My daughter used to yell at, throw things at, and chase our cats. Although she never hit them, the behavior she exhibited scared our cats to the point in which they became wary of her. Our Siamese, Scott, would hiss at her when she’d pass by and our Scottish Fold, Opie, avoided her as much as possible.
After deciding that enough was enough, we began working on some strategies to help our daughter treat our pets more kindly. With much hard work, I’m happy to report a tremendous improvement in how my toddler treats our pets. I’ve also noticed that our cats have gotten used to her and Opie even tolerates my daughter’s playful petting and antics.
As amazing as it is to see our three-year-old be kinder and more gentle to our pets, getting to this point was not a walk in the park. These lessons took countless hours, weeks, and months of warnings and reminders. It was frustrating at times, but also a valuable lesson for me as a parent on how to encourage my toddler to listen to me without yelling.
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While it wasn’t easy teaching our daughter how to be kind to our cats, it was a necessary lesson as our pets were around long before she was! In addition to the necessity, learning empathy and kindness towards animals opened the door for continuing to own pets and added some amazing benefits and positive side effects. [Read more…]