Study Finds That Kids Basically Like Their Pets More Than Their Siblings

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It's nice when science confirms something we've kind of always felt all along. Specifically, research from Cambridge University found that kids get more satisfaction from relationships with their pets than they do relationships with their siblings. (Does anyone who grew up with a dog disagree? Didn't think so.) According to Metro UK, the study focused on 12-year-old children from 77 different households, each with one or more pets and one or more children. Relative to their siblings, these 12-year-olds reported having stronger relationships with their pets, and researchers aren't surprised. ''Anyone who has loved a childhood pet knows that we turn to them for companionship and disclosure, just like relationships between people," said leader of the study Matt Cassells, a Gates Cambridge Scholar at the Department of Psychiatry. "We wanted to know how strong these relationships are with pets relative to other close family ties. Ultimately this may enable us to understand how animals contribute to healthy child development" While there's obviously many key differences between pets and siblings (such as, for instance, speech), researchers found that wasn't an issue. ''Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than to siblings," Cassels continued. "The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as it means they are completely non-judgmental." Additionally, the study found the girls had more disclosure, companionship, and conflict with their pets than boys, and that these effects could even manifest later in life for both. So go ahead, give your kitty, doggo, or whatever animal it may be another kiss — as if you needed an excuse.

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