Welcome to Hey Mom and Dad—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. Every week, we get the conversation started by taking a look back at a question we asked parents the week before on Patch Facebook pages from around the area.
It's a rite of passage for nearly every child: Begging your parents for that first cat, dog or guinea pig as a holiday present. The debate on our local Facebook pages took many different turns this week, and we want to hear from you too.
Do you think a new pet is an appropriate gift for your kids? If so, what age is the right age to even consider this new responsibility?
Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the comments section.
Katie Herrmann: Please don't surprise kids or other people with puppies as presents. I foster for a rescue and the shelters see an influx of puppies a few months after Christmas. Presents that weren't wanted or that people were unable to care for. Any pet should be one that is a family decision made carefully. — Batavia Patch Facebook
Jeni Golomb: We will never have any pets in this house. My boys (6 and 3) are BEGGING Santa for a real puppy this year, but have been told Santa makes toys, not pets. I told them they are more than welcome to get a dog when they move out of my house. — Elmhurst Patch Facebook
Paula Krapf: We had a cat when our daughter was born. The cat avoided her for a while so we had no worries. Then they eventually figured out how to deal with each other. After that cat died, we got two more. One bonded with our then 4 year old daughter right away and it was great for both of them! — Geneva Patch Facebook
Valerie Mager Dickeson: when our youngest son turned age 2. we got a labrador. that two yr. old( now 5) and our Lab are growing together as best friends as well as learning respect. — Lisle Patch Facebook
Cheryl Colby Hayes: I don't intend for my comment to sound snotty but, the parent, not the child is who is/will be responsible for the animal. If they're ready for the responsibility; there are plenty of surrendered animals hoping for a forever home and a family to love! — Naperville Patch Facebook
John Ceinski: We've had pups with our two boys since they were babies. We share responsibility for feeding. Two Zip lock bags are filled each morning with treats and food. This way we know no one is over feeding them. Any age is fine as long as you teach the kids how to care for them. — St. Charles Patch Facebook