Teaching children gentleness

Birdie

Farm Hand
Messages
57
I have one child who absolutely loves cats, dogs, and every other animal, so much so that she morphs into Elmyra from Tiny Toons Adventures. You know what I mean, "I'm gonna hug you and kiss you and love you forever." That enthusiasm sends the animals running. I've told her to watch how I do it and copy me, but that hasn't worked. How do you teach a young child to be gentle with animals?
 

More Green

Farm Hand
Messages
36
I think the animals will teach her. If she wants the animals to love her back in return, but they don't because of her approach, she will eventually change her approach.
 

ccrane

New member
Messages
2
my kids have done really well just from observation. But if that isnt working, i have seen where an agressive childs actions are mimicked back on the child. For example, if the kid pulls the horses tail, maybe just give a light tug on the kids hair (nothing crazy we are not teaching by abusing our own kids here) but this teaches them what their actions feel like to the animal. Once again, just keeping all this within reason.
 

Henderson

Farm Hand
Messages
56
I always told my kids and grandkids to "be easy" when they'd interact with animals. I'd remind them again and again to "be easy". They caught on pretty quickly. Kissing horses, chickens, rabbits, goats, and the like might not be advisable because of parasites. When my granddaughter was really little she thought every animal needed to be greeted with a forehead kiss so it would feel loved. Luckily she never caught anything that I know of.
 

Chris T

Farm Hand
Messages
30
How old is your child? I believe that it is alright for her to explore and be enthusiastic about these animals. After a while, she will be better at observing how you treat them. Most of the time, they learn more through observation.
 

Chickadee

Farm Hand
Messages
61
Birdie, how old is she? Young children don't comprehend a lot of more complex concepts. We, as adults, know that not every animal wants to be smothered with kisses and huge, but it's hard for kids to understand that.

Maybe you could practice on stuffed animals first. Show her how to pet the animal. Just realize that, depending on her age, she may not be too coordinated and that the petting may not be so gentle.

Read books with her about animals and how to treat them. Model behavior for her.

Mostly it'll probably just take some time. As she gets older, she'll be more coordinated and can control her movements more. This will allow her to pet a cat or a dog in a gentler manner. Her comprehension will also improve, so you'll be able to explain to her that not all cats and dogs want tons of affection.
 
 
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