I’ve never been a fan of kid leashes since it just seems strange to wrangle your child the same way you would a dog. I thought they were going out of style and then BAM!!! I saw two this week and it has me wondering what’s up?
The first one I saw was the monkey backpack kind where they’ve made domesticating your child via a rope seem cute. The kid wears a harness that has a stuffed monkey on the back, the monkey has leash, and the parent holds the leash. Okay, this one is kind of cute and I guess you are supposed to feel like you have a monkey on the leash and the monkey is holding your kid. We were at the zoo when we saw this, the kid was about a 1-year-old, and the parents had other kids slightly older they were chasing after. While I think a leash on a kid looks as natural as a leash on a cat I understood this scenario and brushed off as “not what I’d do but I get it.” The parents had kids in strollers as well as kids running, they were at the zoo which was crowded, there were live animals, there were high walkways and fences, and the turtles in the petting area can be aggressive when going after that leaf of lettuce. I’ll give you that one…its a “just in case.”
Then…yesterday happened. Kate and I were sitting outside at a cafe when we saw another kid on a leash. This kid was probably about 6 years old…which right there should make you feel creepy that she’s on a leash. The leash was strapped to her wrist and holding the human end of it (because lets face it…you’ve deemed your kid a pet at this point) is a grandmother who is slow, but fully mobile. The little girl wasn’t walking or running ahead of Grandma The Kid Owner…no, she just walked slowly along side her with the leash slack between them…like a well-trained dog. That is what it looked like, a kid who had been well-trained to wear a leash. It was spooky. There were no crowds of people, no live animal cages she could fall into, she was not mentally challenged, and the cafe was in a strip mall in Wichita, KS. Let me say that again, a strip mall. There is no foot traffic in a strip mall. So, Grandma The Kid Owner parades her dog-child past us to the car where she lets her in…then releases her from her leash. Good girl…goooooood girl.
WHAAAAT?!!! Is this legal? Look, I love gadgets and stuff that make parenting easier. Why? Because it makes parenting easier. However, in all circumstances I parent before resorting to gadgeting. Max walks next to me, holds my hand, etc. when we go out because I’ve parented him to know he needs to stick close and (wait for it) look both ways before crossing the street. If I say, “Wait please.” He waits. If he won’t wait, I pick him up or ask him why he won’t wait. Can you imagine how humiliating it must be to be old enough to dress yourself and go to school…but you have to wear a leash when Grandma wants to go to Dress Barn at the ole strip mall. It’s a leash. A LEASH! Why not just stick a shock collar on her and zap her anytime she’s more than a few feet from you? Does she sleep in a tiny house in the back yard? If she gets really sick, does she get put down? A LEASH!!! For a kid! If a kid on a leash meets a dog on a leash do they sniff each other? Does the dog get confused? If the owner-end of a kid-leash is attached to a dog, who is walking who? Who is the pet? Who is the owner?
As kids get older they develop personalities and don’t always do what you ask them to. This is when you really start parenting…and restraining them physically isn’t going to work. You don’t own them. They are not property. You are their parents and you need to teach them how to be a person. In all seriousness, if you have ever seen a person with a dog on a leash that can’t control the dog…its most likely because the dog has not been trained or is unfamiliar with how to walk with a person. If you see a kid on a leash and the adult can’t control the kid what do you think is going on? Is it a bad kid…or has the parent not taught the kid how to behave in public? It’s the screaming kid at the restaurant who has never had dinnertime with the parents at home. It’s the toddler glued to a video game because they haven’t been taught how to socialize with other kids. It’s the kid on the leash because they’ve never been told, “You need to hold my hand when we’re walking in the strip mall.”
Parent your kids…don’t train them.
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