Raising Kind Kids
Most children naturally feel concern and affection for animals but learn cruelty from society and often lose sight of their compassion. Through education, Evolución hopes to ensure a future in which animals, our environment and people are treated kindly.
– Based on PETA’s “Raising Kind Kids”
Live and Teach the Golden Rule
“Don’t do to others what you do not want them to do to you”
Activities to do with your children:
- Plant flowers and bushes for butterflies and other wildlife
- Take advantage of any opportunity to collect bottles, cans, plastic rings and any trash that could kill birds, turtles, dolphins or other animals.
- With supervision, involve them in activities with your pets
- Read books to your children and show them videos that portray animals as unique and sensitive individuals such as: Platero and I, Black Beauty, Bambi, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmatians, Dogs Go to Heaven Too.
- Come to Evolution Sanctuary and volunteer to help with animals that are homeless
- Adopt! Do not buy animals.
Invite your children to extend their compassion to others
- Sometimes tiny animals will enter our homes, gently help them out.
- Avoid comments, even in jest, such as “I hate cats” or “damn opossums”
- Do not allow them to use rifles, or other weapons to harm animals; remember that the animal that is killed for your enjoyment suffers greatly and dies unfairly.
Children taught to extend kindness and mercy towards animals grow up to be more fair, kind and considerate in their relationships with others.
But they are just kids…
Studies indicate that children who commit a single act of abuse towards animals are likely to commit other acts of violence. Schools, parents, communities and authorities that pass off animal abuse as a minor offense are ignoring a ticking time bomb.
If you notice your child deliberately hurting or killing an animal, don’t let it go uncorrected. Even if the act seems innocent, isolated, or a case of exploration, take the time to talk to your child and explain why the act should not happen again. Children who repeatedly hurt animals need the support of a psychologist.
Why Do Children Become Violent?
In any part of the world it is easy to find examples of violence and Merida is no exception. As we watch our children grow up, they witness countless examples of violence in their lives, whether that be in movies, video games, on the playground or heaven forbid at home. Violence is no less important when it comes to animals – seeing adults treating animals poorly sets an example for them of what is acceptable behavior. What examples do you give to your children when it comes to violence?
“I am totally against violence towards women and children…it was only a matter of time before I understood that violence towards animals also came from the same source: The idea that we could abuse the weakest without the slightest respect.” – Laura Flores, Actress
According to the FBI, the American Psychiatric Association and children’s charities, people who hurt animals may eventually direct their violence toward humans. Psychologists and psychiatrists indicate that cruelty towards animals is one of the symptoms that precede the behavioral disorders presented by those who commit domestic violence, sexual abuse, murders, etc. Most of these studies are international but although these studies are little or not widely disseminated, in Merida the degree of abandonment and mistreatment of animals is very high: approximately 5,000 dogs die every month from unnatural causes.
We have two options: wait to reach the extremes that gave rise to such investigations or act now at a preventive and corrective level. Experts agree that children who hurt and kill animals without consequences never learn to empathize with the suffering of others. Without this feeling, it is easy to treat animals as if they were insensitive objects. It is then difficult for them to understand that they are acting wrong or feel the suffering that they have caused. Teaching kindness and respect for animals is the first step in teaching children to identify with the feelings and needs of others.
How to teach them to identify with other living beings?
Children naturally identify with animals and since these living beings are like us, we can use our interactions with them to teach children how to behave around other people. To teach them to respect life in any of its forms, we must incorporate into our daily lives simple actions aimed at promoting values such as honesty, consideration, commitment and protection towards anyone, whether human or not, without discriminating based on the physical characteristics of the person. Every species and every being.
Teaching Kindness By Example
Teach your children compassion and the ability to identify with other living beings:
- Do not hit animals
- Teach your child to value the lives of animals
- Be patient with your pets, make sure they have identification, sterilize them to prevent them from having unwanted puppies, and watch their diet.
- Show your pet that they are one of the family, spend time with them, play and take them for walks.