Every family has its unique value system, and this is something that parents have to pass down to their children. You can’t wait and let the public school system provide answers to your child’s questions because those values may not agree with your own. Parents have the responsibility to start when their children are young because even before a child can communicate, they are watching you learn about the world.
Respect for animals is one of the things that parents can teach their children about early in life. Our kids pick up things from watching us. They observe how we treat animals…from the smallest spider to the family pet. If we have no regard for insects or pests, they will learn not to, either. If we complain about the family dog and pop him with a newspaper they, learn this is acceptable behavior. Your family has the right to practice whatever beliefs you have about animals, but just know that your child will emulate you. If you respect animals, your kids just might as well.
The treatment of animals can vary from kindness to not eating any meat. You are responsible for exposing your child to your beliefs, but ultimately, it will be up to them how they decide to treat animals when they are older. For the most part, studies have shown that children who grow up in a home that respects animals will usually follow suit when they become adults. However, for the more extensive beliefs of being a vegan or not wearing fur- children may rebel against these ideas because they are different from the norm.
You cannot force your child to respect animals but practicing what you preach is the ultimate model. Children are very intuitive about phony people. They sense when someone is genuine. What you do, in front of your kids at home, makes the biggest impression. If they see you being kind to all animals or if they know you support animal charities, that will go a lot further than what you tell them.