Thursday, October 18, 2012

Your Kid's Name Is... Fido??

There are a few parenting practices that seriously urk my nerves. A few months ago I wrote about my biggest parenting pet peeve ever, which boiled down to saying "If you do that one more time..." and never following through with the consequence. I absolutely hate that. The next one is a close second.

Courtesy of FMLFTW
Kids on leashes.

They aren't leashes, Tatted Mom. 

I hear that crap all the time by people who put their kids on a leash. Kid keeper, safety harness, whatever in the hell you want to call it, let's get real- it's a leash.

Why on earth would you want to put your child on a leash? Is the child a pet? Do you put your kid's food on the floor, too, and make them slop it up like an animal? Do you hose the kid down outside before letting them come into the house? Do you give your kid flea baths?

Then why in the hell would you put your kid on a leash? To me, this is one of the laziest parenting practices ever. Either hold the child's hand while walking, put the kid in a stroller or pick the kid up. The kid leash is ridiculous and needs to be outlawed.

I've brought up my disdain for kid leashes to close friends and relatives, and most of them agreed with me. Few, though, either had used kid leashes or had no problem with using kid leashes, so that's when the debate would begin.

Here are some actual reasons that have been used to support kid leashes... and my rebuttal.

Safety harnesses keep the parents close to the child while out in public.
So does holding a child or putting them in a stroller.

My kid wriggles out of my grip when holding my hand.
Then put the kid in a stroller or pick them up.

It allows a child to safely explore their surroundings while still having boundaries.
Either let the kid explore their surroundings or keep them from exploring their surroundings, but putting them on a kid leash confuses them. They see a pretty flower approximately 6 feet away
from them and when they go toward the flower they can move. When they get 2 feet or so away from the flower, BAM! They are stopped dead in their tracks, maybe even to the point of falling backward, and can just solemnly look at the flower that's just outside of their reach. If you are going to let your child explore their surroundings, then make sure you are on your toes to run after them at the drop of a hat. Or walk right next to them while they do so, but let them explore everything themselves, without a harness.

I always know where my child is when I use one of them.
Because people always lost their kids before the invention of kid leashes? Do you normally not pay attention to where your child is unless you are using a kid leash? If so, we have a bigger problem on our hands.

Putting a kid who can walk into a stroller is adding to the child obesity epidemic in America. If my kid can walk, they will walk, and a kid leash helps me control them while they are walking.
Courtesy of Candor News
So, let me get this straight. Your, let's say 13 month old, can walk but you wouldn't put them into a stroller because you are scared of them getting fat? A toddler (the age group demographic the kid leashes are supposed to be used for) can walk but has not been walking very long and has to take 2-3 times as many steps to keep up with an adult. You would rather harness your kid and make them walk than save yourself some strife of having them tire 10 minutes into walking by putting them into a stroller? And strollers don't cause obesity. The cheeseburger, extra fries, sugar-laden soda, apple pie and candy bar you just fed your 2 year old before you put them into the stroller causes obesity. Any kid older than 3 or 4  shouldn't be in a harness, anyway. A child at this age should understand the word 'no', and they are more able to keep up with walking. Furthermore, I hope by the word 'control' you don't mean pulling the kid along by the leash, because I've seen more and more of that with these things than proper use of them.

My kid has lots of energy and doesn't like to be in a stroller.
I'm sorry, I was under the impression you were the parent. It seems to me that your kid has you wrapped around his or her finger, so you just let them do whatever they want. My kids didn't always like sitting in strollers, either. I'd let them walk beside me, holding my hand, but would warn them that if they ran off or wiggled out of my hand, they'd be put back into the stroller. First wiggle, they went back into the stroller, screaming at the top of their lungs. They knew the consequence. Tough crap.

I have always been opposed to kid leashes, ever since my children were small enough to have used one. I had friends who leashed their kids, and I always asked them why they would do that to their kid. I heard everything, and honestly not a single excuse or reason made me ever look at kid leashes differently. I wouldn't fill a bowl with food and set it on the floor for my kids to eat at meal time, I wouldn't give my kids a flea bath, I wouldn't put a cone around my kid's head if it was scratching at something it shouldn't have been, I wouldn't put my kid in a kennel to sleep at night, and I wouldn't put a leash on my kid. My kids are not dogs, they are humans.

All of that was my serious view on kids on leashes, but I'm hoping some of you out there remember the video clip below. Whenever I see a kid on a leash, I immediately think Mike Myers in that Saturday Night Live skit, and I start to laugh hysterically. I would never want my kid to go through this... yet another reason to keep kids off of leashes.

Make sure you pee before you hit 'play'. This is one of the funniest SNL skits ever! Enjoy!!

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  1. Nope. I disagree with you on this one. I never put my kids on a leash, but there were instances when I would have liked to have one, like in the airport when I was trying to get three kids 5 and under from one plane to the next in a different concourse with a stroller and two carseats. Oh yeah, I should probably get mom of the year for that one. We barely made the flight, but it would have been nice not to have to worry about the two year old getting jostled out of my purview by all the people.

    Also, I have a friend who has triplet toddlers. Trust me when I say she uses leashes. Why would she get out the triplet stroller just to walk into the grocery store? But she can't carry all three of them, nor can she hold all three hands. She also has a rope that she's training them to hold onto, but in the meantime, they're on leashes.

