Studies have shown that emotional intelligence is a better measure of the academic success of a child than his economic or family background.
Raising a child is way more important than raising a pup. Dogs are trainable and show predictable behaviors, but a child has a complex mind with a variety of emotions–that are hard to manage at times. Mostly, parents emphasize on the development of higher IQ levels in their children. However, practically saying, high EQ (Emotional Intelligence) levels are crucial for academic and social success. So as a parent and a dog owner I wanted to know do dogs help to make your child more emotionally intelligent?
What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?
Emotional Intelligence in children makes them identify, comprehend, and manage their emotions. An emotionally intelligent child demonstrates amazing social skills, including tolerance, compassion, kindness, respect, and empathy. Such children are problem solvers and friendly towards others. Kindergarten teachers report that over 30 percent of students are emotionally unprepared—an essential skill for school life.
Having a busy schedule, we cannot manage to keep a look at our child’s changing moods and emotions. Negligence of a child’s emotions creates behavior problems in them. But, you do not need to worry because studies have shown that children who are raised with pet dogs have high EQ skills. It does seem that dog ownership do help make your child emotionally intelligent, her’s why:
The EQ Skills That Dogs Develop In Children:
Dogs demonstrate unconditional love, care, understanding and patience towards children. Such personality traits act as ideal behaviors for children to adopt. Here are some skills that children having pet dogs develop at a younger age:
Dogs show compassion in the form of unconditional love and understanding. Children often share their worries and secrets with dogs, who are great listeners. Despite their bad behaviors, dogs show acceptance and love for the child. Parents may get angry and scold the child, but dogs only act protectively towards the child and keep the child away from harm.
In the beginning, the parents have to supervise the dog and child interaction, and guide them for an acceptable behavior towards each other.
Children can better relate to the problems of fellow children. They are empathetic towards others, rather than sympathetic. They have a fantastic level of acceptance for everyone just as their dogs demonstrate acceptance to them.
- Cognitive Skills:
Kids having dogs develop cognitive skills like communication skills, higher order thinking skills, etc. They interact, play, read, and talk to the dogs all day long. They are prevented from loneliness or stress, during the absence of parents.
A teacher remarked about a study on classroom pets that, “Having pets is an invaluable aid for helping the children gain pride, caring, and empathy for the needs of themselves and others”.
Children perform small responsibilities for their dogs like giving them food or water and grooming or brushing them. It creates self-esteem in children because they feel a sense of accomplishment and responsibility after doing these little things for the dog. When the parents appreciate them for being responsible, it gives them a confidence boost. These qualities make a child independent-minded and competent.
- Understanding the Cycle of Life:
Children understand the phenomenon of life and death through the life cycle of their pet dogs. They learn to cope up with the losses in life at an early age. The parents have to deal with the pet’s death maturely because the child takes the influence of the situations. Sharing and expressing the feelings of sorrow will give an outlet for the child to be expressive about his emotions, and manage them well.
- Anger and Stress Management:
Physical contact dramatically reduces stress levels. When a person comes in contact with another being, animal or human, the feel-good hormones endorphins and oxytocin are released. Kids having pets often cuddle with pets in times of sadness or stress to share their woes and worries. Moreover, the nonjudgmental attitude of dogs promotes expressiveness and sharing of feelings.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) found that kids having pet dogs had low levels of stress or anxiety.
Children become problem solvers because they adopt the same skills of patience and unconditional love from their pet dogs. They are better able to manage their anger and surrounding stressful situations. Better health is promoted through improved emotional management.
Hyperactive pit bull breeds like pit-bull dachshund mix and Labrador breeds like Golden Retriever are ideal companion for young ones. They can keep the ‘junk food lovers’ active and healthy.
No parent wants his child to suffer at any stage of life due to poor emotional management. If you have a friendly and responsible dog, train him to accompany your child everywhere. Not only will he protect the young one but also teach him some lessons of emotional intelligence.
Fiona Appleton is a Labrador owner. She is the manager of https://ultimatehomelife.com/ that has been developed to help people solve the troubles of pet ownership. She is an active advocate of animal protection campaigns. She wants people to understand that dog-behavior is reflective of our behavior.