to anxieties and fears. Their bodies go through significant changes, they start wondering about their identities and their purpose. They crave authenticity while they also want to be accepted by their peers.
Such a conflicting, confusing time calls for parenting strategies to help your kids cope with their fears, overcome their anxieties and become happy, emotionally strong grownups. Copious studies as well as personal experiences have shown that growing up with a dog during puberty can significantly benefit your children’s mental health and help them feel less anxious. Let’s take a look at a few ways a dog can change your kid’s life for the better!
The chemistry of companionship
In addition to the obvious and proven physical benefits of having a pet dog, if your kids spend time with their four-legged friends in playful activities, walking, running, or playing fetch. Your kids will get a surge of feel-good hormones, serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters have a relaxing effect, increase your kids’ motivation and focus. Most importantly, they help decrease their anxiety, and lower the risk of developing depression.
Teenage friendships can sometimes be fickle, leaving your children hurt, confused or feeling abandoned and betrayed. The companionship that they develop with a dog provides a safe haven that will help them stay strong and boost their confidence. Spending time with their dog will give them a sense of emotional well-being, belonging and comfort in stressful situations. They will always have a reliable friend to turn to for help and comfort, even when they feel misunderstood by the rest of the world.
The feeling of purpose
While younger kids greatly benefit from having a dog for developing a sense of responsibility, adolescents are better equipped to take care of their dogs. Taking them for daily walks, grooming them on a regular basis and getting healthy dog supplies allows them to feel needed and appreciated. As a result, they will become more nurturing, caring and empathic towards others.
Trust and support
Young adults and kids growing up with dogs have a tendency to talk to their pets, and for a good reason. They develop a trusting relationship with their dogs, and they unburden their fears and problems to their always available friends. This helps them develop problem-solving skills without jeopardizing their self-esteem, feeling judged or rejected. Dogs always greet with a wagging tail and undivided attention. Such conversations give them a sense of emotional support and unconditional love, which further builds their confidence and emotional well-being.
Taking your dog for a walk usually leads to many interesting conversations and friendly social situations. When your potentially awkward teenager takes good care of your fluffy family pet, and spends some time walking them every day, you can rest assured that they will meet new people. This ends up with them having lively chats with people of all ages who will gladly stop and befriend their dog. This will help your child feel more socially accepted and confident, which will slowly diminish their anxieties and help them grow up into well-adapted people.
The healing power of touch
Petting and cuddling with your dog boost your immune system and prevent or lower the risk of allergies and other chronic diseases. It will also have a beneficial impact on your state of mind. Spending time cuddling with their pet helps decrease your kids’ blood pressure and heart rate. Helping them be aware of the present moment, anchoring them to the positive situation and not letting their mind wander to negative thoughts and potential anxiety triggers.
Adolescence is hard enough as it is, so growing up with such a rewarding companionship will allow your kids to become strong, compassionate people. In turn alleviate their anxieties and fears even in times of hardship and stress.
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