My 4 year old wanted a dog. I told him that I need to see him take responsibility first for a small pet before getting him a dog - Plus, my yard is not exactly animal friendly right now.
We got him a small beta fish, the tank, the food, and all the cool stuff. I took careful instructions from the pet store expert, and had my son do all the feeding every day, under my supervision. This morning, Bob (the fish) was laying sideways in his tank, not moving.
I believe quite firmly that it was not my son's fault - he did everything I told him - but Bob is officially dead this morning. While I want to ensure he learns some lesson from this, the fish died in only a few days. My son knows he's dead, but he doesn't seem fazed by it yet.
Is there a teachable moment here, even if I believe the fish died of natural causes and not by my son's actions?