    I don't have a problem with them. Whether you have your kid on a leash or not, you're going to be a good or bad parent either way.

    1. I thought about the people with multiples when I saw a picture of a mom using the leash for this purpose, but I can't help but think that triplets and above were dealt with before the invention of kid leashes. If used correctly, sure, they can be helpful, but I see entirely too many of them used out of parenting laziness.

      And personally, I just couldn't get over the fact that my kid was on a leash, like a dog. =(

  2. I am going to have to disagree on this also. I haven't used one but I can understand why someone would. All it takes is being distracted for a second and a child can disappear. In a perfect world there would be no distractions but this is obviously not a perfect world.

    1. Okay, in my research, I saw this short little leash thing that went from the kid's wrist to the mom's wrist. It was only about 9" long, and its purpose was kinda like the strap on the Wii remote- the kid and mom held hands and walked, but if the kid wriggled out really quickly, the mom could grab their hand really quickly. For some reason, THAT one didn't seem as bad to me. It wasn't a leash so much as a safety strap. Those seem like perfectly fine tools for motherhood than the backpacks that have leashes on them that let the kid stray 3 feet from the mom and then have to be yanked back.

  3. I TOTALLY agree with you! Can't stand them. Teaching your children how to be good listeners and follow directions, i.e. hold my hand/stay next to me or get in the stroller, is an important life skill. Too many parents don't follow through with their consequences and the children are the ones hurt by this because they grow up to be people who don't follow the rules and expect everything to be handed to them. I also have a friend with triplets, and she may use them on occasion, but I'm fairly certain those are not the people Tatted Mom was referring to in this post.

    1. Blogger needs a simple 'like' button for comments, like on facebook. I keep searching for a button to 'like' your comment and there isn't one, lol. Very nicely stated, I agree with you!

  4. Leashes are for animals. If you teach your children not to act like animals, then you don't need a freaking leash.
    I have three kids. I've done airports, zoo's, grocery stores, museums, etc. without my spouse (he works a crazy schedule, if we waited for him we would never go anywhere). I have never ever used a leash or a rope. If my hands are not available, like at the airport when I'm wrangling diaper bags and purses, the kids had their hands in my pockets, and whichever kid didnt' get a pocket got one of the other kids hands. At the store, I have one in the cart, and one one both sides of me, either with a hand holding on to my pants pocket so I could feel them, or with a hand on the cart so I could see them. They have wandered off, maybe two steps before I see that their little kid brain got distracted and they let go, but I reminded them to grab on before they get left behind. I have never had a kid run away from me. I taught them early on when they learned how to walk that running from me was not acceptable behavior (because mommy doesn't run so she will not chase you and you will get lost :-). I have never even wished I had the option to use a leash, I am fully aware that my job as a parent is to let my kid explore, while I am there, or within arms reach, or whatever is safe for the time and place. My youngest is almost four and we still get strollers at the zoo or Disneyworld. His legs are little. He gets in and out when he wants. He's not strapped in, why should his little legs have to run through the park just to keep up to my walk? He's not obese, he's well behaved, he's perfect.
    So, no to leashes. They are degrading and inhumane. I can say with all honesty that my judgy alert goes off as soon as I see a kid on a leash. I know, I'm terrible, but thats my opinion.

    1. I had completely forgotten about the pockets thing until you said something. I used to have The Ginger put his hand in my pocket at the grocery store, or hold on to the cart. Hell, to this day I still have to make him do that sometimes when his little 7 year old self sees something pretty on one of the aisles, lol. And when The Girl was 3 and The Ginger was 1, I would have her "help" me push the stroller with The Ginger in it. This way, she was in between me and the stroller, I knew where she was, she was safe, and was thinking she was a big girl by helping me push her little brother.

      Well stated, Leashless. ;)

  5. PANTS! Your video can only be streamed in the US. Bum!

  6. Sorry, I need to disagree as well. Thought processes play a part here. If your mind tells you that leashes are for "dogs only", then you will have a "your kid's a dog" sort of reaction to a leash. Release judgment. Parenting in this day and age is tough enough without being judged for trying to keep your child near in a public place. No matter how much wonderful parenting may have taken place prior, at any given time some children may pull a 'runner' if they are excited enough. I live in a mountain town surrounded by walking trails with steep cliffs reaching into fast, deep rivers. I have many times wished I had something to keep my toddler at a solid close range while he dashes ahead and I have my newborn in a sling or stroller. For now, I am lucky that I can grab his attention in time. Not so for everyone. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

  7. Ha ha ha...I would have totally agreed with you about this...but...the thing is...we've made all sorts of concessions since bringing home our twins. We bought a baby gate. And then another one. It's like a disease. I'm doing all those things I thought "lazy parents" did. Ha. I could see us buying leashes for the airport when they're 2 yr olds...

  8. I also disagree since I personally use one when I go to Disneyland. I also thought it was kind of weird but once at Disneyland she started running and I lost sight of her for a couple of seconds between a lot of people that I freaked out and started crying just thinking of what if I would have lost her or someone could have taken her. Since then I use one when we go to Disneyland. That place is so huge and anyone can easily lose a kid there or have someone snatch them up. I will rather get judge by some parents than lose my kid