A recent study from the University of Cambridge showed something most people probably already suspected: Animals are the best. Well, to be specific, kids get more satisfaction out of their relationships with their pets than they do with their actual siblings.
Kids Prefer Their Pets To Their Siblings Because Obviously They Do
Researchers studied 12-year-olds from 77 different families who each had pets and siblings present in the household. Children treated their pets similarly to their own brothers and sisters. They spent quality time playing and bonding with them. In fact, they found that children reported stronger relationships and consistently more satisfying interactions with their pets than with their siblings.
Interestingly, families with dogs reported the most satisfaction and least conflict with their furry friend. One of the study's researchers, Matthew Cassells, explains that these findings are actually pretty logical. Though anyone who has ever had a pet already knew that.
He says, "Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than to siblings. The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as it means they are completely non-judgmental."
The study also found that girls and boys interact differently with their pets. While both genders enjoy hanging with their animal friends, girls seemed to report more complicated and nuanced relationships with their pets.
No matter what the gender, the study seems to suggest that having a pet around is good for the social and psychological development of all children.