Understanding how best to nurture children’s respect for, and care of, other living beings is a concern within education and animal welfare science. Relationships with individual animals are often seen as a ‘bridge’ to caring about the broader environment (of people, animals and ecosystems). However, little is known about children’s actual care of the animals they know best. Focus groups explored 7- to 13-year-olds’ caring activities and sense of responsibility to care for family pets, with findings highlighting the strong influence of parental roles and restrictions, the significance of play as a form of care and reluctance to take responsibility.
Muldoon, JC., Williams, JM., & Lawrence, AB. (2014). 'Mum cleaned it and I just played with it': Children's perceptions of their roles and responsibilities in the care of family pets. Childhood, 22(2), 201 - 216. https://doi.org/10.1177/0907568214524457