Still, kids will talk. And sometimes they'll talk to grandparents. And sometimes that talk will involve their desire for a pet. If you're still keen on the idea, and you think your grandchild should have a pet (that you'd like to provide) have a discussion with the parent(s) ... without the children around. Here are some talking points to raise with your adult children on the topic. They'll be thankful that you've thought this through and considered the ins and outs of pet parenthood:
1. Is the child developmentally ready to be responsible for a pet? When a parent has to nag the child to take care of the pet, the parent-child relationship is likely to suffer. If parents already complain about having to nudge the kids to finish their homework and wash the dishes, chances are feeding and walking the dog would become part of the same unpleasant routine.
2. What demands will the pet add to regular family functions? Is a needy pet -- i.e., a potty-training puppy -- going to put a strain on an already busy family? Does anyone in the family have allergies?
3. Who will take care of the pet (a) during the day, and (b) when the family goes away somewhere the pet can't go? This is a fundamental question here. If the parents have no answer, and you have no answer, spare the pup.
4. Who will pay for everything? From food to average medical costs, a typical medium-size dog costs about $1,190 to take care of in the first year, and about $620 annually after the first year, according to the ASPCA. Cats cost about the same. Are you giving them a gift ... or a new expense?
5. Why do you want your grandchild to have a pet? Is it because you had pets growing up and think it was a good experience? Or do you worry the child doesn't get enough love from busy parents and needs a friend? Or could you be thinking that your grandchild is not being taught how to be responsible and that the pet experience can fill in for bad parenting?
Phew. Sounds like quite a bit to worry about, doesn't it? Maybe a visit to a petting zoo isn't such a bad idea after all. Of course, make sure you bring the Purell with you. Parents hate germs almost as much as they hate unwanted pets.
Image: Marvin Kuo / via Flickr
This article originally appeared on Grandparents.com.