We all know that animals can have a profound impact on people’s lives. But did you know pets can even promote social and emotional growth in our kids? Children use being with their pets as a very consistent coping skill and as a way to manage their emotions.

I notice it myself in our family. Even just this week, when we came back from our holiday, there’s nothing my kids want to do more than spend time with our dogs. Honestly, it even feels like my family is a little more stable with them around. So naturally, as a parent, I started to wonder how and why this happens and how I can maximize the opportunities our pets bring into our homes.

Today, we have Christine Bowers on the show who is an expert when it comes to animal-assisted therapy. We’ll be talking about how to promote social and emotional development through our pets. Have a listen to learn how to be proactive with the pets in our families in order to help our kids grow and get the most out of the animals in our lives. 

You can find our podcast Active and Connected Families wherever you listen to your podcasts, or easily click the links below to listen:

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In this episode on how our pets promote social and emotional growth, we discuss:

  • The health benefits of being in the company of animals;
  • What the research shows on the effects pets and animals have on us;
  • How our kids use their pets to regulate their emotions;
  • Developing identity and building confidence with the help of our pets;
  • Why it’s important to involve our kids in the caretaking of our pets;
  • How our kids can reap the benefits of their pet even when it’s not always around;
  • And so much more!

More about Active & Connected Family Therapy

Active & Connected Family Therapy is a mental health practice serving individuals, families, and our community. Our practice is designed to help people at all stages and from all walks of life by offering therapists and physicians with diverse backgrounds and specialties via face-to-face, walk-and-talk, and telemedicine appointments. Throughout, we are committed to developing strengths-based, authentic, and long-lasting relationships with you and your children. We hope to provide you with the support and insight you need to help your family navigate life’s hard times and joys.

Are you or your child struggling with mental health? We have a team of psychologists and psychiatrists who can help you out. You can learn more about our practice or contact us here.

More about Christine Bowers, LMFT

Christine Bowers is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Charlottesville Virginia. She is the co-founder and executive director of Grazia Foundation. Christine is also the owner and clinical director of Skyline Family Therapy. She has extensive knowledge and experience working with children and teens who are considered high-risk due to concerns surrounding self-injury and suicide ideation. She also uses equine and other animal-assisted therapies to connect with children and teens who have had difficulty establishing relationships through traditional talk therapy. Christine’s main focus is to help children and their families learn how to function together in a way that is happier and healthier for all involved.

You can learn more about Grazia Foundation on their website, Instagram, or Facebook page.

Resources and links mentioned in this episode




Disclaimer: Please remember we are real live therapists, however this is a podcast and is not considered a therapy session. Not only because there is no co-pay but also because we can’t speak to your individual experiences. We are here to help you keep raising healthy kids. And remember, if you are an imperfect parent, we are right there with you. If you or someone you love is in immediate danger, please call your local crisis hotline or go to your nearest emergency room.

Fostering growth through connection.

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