My Animals and other Family: Children's Perspectives on their Relationships with Companion Animals
Author: Morrow, Virginia
Source: Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 1 December 1998, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 218-226(9)
Abstract:The relationship between children and companion animals in contemporary British society has not been explored in any depth from a sociological perspective. The new paradigm of the 'sociology of childhood' constructs children as active social agents whose social relationships are worthy of study in their own right. This raises questions about the nature of children's social relationships, which often include close attachment to companion animals. This exploratory paper draws on data from two different qualitative research projects, a study of children's activities outside school (191 children aged between 12 and 15 years), and a study of children's conceptualizations of family (183 children aged between 8 and 14 years). The paper is based upon children's descriptions of their pets, in their own words, and indicates that children's relationships to their pets changes with age. It concludes that to see pet care as merely a form of role rehearsal for future adult activities is too limited and that we need to take account of the importance of animals in children's lives in the here and now.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 1, 1998