A lot has been written about how dog ownership is good for you. Increased confidence and lower blood pressure are just a couple of the benefits of owning a dog. But what about families? Can the same positive influences of having a dog make a family stronger as well? Absolutely. Here's how you can strengthen your family bond by adding a dog to your family unit.
Experiencing Mutual Love and Respect
You may not appreciate your teenagers' taste in music, and they may not understand your affinity for romance novels. But when a family has a dog, you all have something in common that you love and respect unabashedly. Sharing that one outlet for love so strongly can be a conflict-proof adhesive to hold everyone together.
Embracing Displays of Affection
Your 10-year-old son may cringe at the thought of you hugging him in public, and all your kids may roll their eyes when your husband gives you a kiss. But nobody is embarrassed to give Fido a big ole bear hug, regardless of who's in the room. Sharing mutual affection vicariously through your dog gives 'too cool for school' kids a way to hug family members without having to touch them!
Exposing Our Inner Selves
All of us have some sort of facade we adopt to protect our vulnerability or promote the image we want others to see. But we don't need those walls when it comes to our dogs, and dropping our guard often happens without us realizing it. When a parent observes a distant and rebellious teenager rolling around in the grass and laughing with the family dog, it reminds us of whom he really is underneath all that bravado. That 'D' he got in chemistry may suddenly not seem so bad.
Breaking Down Barriers
Your family dog may be the one and only thing your family shares affection for. That common bond can be invaluable to opening the doors of communication or healing the wounds of a family's growing pains. Your dog can be your own personal family counselor encouraging everyone to just be real and honest, helping everyone to understand one another and appreciate them for their uniqueness.
Exploiting the Benefits
You can get the most out of your pet's family therapy mojo by including Fido in as many family activities as possible. Take him camping with you, bring him along on family vacations, and even cart him with you to pick up the kids from school. Don't be afraid to take advantage of his magic and use it however and whenever you can to get the family talking and sharing. Your family bond will strengthen, even if it remains mostly hidden to the human eye.
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