Getting kids to WANT to help raise animals

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by TitiBebbs, May 8, 2007.

  1. TitiBebbs

    TitiBebbs Songster

    Mar 26, 2007
    I'm a new mom to 29 chicks and 3 (was 4) ducks and 2 dogs. My son (10) loves the idea of having animals but not the reality. I fight with him to do chores in the first place but how do I get him INTERESTED in the ins and outs of raising animals. He also says he wants a cow but he won't help train his dog (the one he bought himself) or take care of the chicks. Yesterday, when I asked him to round the chickens up to put them away for the night, I looked out and he was throwing them into their pen. I'm thinking he thinks that because they can fly it won't hurt. When we first got the ducks, we used a net to collect them from the pool because they would be so hard to catch. Apparently today, he tried to use the net (a 10 in. butterfly net) to catch one of the ducks, which have gotten very large and somehow, he hurt it. It ended up dying before I got home from work, teaching. His job when he gets home is to let the animals out of their coops and go about his other chores so I don't know why he was trying to catch the duck and put it in the pool. I'm at a loss of how to teach him these things. Y'all I can handle 25 children all day and yet, my own son-the one I have raised by myself is a mystery. Keep in mind that I am NOT a lenient parent whose child walks over, but I am firm and consistent. I just want to teach him about handling animals properly and then some.

    Please help. His dad wants me to send him to live there for the summer, but I CAN NOT do that, I'm willing to try anything.
  2. den10hens

    den10hens In the Brooder

    May 4, 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    How did your son react to the duck dying? Sometimes being exposed to the fact that we (people) can cause something to die when we don't mean to can be an eye opening thing for a kid.

    I remember my older brother shooting a sparrow with a sling shot, because he didn't really think he could hit it. He killed it, and felt so bad he burried his sling shot. He was 10 at the time.

    My older son is 9 and his job is to clean out the gerbils cages. He doesn't like it, but he does a good job. I told him that if you take on the ownership of animals, then you are responsible for making sure they have what they need.

    Remind your son about the things that he likes about having the animals. Then explain that for the animals to stay alive and healthy for him to enjoy, they need him to love them and take good care of them.
  3. TitiBebbs

    TitiBebbs Songster

    Mar 26, 2007
    Quote:You know, after he tried lying about it, which he often does. He knows he won't get away with it but . . . So, after that, he acted like nothing. he was upset about me boing upset. When I got home (he's home from 3-4 after school) I had him help bury it. It was big so we had to dig rather deep. He acted like . . . nothing . . . I told him to say a prayer for it and he got quiet but I'm not sure what he was thinking.

    He does want to help when I am doing the job already. Or when it is something active, like chasing the chickens to pen them up. Sometimes I wonder if, though he's quite smart, he has little idea of the consequences of his actions because even though this happened, and I tried to explain that he's big and the animals are small and depend on him, he can hurt them. even after this, he chased them around and grabbed at them. Rrrr
  4. poppycat

    poppycat Songster

    Jan 26, 2007
    IMO you can't make kids want anything. Wanting somthing totally comes from within. However there can and should be consequences for improper behavior around animals. Some examples:
    *First and foremost NO NEW ANIMALS until the ones you have are getting the care that they need
    *Being "grounded" from a pet, where he cant have any contact with a pet because he treated it inappropriately.
    *Repetition of desired behavior. ie take the chickens out of the coop and put them back in five times nicely before you get dinner.
    * Make him pay his hard earned money for things that he has broken or wasted (like feed or vet visits).
    * Replacement chores. Have him do another chore to replace the on he is doing improperly with the animals. Somthing that is less fun and frees up your time to take care of your animals the way they deserve to be taken care of.

    Also check with your son's school and make sure that everything is going ok there. He may be having some issues that are causing him to act out.

    Also JMHO having animals is a privilege to be earned. My daughter is raising her own chickens only after a year of demonstrating responsibility with our other pets as well as pet sitting for some friends. The animals, however, deserve to be cared for kindly and properly and he shouldn't be allowed to care for them at all if he can't do it.

