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Millennials pamper pets not babies
Posted by:   |  Jun 24, 2019

Young generations of Americans are less likely than previous
generations to own a car or a home, less likely to be married and more likely
to get divorced. Yet, the new generations, particularly the millennials, have a
tremendous lead over the baby-boomers in one area: pet ownership. This new
generation may be called the “dog-boomers.”

Three-fourths of Americans in their thirties own dogs, and half
own cats. When you compare the millennials with the rest of them general population,
you find out that only half of whom own dogs and around a third of whom own
cats. This is a dramatic increase.

In recent years, more and more people, particularly the millennials
have identified themselves as pet parents rather than pet owners. This
description clearly indicates a shift in the way pets are perceived and their greater
meaning to the millennials. Some individuals are even called Pets as “fur
babies.”

Some of the pet parents, not only have the tendency to postpone
having children, they even opt to not have children, and instead decide to have
fur babies. Yet, since human are naturally and evolutionary have the deep
impulse and desire to parent. Now, those nurturing instincts are directed
toward dogs and cats, making people a “parent” to a pet.

There are many reasons why today, more than ever before, pets
become poplar. Also, more individuals decide to have pets instead of children. Here
are some of the main reasons:

First, more and more families have pets at their home today. The
new generation becomes accustom to have a pet in their life as their grown. As
such, many millennials have grown up with pets as a member of the family,
so their relationship with them is very different than previous generations who
grew up with a cat or a dog in the backyard of the neighborhood; occasionally they
had a pet in the house.

The rise of the internet and social media and the drop
in human interaction is a big reason for the increased relationship
with pets over the past two decades. In many ways, individuals are
physically more alone today. The reduced human connection creates a void for
companionship that can be filled with the interaction with a pet. As such, the
pets are filling an emotional emptiness, making them more important in our
lives.

The desire for self-actualization and self-entitlement as
individuals, rather than familial or tribal, as well as the want for a less
parental responsibility is a greater motivator in the young generation as
compare to the older generations.

The perspective of what constitutes a family, its size and its
purpose has changed over the years, more so in recent years. For millennials a family
is not just marriage and kids. You can be single, divorce, career-oriented
individuals, a bolger or software developer that, takes their work with them,
and travel the world. Individuals and families can enjoy a greater freedom, having
a pet rather than the responsibility of a child. In other words, the need for
greater freedom – keeping their independent lifestyles (to peruse your career,
travel the word and have more free time) pushes individuals to have less
children and more pets.

I had a client that once told me “My dogs are my family. They
give me so much and don’t expect anything in return. They are greeting me at my
door every time I come back home after work. They are happy to see me, and
their liveliness lifts my spirit.” Animas have the natural nurturing instincts
for protection and love. They provide a positive energy, unconditional
friendship and devotion, which is very needed in at times alienated world.

Pets are often described as providing companionship, emotional
support, security, or a sense of “home” or rootedness for “pet-parents”: but
these aren’t traits that describe a child. A dog in many ways is cheaper than a
baby (huge financial costs of parenting – education), provides
unconditional love, and always be there to support you. Your child might be a
different story. Yes, dogs need love and attention, but not constant monitoring
like a child.

A pet, especially dogs, may also become a service animal.
Individuals that being treated for an emotional disorder or disability may use
the support or assistance of an animal to help alleviate your health and mental
issue. It might be that in the future, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders (DSM) will identify “replacement-baby syndrome” as a
diagnosable epidemic and the solution will be a pet that fills the replacement
child syndrome.



Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in New York City
License # : 000697