Cruelty to Animals - a Sign of Later Behaviour?
Cruelty to Animals May be a Sign of Later Behaviour say Youthline
Youthline say parents, caregivers and communities should take young people harming animals seriously, as this may be signs of a lack of empathy or be indicative of how they treat others, particularly in older children or young adults.
This statement comes in response to the SPCA's recent publishing of their list of shame, detailing incidents of cruelty to animals, particularly done by children and young people.
Developmentally, say Youthline, when young children begin to recognize that they can influence the world it is important to have adults available to teach empathy and the differences between positive influence and negative influence.
"Pets are a great addition to families as they can teach care, responsibility and empathy. It is important that there are adults in the community around young people to reinforce positive play and behaviour towards animals," says Youthline CEO Stephen Bell
"It is also important that violence or cruelty to animals is not responded to through violence or cruelty because this ultimately teaches children that violence is the best way to get your message across."
Youthline say that in young adults cruelty to animals should be dealt with as any other criminal offence would be.
They liken harming of animals to bullying, often resulting from an underlying experience of powerlessness, a fragile identity and feeling little control in life, then in turn trying to take control over others.
"It is important that there are consequences for this behaviour and that the young person is also supported to find positive ways to feel empowered and build self esteem," says Bell.
Youthline say this is particularly important with Guy Fawkes approaching and urge parents to use the event as an outlet to teach children and young people about treating pets and animals with care.