    I want you to know too that my reply is completely from empathy. My kids have made a TON of mistakes small and large and I'm sure there'll be more to come. Kids need to make mistakes to learn, and they also need to learn how to recover from making mistakes. Hugs to you and your son. I'm sure you will work this out.
  5. Jsto

    Jsto Songster

    Apr 30, 2007
    North Carolina
    Hmm. All kids are different so I'm not sure there's any tried and true method. I work with a little boy who has down syndrome and we have to be extremely careful around the animals, because sometimes he will, completely unintentionally, get a bit too rough. All I do is constantly remind him that we are bigger than animals and these pets rely on us to keep them safe and happy. When he acts as my 'helper,' he is allowed more one on one time with the animals.

    You say your son enjoys the benefits of the animals. Perhaps a bit of time for him to learn that without taking care of the animals, you don't get to enjoy their company. Limit the activities he enjoys with the animals until he starts helping with the animal related chores.

    As for him not reacting to the death, he may still be trying to process it. I'm an adult woman, yet I cried like a baby the other day when I hit a bird with my car. It's a hard thing to accept, taking another life. After he processes it, maybe he will have a turn around and start taking things seriously.
  6. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    Quote:I totally agree. When I was young, the rule was "No riding your pony until the stall is clean." That habit has carried with me through adulthood. It's great that he is learning responsiblity at a young age via animals. I think that is one of the reasons why I've always been a bit more mature than my peers.

    As far as the death, it's hard to tell. People grieve differently. That was a hard lesson for me to learn. My best friend was killed when we were 20 and I didn't understand how some people seemed unphased by it. Little did I know that they were in fact grieving but expressed it differently than I.
    I think talking to your son about the death of the duck is the only way to get his perspective.
  7. Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy Songster

    May 2, 2007
    Naples, Florida
    My son likes animals but doesn't want any as pets. My daughter on the other hand likes animals and has a horse, cat, fish and chickens and a dog. She gets up early so we can go feed all of them before she goes to school. Plus she helps feed our friends 2 horses that we board. My Son will take care of the animals when my husband & me go on vacation but I give him some spending money to do it. I don't think you can make a kid do something if he doesn't really want to do it. So maybe you need to have a heart to heart talk and see what his true thoughts are on this issue. Hope it works out for you.
  8. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    You know, I saw someone close to me complete a "parenting move" that I plan to try if need be one day. The little girl had done somehting wrong and it had hurt someone, not bad, but neverless it happen. So her mom made her write a letter as if she was the "victim" and how it must of felt from her point of view. Maybe imagine they stress, fear and pain the duck had would make him more empathetic??[​IMG]

    Just a thought.
  9. BigMama

    BigMama In the Brooder

    Apr 10, 2007
    Sorry to hear about the duck:( Have you tried a reward chart? That has worked in the past with my own children 9 and 6 to get them to do their jobs and do them well. Start a chart and you judge the work that your son did, if you think that he did a good job he gets a sticker/mark on the chart. After so many stickers/marks he gets a bigger reward. Its up to you on how much you want to spend on the reward, it could be something as simple as a picnic, treat at the store, or the rental of a movie. Make it harder each time to reach the reward until eventually the chart doesnt' need to be used anymore.
  10. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Songster

    Mar 29, 2007
    I hate to say it, but I would limit his exposure to the animals to supervised time only. I would also take away other priveliges that he really enjoys like playstation, tv watching, and/or playing with friends either all together for a week or individually equal to his 'transgressions'.

    I think kids around that age are offended when treated like they are too young and unable to do something that we know they very well can do. By allowing supervised animal time only, he may decide to strive to 'prove' himself worthy of the responsibility. Then I would only allow the unsupervised time IF the chores regarding that particular animal are done correctly and without harm.

    I've had some similar problems with my 2 kids (9 and 14) and this has worked for us. I've also had to talk with them and make them understand that if they are unwilling to care for their animals, they will have to find new homes for them.

    My daughter is going to start volunteering at the local Humane Society kids program soon. I have every hope that she will carry her love and empathy for animals that she has now with her throughout her life. Maybe taking your son to see all of the mistreated, abused, abandoned animals that have to live in a shelter with no family would spark something in him.

    Ok, I'm done now. Just thinking about it gives me a lump in my throat. [​IMG]
    I do hope everything works out for you two. [​IMG]

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