Ask Lafeber


August 5, 2021

I don’t like, but she does

Hi, I’m the mum who’s asking things everyday – &

So, I’ve questioned myself weather I like cockatiels and birds or not. I don’t. But my child does! She jumped around still waiting for a Cockatiel and asked me 3 times in total. I never told her anything about like “I’ll think about it, dear.” But I do know that she likes nature, she thinks of saving the earth and nature. Yesterday, she also showed me her diary, I saw a part saying that “Anyway, I really want a Cockatiel, but I dare not ask for one, as I couldn’t even take care of a fighting fish. Besides, I don’t even know how to care for it.” *sigh* Is it a good idea to buy it? Any suggestions?


Hi Elizebeth,

I think you should take more time to consider this. Children change their minds about things. If the bird isn’t all that she expects, she may lose interest. Where does that leave the bird when you admit you don’t want one? Birds are very sensitive and a cockatiel is likely to sense that you are indifferent or don’t like him. And birds live a very long time. A cockatiel can live anywhere from 12 years to their late 20’s. As your child grows, her interests and lifestyle will change. What about the teen years when she wants to spend all of her time with her friends? What about college, if she goes away? You are left with a pet you didn’t want. It’s not fair to uproot a bird when it no longer fits into your life.

I think a good starting point is to have her start researching pet cockatiels. Set a time in the future to consider one – at least 6 months away. She admitted she couldn’t care for her fish? Why was that? Did she lose interest? You know your child – how long does she typically keep interest in something? Why a cockatiel? Did she see one online or at a friend’s? The pet bird videos online typically show the best side of a pet bird. They don’t show the screaming, biting, throwing food, chewing on walls or furniture or any of the other undesirable behavior that all bird are bound to exhibit at some point. No bird is 100% well behaved. They will test you all the time. Can you honestly say your child is equipped to train a bird and handle these challenges when they come up? How will she deal with it when the bird bites her – because at some point he will. How will she handle it when he screams non-stop because she is on the phone or in another room? As I said before, these are not instant fixes. If you don’t care for the bird or like it, who will help your daughter with it? Take time with this decision. If this is what she really wants, she will still want one 6 months or a year from now, or two years from now. She should research the bird, the costs of keeping a bird, Vet care and costs, etc. If she is responsible enough to have a bird, she also needs to understand what your financial commitment will be. Can she do chores to save the money to pay for half of it? This can be a real judge of what a child really wants. Birds require a lot of patience – if she can’t wait a year to get one, she isn’t going to have the patience to care for and train one.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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