Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Free the Leash Kids?

So, I've been coming across a handful of blog posts and articles on this particular aspect of parenting:


To leash your kid, or not to leash your kid.

What do you think?

Here's my take on it. Basically, I think it can be good or bad. Mostly, I'm in favor of the leashes.

We've all seen that kid. You know, that one toddler who you would swear channeled the Tasmanian Devil just before running into your shopping cart and knocking packages off of every shelf in the aisle in his attempt to escape his freedom-stifling mother, who, consequently, is chasing after him with two other calm, yet noticably embarrassed, children who are attempting to keep up with her. So where is the harm in a kid leash in this instance? There are obviously those children who will push and test boundaries like they are made out of modeling clay and there isn't much that can be done about it. After all, the more you push, the more they push back. So why not give them a degree of freedom to explore while still maintaining a safe connection with them?

Also, have any of you tried to walk through a crowded mall with your arm over your head for the better part of an hour? How comfortable or tolerable do you think that would be? I'm sure that the tiny arms of our little ones feel it far sooner than we would. Both David and I are pretty tall. Even though James looks like he'll catch up with his dad in height someday, our extra inches will surely mean that he'll have to stretch his little body, or we'll have to stoop ours, just so we can hold onto his hand. The leash would give us all the chance to walk around comfortably without having to worry about losing our child.

Unfortunately, there are those parents who use the kid leash as a method to control or ignore their child. Nothing is quite as heartbreaking as seeing a child mistreated. I've seen parents put their rambuncious children on a leash, only to yank them onto their little butts when they wander off (but obviously not very far off, as they're on a leash). Or there are those parents who put the leash on their kid, attach it to their own wrist and manage to forget that they even brought a child with them. They fail to give them any sort of attention or guidance on how to stay close to mom and dad when in public. But that's not a reflection of how bad it is to put a leash on a child. That is simply bad parenting. And while I don't like to throw out parenting judgements (as we all make honest mistakes with regards to raising our kids), I don't think anyone could disagree that yanking on or ignoring your child is harmful in many ways.

Obviously I'm no expert, as we haven't reached the stage of being parents to a walking child yet, but we plan on purchasing one of those cute little monkey or puppy dog backpack leashes so that we have one just in case we feel like we need it.

Have you ever used one? What do you think when you see people walking around with their kids on a leash? Do you think it's cruel or perfectly acceptable? Let me know what you think.


Julina said...

I agree with you, Tiff. I have never actually used a leash, but I don't have any bad feelings toward them. Most of the people that I have seen use them are at very crowded places (i.e. theme parks, malls, etc.), and I can understand the desire to keep a child close while still allowing them some freedom to explore. I have heard other people make comments when they see people with their child on a leash. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I don't think it's necessary to be rude and judgemental.

Kate Buhler said...

I completely agree too! If I had a kid in that 'faster than lightning' stage, you bet I'd use a leash in certain situations. I'd rather be judged as a bad parent than risk losing a child (even temporarily) in a store or crowd. I know a guy that had his daughter run off, leave the store, and get hit by a truck. Sadly, she didn't survive.I only have dog kids but I'm sure it can be similar. You can use a leash to punish a dog, or associate it with good things like walks. I imagine a child could associate it with getting to walk instead of having to ride in the stroller.

Clyda said...

Tiffany, David and Sara were both on leashes when we went anywhere in Seattle, I just didn't have enough hands or eyes to watch the older brothers and the baby too. For their protection as well as your peace of mind, a leash is sometimes a necessary tool to use in parenting. Just like manners, rules teaching them No. None of them are pleasant, but we all need to know our boundaries, little people especially. David grew up fairly normal and so did Sara, I think. I vote for leashes, sometimes - especially as the young lady above said when they reach that, "faster than lightening" stage. Love you all, Mom.