Noah's Residents

Noah's Residents

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What should parents know about children and animal cruelty?

As natural explorers, don't all children sometimes harm animals?
Yes but this should not be encouraged or tolerated. Some children kill insects, while a few torture pets or other  small creatures.  But if allowed to harm animals, children are more likely to become more violent as they grow up. Animal cruelty, like any other violence, should never be attributed to a stage of development.

What kind of children display cruelty to animals?
Serious or repeated animal cruelty is seen more often in boys than girls.  Children as young as four years old may have the tendency to harm animals, although such behavior is more common during adolescence.  Cruelty is often associated with children who do poorly in school, have low self-esteem and few friends.  Children who are cruel to animals are often characterized as bullies and may have a history of truancy, vandalism and other antisocial behaviors.

Xiao Mei Mei lost the use of her front right leg because someone tied a rubber band round her leg and caused the flood to stop circulating.

What does animal cruelty indicate about family dynamics?
Researchers say that a child's violence against animals  often represents displaced hostility and aggression which stems from neglect or abused of the child or of another family member.  Animal cruelty committed by any member of a family, whether parent of child, often means that child abuse has a high chance of occurring in that family.

What should I do if my child or neighbour's child has harmed an animal?
If you suspect your child has deliberately harmed an animal, talk to your child. Try to discover  what caused the cruelty.  Communicate with your child, your  child's teachers and your child's friends.  The more you know about your child's activities, you will be better equipped to guide your child in understanding and making compassionate and humane choices.

Something as serious as animal cruelty, however, should not be handled alone.  Seek help from a family counselor or school counselor.  If you know another child who has harmed an animal, report what you know immediately to your local welfare organization or police department. Also alert the child's school principal.

What should I tell my child about the other child's behavior?
Explain that animal abuse is often a sign of other serious problem and should be addressed by the proper authorities.  Knowing that a friend has serious problems can be quite troubling for a child, as well as witnessing animal cruelty.  Your child may need your guidance and patience  to sort out their feelings.  As parents, you need to be there for your child.

What should I do if an otherwise "good" child harms an animal one time?
Though innocent exploration may be corrected simply by talking with the child, you should be concerned any time a child causes an animal pain or suffering.

What is the difference between innocent exploration and calculated animal cruelty?
Innocent exploration may come from simple curiosity, but intentional animal cruelty is motivated by a desire to harm. While even innocent acts of cruelty should be addressed, it is particularly important to intervene when a child is insensitive to the obvious distress of an animal, repeats a harmful behavior or derives pleasure from causing an animal pain.

How should I teach my child to respect animal life?
Teach by  example.  Use real-life situations to instill a sense of respect for all living things.  Invite your child to help you feed strays or rescue an animal from danger. With other children, discuss animal cruelty cases publicized in the news.  Encourage children to respect and speak up for the animals.

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