There are more than a couple contentious topics in the parenting world - vaccines, co-sleeping, and breastfeeding to name just a few - but there is one that seems to just drive everyone crazier than the rest. That topic? Kids on leashes...
Yes, the old punching bag of parenting tactics seems to get a bad wrap from just about everyone. And yes, that includes everyone and not just fellow parents. People without children even seem to bemused by the sight of a child on a leash.
But what about the parents who utilize a leash for their young children? What do think about it? What's their rationale?
Well, as several parents are about to reveal, there are multiple reasons behind the phenomenon.
Let's check them out.
Ever kid has some personal belonging that serves as a form of security. For most kids, it can be something like a blanket or a stuffed animal. For others, it can be a favorite toy. But for some, it can even bee a leash. But hold back the laughter because the following story involving a child on the spectrum and his favorite leash.
"I had a little boy on the spectrum. The family joke was he'd run until he found a fence. I always used a wrist leash when we were out in public unless he was in a stroller.
As time went by, I discovered that as long as he had the leash fastened to his wrist he'd stay within an arm's reach of me no matter where the other end of the leash was. So my end of the leash was often draped over the shopping cart or just dangled from his wrist. Eventually he decided he wanted to hold it himself.
After a while a 'leash' became anything he had to hold with both hands. A large water bottle or super-sized drink cup was just as effective."
Leashes aren't exclusive children on the spectrum. Heavens no. Some kids need to be put on a leash as a survival methods, as this sibling of a boy on a leash detailed with the following story:
"My brother was a leash kid but he earned that punishment. As soon as he could walk, he would just run off in public spaces. It happened a couple of times, and then it happened at Mall of America. He was lost for two hours during which time my parents were in full panic.
He eventually turned up in the arcade. A nice security guard was giving him quarters to play the games and feeding him donuts. My brother didn't care, he never cried once while he was separated from the family. So he earned the status of a leash kid for a couple of years.
When I see other kids on leashes all I'm thinking is that they are a runner just like my brother and the mom wants to keep them close and safe. I think the wristband tethers with a spring cord look less weird than the full harness/backpack thing though."
Another poster had this to say about the importance of leashes:
"I had one as a child and it saved me from getting kidnapped.
My parents had me in a stroller while wearing a harness and had tied the end of the leash to the stroller. A woman walked by and scooped me out of the stroller, but since the leash was tied to the stroller, it just dragged behind her as she tried to walk away.
It caused a huge commotion, my dad grabbed her and held onto her until the police came. Apparently, they were already looking for her because she had attempted to kidnap a kid from a daycare earlier that day. Her own child had recently died and she was having a mental breakdown, so I guess she was either trying to replace her dead child or she didn't realize that the kids she was trying to take weren't her kid.
When I was like 12, I had a friend whose parents were super controlling and overprotective. She told me that this was because when she was a toddler somebody had tried to kidnap her out of a stroller. I told her that almost exactly the same thing that happened to me, but my parents weren't crazy and overprotective.
She really struggled with her relationship with her parents after that, because she had always just forgiven them for their controlling behaviors. We aren't necessarily friends anymore as adults, but I know that she really struggled in college because she never had any sense of responsibility or independence growing up."
But overall, one father in particular had one of the most thoughtful and truthful responses to the whole debate over leashes. Here's what they had to say:
"I think it's stupid to have an opinion about them for anyone but your own child. It's such an incredibly common-sense thing to do.
We used one for my daughter (no autism or behavioral issues) maybe a handful of times when we were in busy public places. It was a little dinosaur that was attached to a harness. This was when she was probably 1 or 2 years old. She was walking, but still wasn't very good at listening to instructions.
I specifically remember using it at the zoo. My wife was self-conscious about what people would think, but I have a completely 'Get lost!' view of what strangers think of my parenting, so I couldn't care less what they think. I always just tell my wife, 'If someone has a problem with it, they can call Child Protective Services, or they can get bent!'"
What do you think about kids on leashes? Do you think it's okay or do you think leashes should be exclusive to pets on walks. Make sure to let us know in the comments below.