Children in their teens deal with a bundle of emotions and feelings. Depression is a real and very present condition among adolescents who deal with constant pressure at school, especially in today’s age of technology and internet presence.
Many reports show the mental health benefits of owning a pet, and we constantly hear about animals becoming emotional support for many people.
How having a pet can reduce depression in teenagers
If you have ever owned a pet or at least cuddled with a dog, you are aware of the instant calmness and joy it can bring.
Having any pet can affect and reduce depression in teenagers. Also, if you include your pet in the fun family activities, your teen will start feeling closer to the ball of love.
Teens aren’t very keen on showing affection. How many times have you asked your child to hug you, and they either did it reluctantly, or they just passed you by?
However, when a furry friend demands attention, it is impossible to ignore it. The touch of the wet nose of a little pup wanting to be cuddled will melt anyone’s heart.
Having a pet to hug and play with will increase the sense of affection in teenagers, especially if they are not receiving much love from people.
They’ll always lend an ear.
When teens try to open up to their parents or other adults, they feel they aren’t understood. In relation, they keep all their emotions inside, which can lead to depression.
Having a pet to talk to can help a lot with releasing whatever is bothering them. Why? Because pets are good listeners and they don’t judge nor criticize.
Moreover, this will help your teen put emotions and feelings into words without the fear of being misunderstood. Processing and expressing whatever they are feeling is crucial when dealing with depression.
Anxiety and stress are old news.
Depression and anxiety can go hand in hand. A person who has anxiety issues that can escalate to panic attacks.
In relation, petting a dog or a cat has been linked to increased oxytocin levels. As we know, oxytocin is a stress-reducing hormone. Also, there have been studies that show lower blood pressure in pet owners.
No doubt having a pet reduces stress levels, which consequently will help with depression.
More sociable and communicative teen
More communicative and sociable teenagers tend to express what they are feeling more openly. Having a pet will enhance your teen’s communication skills. Moreover, it will help them become more assertive and have more confidence when interacting with other people.
How? Pets are a more exciting subject to talk about, and they can get people to participate in social situations. For example, when walking the dog, your teen could open a conversation with a classmate interested in getting a pup.
Always someone to lean on.
Adolescents go through many challenging situations during their teens. Feelings of loneliness and depression are not easy to handle when left unexpressed. Unlike people, who can leave at any time, pets are always there. No matter what your teen is going through, their pet will be there each step of the way.
The companionship of a pet can help with boosting self-esteem and battle feelings of depression.
If you decide to get a dog for your teen, ensure you prepare for owning a dog accordingly. Having a pet requires certain responsibility, so be sure that you, as a parent, are ready to get one.
It is vital to notice that having a pet isn’t a substitute for professional help, but it certainly will make your teen’s life more fun.