Your idyllic afternoon turns into a raging storm as the war cries of kids fighting over a toy rings out. Sound familiar? Siblings fight like cats and dogs, and now research shows they might prefer spending time with either of those pets over their brothers and sisters.
Researchers at Cambridge University studied 12-year-olds and their relationships with both pets and siblings using data from the Network of Relationships survey. The findings, which will be published shortly in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, show that kids found greater satisfaction and less conflict with pets versus siblings. The type of pet and gender of the child had an influence on the results as well. No surprise to dog lovers, the dog owners reported greater satisfaction than any other type of pet. Girls were a bit of a conundrum, reporting tighter bonds with pets, but also greater conflict than boys did.
Pets can make a great addition to any family, but despite the conflict, tears, and occasional hair pulling that come with sibling rivalry, it’s difficult to see how a fur baby can fully replace the sometimes challenging, but completely unique bond between brothers and sisters.
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