Kids who are too rough with animals - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-26-2006, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Please help mommas! My six year old and 4 year old have been caught being nasty to our animals, more often than I would care to admit. They sometimes handle them too roughly and on purpose, too. We have a couple of gerbils that they are mean to sometimes (sometimes they are very gentle and nice to them too). I caught my six year old about to hit our bird with a stick and interevened just in time. I try very hard not to leave them unattended with the animals, but I have a six month old to care for as well and 4 dogs too. For the most part they are pretty good with the dogs but I worry about the little critters we share our home with. Should I just rehome the little animals? What should I do? Has anyone ever dealt with this before in their own kids? I try to model good behavior for them to imitate but it apparantly isn't doing the trick. I don't want my kids to grow up to be animal abusers... Please no nasty flames just need some support and good advice :
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#2 of 9 Old 08-26-2006, 02:37 PM
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My son was doing this with his cat. He would sit on him and squeeze him and just be mean to him. I woudl repeatedly tell him not to do it because it was hurting the cat. Finally I told him, if he is going to continue being mean to the cat I will find him a new home. He was still mean so the cat got a new home. He was upset but I explained to him why we had to rehome him. I told him, if at a later time, you think you can be nice to a cat, then we can get another one. Until then the answer is no more pets.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" --Leonardo Da Vinci
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#3 of 9 Old 08-26-2006, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoowhippets
Should I just rehome the little animals?
Yup, all the animals. This situation is not good for the animals or the kids.

wild.gif  kickin' it old school
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#4 of 9 Old 08-26-2006, 04:05 PM
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Can you relocate the animals to a safer area in your house? Maybe your room where the door can be closed and the kids can't be near the animals without adult supervision. I would try that first but if the behavior continued and the kids still handled the animals roughly, I would rehome them and explain why. We only have a dog but I'd hate to think I'd have to rehome her if our kiddos weren't gentle with her. She was my "first baby" and is a part of our family so I'd have to reinforce with my kids that we are kind and gentle to animals and somehow provide constant supervision while my kids were around Braxton.

Good luck momma. Keep us posted.
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#5 of 9 Old 08-26-2006, 04:55 PM
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If you cannot isolate the smaller animals so that the kids can only handle them with direct supervision, I'd say to give them away if you can. It's just not worth it. You and your children would both feel terrible if one of the animals were seriously hurt or killed, and there is the risk of your children being bitten.

Good luck! It's a tough decision.
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#6 of 9 Old 08-27-2006, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions! I had a talk with my two older DDs and told them that they could not play with the gerbils or bird unless me or DH is right there with them, and that if they were going to be mean anymore that they would have to go to a new home. I hope it works. I just don't know how to impress upon them how important it is to be gentle to these tiny creatures and why it is important. Does this sort of thing just happen over a long period of time?
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#7 of 9 Old 08-27-2006, 05:24 PM
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I told my dd that if she is mean to animals they are going to get scared and bite her because she is so much bigger than them (we have a very small dog who would never hurt her, but other animals would) and I even once let my mom's housecat bat her with his paw (my mom cuts his nails regularly to spare her sofa-- so I knew he couldn't really hurt her) just so she could understand.
She stopped bothering them after that and plays nicely.
I also pointed out how when one of my mom's dogs is bothering the other, the other one will bite it.
It didn't make her scared of them because she understood that they are just defending themselves.
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#8 of 9 Old 08-27-2006, 05:33 PM
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I guess they're too old for the "gentle touch," or "One-finger touch."

We had toddler issues with a kitty cat, we used the gentle and one finger method.

I would be strict about treating animals with respect. They're sentient (sp) creatures and deserve our attention and protection. I have witnessed parents blowing off their children mistreating pets and it makes me cringe. I really think this issue is a biggie and needs your attention, sorry.
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#9 of 9 Old 08-28-2006, 03:02 PM
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I have a cat that is great for teacing children the right way and the wrong way to handle an animal.
She is a good cat and tolerates babies. Anything that is not a baby and is rough gets a slap. If the rough pestering continues she will bite- she has never broken skin, so I am prety sure she is 'training' the children, as well as acting in self-defense.

I would move the little animals if possible, or rehome them. It is not fair for them to get hurt or possibly lose thier life because your children arnt ready yet for pet ownership.

I have a friend that rehomed her cat because her son just could not grasp the concept of gentle.
Now she wants a dog, but her son keeps saying no he doesnt want one.
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