Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Talk About It: Kids on Leashes

At a recent outdoor church gathering, I was somewhat surprised to see a woman with a child on a leash. Maybe the appropriate term is "tether"? {If you're not familiar: the child wears sort of a harness, then there is a long strap that attaches to the back that the caregiver can then hold onto or can wear around their wrist.} My first thought was, "Wouldn't it just be easier to train that child not to run off?" Now maybe this wasn't the child's parent, so the caregiver just didn't want to take chances. I could see if maybe you were in a super crowded situation like a bustling airport at rush hour or wall-to-wall people at an outdoor event. But at a church picnic?

What do you think? Child leashes: Appalling or appropriate??

As always......

Rules: Play nicely. We all have our own opinion, but let's be thoughtful and respectful of one another.

12 comments:

Peaceful Chaoz said...

That is what my mom used to say when she only had us girls. "Why can't the parent discipline that child so they don't do such and such" She now realizes that my sister and I not only being girls were I guess just naturally low key and well behaved. Because when my brother came along all chaoz broke loose. Not only was he a rambunctious boy but he was also hyperactive! So he had a tiny leash that was hooked to his hand and that at least helped him stay with us while still having the freedom to walk and run a bit instead of being confined to a stroller! Now coming to us, we had the same thing! Only we had one boy and one girl who actually just pretty much stayed with us or were fine in a stroller and such, but then came our third, who saying it lightly likes to be going and doing!! He didn't like to stay in a stroller when we were out and he was so quick that even at church I couldn't grasp him in time to not get harmed or run into someone. I found a cute little back pack leash that he actually loved wearing and it really helped him the same as my brother. He had the freedom to jump around but still remained close. We have not changed our parenting style, yes we discipline but for whatever reason some kids are a little more hyper and instead of punishing all the time I think this is a good alternative to just let this go. As he has gotten older he no longer needs it and remains (pretty much) where he needs to be, so I don't think we lost anything by having one. I think it also depends on how old the child is and maybe where they are at mentally. Would I put any of my kids on a leash now, no, other than selah they are to old and should know the limits, and selah just stays by us at all times anyway, lol. So I'm for them, but honestly it really doesn't matter to me what other people choose, I think if something works for you than keep doing it, if not then try something new! ;0)

Melissa said...

I used to find them appalling, until my second daughter arrived. From the time she could walk, all she wants to do is run away. She is impossible to keep track of, especially when I am trying to watch my other daughter too. If you had my kid on your hands, you would go for the "leash" as well. Trust me.

Rebecca said...

Good perspectives! Maybe it's partly a boy thing?? {the child I saw was a boy as well} Since my oldest two are girls, I've never considered it.....

Beth said...

Until you have had a boy who can walk around, you cannot fully understand how different they are. A church picnic might be a little much. Alicia put it very nicely. It's better than talking to a 14 month old until you are blue in the face. We bought one after Landon was born because I wan't sure how I would be in public with two kids 14.5 months apart. Kaitlyn never needed one. Amazingly enough, I never used it with Landon either. I guess I am just used to being on my toes. Unless the leash is not attached to a choke collar around the kids neck, they aren't appalling. :-)

Erin said...

I don't know if it is a boy thing. I recently had to "train" Gracie on the running out in front of me rule. She hasn't needed anything to hold her back because she "got it". She holds my hand now right when she realizes that we are walking out to where there are cars but it did take some training.

Stephanie said...

Yeah, my boy was NOT the problem. It's my dear Audrey. :-)
Even as go-go-go as she is, I still don't think I would personally ever use one. She is learning that when we are in a parking lot or crowd, etc., she is supposed to hold my hand. But it's still a struggle sometimes.

I saw SeVeRaL kids at the fair wearing one - older kids, maybe 4-6 years old, boys and girls. And it just blew my mind...

Saralyn said...

I'm a harness person 100%. It's not in lieu of training, but part of it when you have a child who's got a mind (and body!) of his own. I had one for my eldest--who, by the way, still has a mind and body of his own that needs constant restraining just in different ways--that went around his waist like a fanny pack and then had a telephone-like cord that went to my wrist. I always felt I was better safe than sorry. I didn't want my child who did not yet understand he needed to stay put getting hit by a car or disappearing into a crowd.

However, one Sunday a nursery worker at the huge church we attended didn't like the fact that my child was restrained and told me so. When he was in the nursery she had the audacity to dispose of it. The phrase, "Mind your own business," (among others) came to mind!

I guess the biggest thing to remember is that we have never walked a mile in any other mother's shoes. Grace covers a multitude of sins, not to mention differences of opinion.

Jane said...

It's not a "boy thing." I have four boys under 8, and have never used one. There have certainly been times when it would have been convenient, but it's just not for me.

We borrowed a friend's rule for parking lots: you have to keep one hand on the van when you get out. And we frequently use the "family train" method - everybody holding someone else's hand. A 2-year-old who sometimes struggles about holding Mom or Dad's hand will happily walk alongside big brother nearly every time!

I can understand/respect using harnesses occasionally, and in situations where there is potential danger (large crowds, bad traffic, etc). But I've seen one family in our town with a 3-year-old wearing one ALL THE TIME...at vacation Bible school (not in a very large church either), at the soccer field (no roads nearby and a huge open-grass space for kids to play). How is a child supposed to learn limits and appropriate behavior if you don't ever let them practice learning self-control?

I wouldn't use the term appalling. But I do think they are situation-appropriate and some people overuse them. Just my 2 cents.

Erin said...

I guess I must be out of touch because I RARELY see anyone with a child "on a leash". How strange... I wonder if it is more a city thing or a "new" environment thing...

And I kinda wonder who it helps more...the parents or the kids b/c I can certainly see how having 5 children on leashes would help me keep track of them.

Rebecca said...

Phew! Great conversation, ladies! I *love* when we can all just get along :>)

Rebecca said...

Anon: Your comment was deleted. Please reread the rules before posting on a Talk About It post. Thanks!

Jane said...

Erin,

I'm not in a city environment and I've seen these for a very long time (our oldest is 8 and I had seen them used before he was born). Maybe they just aren't popular in your area?

I've always wondered about the safety of these in another regard. Some parents I've seen leave them on the child while they are at the playground and the "leash" trails along behind them. Couldn't that get tangled on equipment or other children and cause someone to get hurt?