The New York Times

What Do Teenagers Need? Ask the Family Dog

PETS PROVIDE COMFORTS THAT SEEM TAILOR-MADE FOR THE STRESSES OF NORMAL ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT.

People of all ages become deeply connected to their pets, but in the lives of teenagers, animals often play a special role. Indeed, pets provide comforts that seem to be tailor-made for the stresses of normal adolescent development.

To start, animals don’t judge — and teenagers are generally subjected to a great deal of judgment. Adults tend to harbor negative stereotypes about adolescents, and even those who feel neutral or positive about young people often engage them with the aim of cultivating their growth in one way or another.

“Pets are, by their nature, nonjudgmental,” notes the

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