As I look around at people caught up in the holiday spirit, I think of how animals are so often given as Christmas gifts. Parents may want to give their children everything but as a parent, if you are not willing to take on the responsibility of physically caring for that gift, then do not expect your child to do so. Would you buy your child a baby human to play with if she asked for one? Don't you replace the batteries of your child's favorite toy when the need arises?
Puppies and kittens, while cute, do several things that are unpleasing and require attention to...they nip, they poop and pee and they grow. It is important to remember that a puppy or a kitten needs guidance and training just as a child does...your child will not likely turn to the potty himself. Puppies and kittens also need food, water and a warm place to sleep. Mostly, if you are not willing to nurture that animal and your kids lose interest after a few weeks, this will reflect in the personality of a pet. Even rodent pets, reptiles and fish need to be cared for daily. Again, if you are not willing to take this responsibility on yourself, do not consider getting a breathing, living creature as a gift.
Consider teaching your child how to become a responsible pet owner by giving a stuffed doll or one of those electronic pets that require attention. As your child learned to cultivate a life, he will learn responsibility and patience.