PreK On a Leash
Look, we’ve all seen the pictures. You’re scrolling through your newsfeed and the next thing you know-BAM- there it is. A picture of some super-parent dragging their two year old across the floor of your local Walmart by the rope attached to their furry little turtle backpack. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there, the equivalent of a 2007 Brittney breakdown. When your precious two year old channels her inner Usain Bolt at the grocery store slap in the middle of pay day rush your first thought isn’t exactly what color jersey they’ll be wearing at their first track meet. In today’s day and age it never hurts to be a little more cautious. So, what’s up with the leashing stigma? Among the pro-leashing community there seems to be one, common, complaint which is simply… other people’s complaints. So where, other than Reddit’s “Kids on Leashes” column, did an attempt to help keep our children safe go wrong?
What’s the Facts Say?
A poll consisting of parents of all different demographics concerning their take on leashing did not turn out exactly as one may have predicted. Of the 31 parents polled ten responded with a definite “No” and 12 with a definite “Yes”. Perhaps even more surprising, 9 out of the 31 admitted that while they would not personally use the leash, they understood why other parents would choose to. What this means is that the vast majority of your typical parents are not out there on a witch hunt looking to “free” leashed toddlers, which is progress in what seems to be a never-ending “mommy war” concerning all things parenting.
When Leashing Goes Too Far
As with anything there is always a wrong way to do it. Most parents who strongly oppose leashing typically cite a preconceived notion that the parents in question are “lazy” and refuse to or simply cannot discipline their children. From the many, many circulating pictures of toddlers tethered to their parents making snow angels on aisle 10, this can be an easy assumption to make. As with any kind of parenting tool, such as monitors and pacifiers, leashes were not originally intended to be used in place of good parenting techniques and discipline. It’s important to note that while every child and parent are different, teaching them self-control will always be more beneficial in the long run than simply putting them on a leash. So, with all that out of the way, how can leashing help you and your child (and I promise it can)?
Maybe It Isn’t SO Bad
Not one child is the same, and thus, no one parenting technique is the same either. In some cases traditional parenting and discipline techniques simply will not work. Special needs children and children with mental disabilities easily fall into this category. For parents of special needs children leashing can be a viable option for keeping their child safe while out and about. While it’s not a cure all, it certainly ensures some peace of mind for the parent, so think of that next time you start to glare at the next leashed kid you run across.
Good Things Come in Two’s…. Right?
Another situation in which leashing can be helpful is with multiple children. Go ahead and give it up y’all, no one is perfect. As much as we like to think it, we’re not super-parents. In families with multiple small children it is HARD (and I mean hard) to keep track of all those squirming hands, feet, and heads. So go ahead, leash them up. No one should ever fault you for acting with your children’s best interest in mind. If that means buying them a super cute backpack of their favorite animal which just-so-happens to be attached to a leash, all the better.
You, Too, Can Have a Magical Time
Lastly, there is the obvious fact that it happens to be a lot safer for your children in high volume traffic areas. Of the parents that supported leashing use, the vast majority of them claimed to use them only in extremely highly populated areas, such as Disneyland. This makes leashing completely understandable as even the best kid can get a little flighty when seeing their favorite princess (or prince) in real life for the first time. Losing your child in a large crowd can be extremely terrifying, and for good reason. Child abductions are rising in the United States, and with that in mind nothing seems unreasonable concerning the safety of your child.
What Do I Have to Look Forward to?
Our world is ever-changing, and with that comes awesome new technology to help us become better and better parents. As for leashing, this area is no different. Currently in patent are several new, innovative ways of keeping track of your little ones. In the future you will most likely start seeing retractable leashes with plenty of storage for all your snack-taking, toy-bringing needs. Also, innovators are working towards what they call “Safe and Sound” a type of wireless leash that sets boundaries and alerts you to when your child leaves these designated areas.
Again, let us let go of the stigmas attached to different parenting techniques and rather try to understand the differences in us all, child and parent. While leashing is not a sufficient alternative to parenting and discipline, it’s irrational to overlook its possibly productive qualities and uses. Leashing can help keep your child safe, ultimately, and anything that can do that is a win in my book.
By Hannah Clayton