I recently took part in adding my two cents onto a forum at Moms.com about my opinion on leashes for kids. Someone wanted to know if they were useless. I couldn’t really say I felt they are useless and just like with most parental decisions, I have to only base my personal opinion on items, such as kid leashes, based on my own strong parental beliefs and experiences. I decided that I wanted to open my mind about this topic and find someone who could give me valid life lesson or some opinion on kid leashes that would allow me to better comprehend why some parents choose leashes for kids. I honestly have not yet been 100% convinced why a leash versus a stroller for kid makes any sense. At all.
Maybe you can read this, comment and change my mind, but for now… I just don’t get why a leash for kids is the answer beyond this; being a daycare provider with multiple young kids under their watch OR a parent with multiple young kids under their watch who wouldn’t necessarily fit into today’s stroller options. Any other reason given to me, such as a child being a bolter or a handful didn’t sell me on this topic of kids leashes and here’s why ….
I have three children; a girl age 11 and two boys who are now 5 & 7 years old. My boys are 2 years 6 days apart, so I get the whole handful comments, and bolter comments. My sons were bolters, come to find out my middle child, Aj shown above in the orange is actually on the spectrum, so he didn’t comprehend dangers in the way an every day child would possibly comprehend at a younger age. Honestly though, no kid really understands danger until maybe they have experienced or witnessed a dangerous scenario. It’s all about experiences in life even for children before we fully comprehend the depth of our actions. I get it, a leash for a child keeps them close, it keeps them from bolting off and thus possibly getting harmed badly or worse, killed. I have compassion for those parents who worry about that, I get it, raising kids is scary. Sadly, with or without a leash, our children can get hurt or have an untimely death, we just can’t spend our days in fear of that, I would rather teach the kids ways to be safe through consequences. A kid leash doesn’t teach any consequence, in my opinion.
I feel that a stroller makes way more sense than a kids leash and here’s why:
- I owned a double stroller for my bolting sons; if they were slipping out of my hand or I couldn’t seem to grab their wrist in a strong enough hold to teach them “we hold hands with an adult when we walk”, then they went into that stroller. This made my son’s upset because they no longer could be mobile and on their own two feet.
- The stroller taught a consequence; you bolt, you don’t listen to the rule of holding an adults hand, then you get buckle into a stroller for either a period of time or the full time we are walking. The boys learned quickly that they would much rather deal with holding an adults hand, being safe, then be strapped up in a stroller.
- A leash doesn’t teach the children that they lose something for being a bolter, in essence a kids leash simply keeps them at arms length, separates the child from any physical touch of their parent and in turn could have issues with being too close to someone. I think the kids leash can actually deter a child from learning true consequences and alleviate a parents need to teach any life lessons regarding dangers in our world.
- A leash allows the child to have mobility, yes, I get it. I think that’s great, but on the other hand, I feel that a child needs to learn if they are not safe that they lose that freedom of being able to walk on their own two feet. In other words: they want to act amuck and not be safe, then they lose the ability to be trusted to walk with their parents and will be restrained into a stroller. Basically if a child is put on a leash, then they are never given the freedom to live and learn, they are essentially being sheltered and not being taught to make proper decisions.
While I feel extremely strong about not using kid leashes, that doesn’t mean I judge another parent when I witness a child on a leash. I tend to shake my head and frown because I feel that poor child isn’t learning anything. In many cases, you see parents with kids on leashes while they are chatting or texting on their cell phone, in those scenarios I really cringe. It’s parents who use leashes for kids as a means to not have to parent that really gives those parents who use leashes, in their own opinion, for true and valid reasons. It’s a tricky subject and it’s a tough world we live in, but I am just old school in methods of teaching consequences for actions, do I want my child hit by a car? Do I want my child to get hurt badly? NO I don’t, but we can’t bubble wrap our kids forever. At some point we have to teach them the dangers of the world we live in and consequences for actions, if you start at a young age it will stick far into their teen years.
Now it’s your turn … leashes for kids? Do you say yes or no? Why?