A pet in a child’s life means a lot to him: Not only does he find a partner, but he might even become his best friend, according to research from the University of Cambridge.

In a scientific study, researchers found that home pets greatly influence children’s development and have a very positive effect on children’s social skills and well-being.

The research highlighted the strength of the relationship children and their pets have compared to other close family ties. It was found that children who have pets show lower levels of conflict, because, since pets cannot understand or respond verbally, children feel more confident when sharing their experiences because they do not feel judged and find a confidant in them.

Not only that. Pets also strengthen children’s self-esteem and also make them more understanding, since the bond they have with them arouses good feelings, such as compassion and empathy.

If your child is old enough to take responsibility for a pet, don’t hesitate to bring a great friend into their life.