General Question

willbrawn's avatar

What do you think about children that wear leashes?

Asked by willbrawn (6609points) September 8th, 2008 from iPhone

I understand when your child has special needs and you use a leash to help control them. But when the child is normal I find it absurd. Learn how to be a good parent and control your children normally. Yours thoughts?

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27 Answers

eambos's avatar

I agree with you @will. Just take the time and learn how to properly control your child.

MrBlogger's avatar

If the child is normal I don’t really think a leash is necessary. People would probably make fun of him and it just looks silly sometimes.

willbrawn's avatar

it bothered me today because the child was normal and the parent was totally odd. Crazy world. People are sometime to paranoid.

2late2be's avatar

I bought a leash for my baby but never used it, as a parent I just need to be close to him to watch what and where is he going, I put it on once but we didn’t walk far from the car and I took it off… Poor babies, they like to run and be free, just be alert of them ☆

SuperMouse's avatar

As a parent, it is difficult for me to pass judgment on other parents feeling they need to have a harness for their child. I never used one with my boys, but I can understand why some moms do. I have seen moms chase their kids repeatedly halfway across the mall and that type of escape act can be frightening for the parents and very dangerous for the kids. Although I agree that the optimum is for a parent to “control” their child, there are children who are naturally wanderers and a harness may provide safety for the child and peace of mind for the parents.

Snoopy's avatar

As the parent of two toddlers, I cannot fathom a reason to use a leash. Even w/ a special needs child. I think it is humiliating and dehumanizing to the child. If I go somewhere where I feel my kids will get away from me or it could be dangerous if they do (e.g. parking lot) they are required to hold my hand.
When they start to “get away” from me in a store….we simply leave. They are learning that “going out” like that is a privilege and is fun repeatable event, as long as they mind their parents.
There is nowhere that they “need” to be other than preschool or the annual visit to the pediatrician. Anything else…..I either ascertain if they will mind, I don’t go or I go w/out them while they stay home w/ dad.

srmorgan's avatar

I have to take a little different tack here:

I recall keeping my middle child on a tether (some might call it a leash, it consisted of a loop around his wrist, closed by velcro with the same on my wrist, connected by a coil of plastic wire).

We used it only out in large crowds. I remember using it specifically when we used to go to summertime evening concerts, you know what I mean, come early, sit on the lawn and picnic and then listen to the music once the sun goes down.
From my perspective it allowed him more freedom to go exploring in the bushes, chattering with other people, etc. yet I know exactly where he was and I had complete control of his whereabouts.
I don’t think he was embarrassed or has suffered any blows to his esteem.

We got a comment occasionally but the kid seemed to enjoy not having to hold my hand all the time as he wandered around in the crowd.

My perspective anyway.

syz's avatar

When my sisters and I were kids, we wouldn’t have dreamed of running wild in a store or at the mall (because we understood the consequences). In my opinion, leashes are a way out for parents that haven’t bothered to do what they’re supposed to do and train their kids.

peteylove's avatar

My brother and sister have been raise really well, but there still toddlers and like to run around. So my little bro and sis like to run and play and sometimes something will catch their little 3 year old eye and they will make a dash for it. So whats worse putting them on a leash when we go to the mall or store when there isn’t a cart or them getting hit by a car or kidnapped? Its no different then holding their hand, you just have a more secure grasp on them.

FlutherMother's avatar

Do the “trained” children get a bone for good behavior? I too bought a leash like srmorgan (velcro wrist straps) as a last resort but I felt kind of weird using it so I never did. My oldest was a very active child from day one. He was rolling over on his own at 1 week old and climbed (no lie!) out of his crib at 10 months – no bumpers! – we thought he broke his knee that night he crashed really loudly to the floor. He was a very happy child all the time but he was everywhere at once. I tried everything (rewards, leaving the establishment, taking away toys) to keep him by my side at the store and trust me, if I had someone to watch him while I went, I took that opportunity. But, people, sometimes there is no choice and Dad’s on a business trip and you can’t starve just because the child “minds” going to the shop or that the local grocery is not on the list of the two places a child of that age “needs” to be. Besides, those of you who have been there know it is hard to hold open a glass door, reach for a gallon of milk, and keep hold of a squirmy child who wants to make a beeline for the eggs. And sometimes you HAVE to finish your shopping and you don’t have the opportunity to leave on a whim. By the way, I am talking about 1 to 3 year olds here – by 5, children (my son also) know how to behave in the store. Those who are parents know that despite the “hold my hand” there will be many times at the age when a child will squirm, twist and usually do the boneless trick (it’s like trying to get a grasp on jello) to get away from mom or dad and go running. It’s a measure of independence. John just did it more than any of my other kids. So I don’t reserve judgement for people who use any type of reasonable restraint. Of course, if the kid was 8 years old, that would be a different story. By the way, for all of those who think that I haven’t “properly took time to control my child” – he is now a 15 year old, honor student who takes college classes while being a starting football player for his high school. And he always gets kudos from coaches and teachers and parents and has won many awards for citizenship. So I guess my desperate inability to stop him from running, running, and running, never hurt him in the long run.

Snoopy's avatar

@fluthermother….in the example you give (1–3 years old in a grocery store)....why couldn’t the kid be contained in a grocery cart…?

FlutherMother's avatar

John used to climb out of everything! I mean, everything! Carts were no match and neither were the belts on them no matter how tight I got them. He would manage to twist and get his leg stuck and one time, even managed to get the cart rolling – I learned to keep my foot on the bottom rack to keep it from moving and to this day (youngest is 10), I still do it! I even tried those car style ones in hopes that he would be happy to stay in the car area – no luck. I also tried to hold him in whilst rushing around (maneuvering the cart to get through faster which isn’t easy with one hand). Trust me, I dreaded if I had to go. He was always social and a laugher and had great rapport with everyone so he wasn’t a crying kid, he just didn’t want to be contained anywhere. High chairs, car seats, crib. Once he walked, he was out of the playpen and the crib (don’t ask how – he just did it!). He was too big for a shoulder harness car seat, but I squished him in one just because he couldn’t climb out while I was driving. Did I mention he is 6 foot 3 and 215 pounds at only 15 now? My two other boys where NEVER like that, ever.

Snoopy's avatar

My local grocery store just got car shaped grocery carts (the kids sit inside the car, cart in front of that) that you can rent for $1 that have a little tv monitor in them for the kids to watch cartoons. I stopped a mom once and asked her what she thought….she said she LOVED (!!!!) it…..that the kids were happy and so was she…..Sounds like maybe you could have used that cart :)

FlutherMother's avatar

Those sound awesome! Wish they were around then as it would have been the best thing to rent. I love that dude so much, but I could have added another set of arms then and maybe some kiddie valium (I’m joking of course!). Now that he is 15, we can laugh about it. Of course, he loves the car now – he has his permit and he gets to drive everywhere practicing for the license test in December)! But I hope those carts with the t.v. are common when he has kids – especially if he gets one just like himself which I am not sure I will wish on him as the older me would be able to keep up. Speaking of John, he’s calling for a ride from practice. I will tell him I shared his story with you. Have a great one!

rowenaz's avatar

Why ask the question if you have an attitude about it?

MacBean's avatar

My parents had a “leash” for me when I was little. It was like what srmorgan described—velcro around my wrist, velcro around a parent’s wrist, and a stretchy coil connecting them. It was used in very crowded places like malls and amusement parks so that it would be more difficult for me to be stolen. I never wandered away. And sometimes I actually asked for it to be used in less crowded places.

aneedleinthehayy's avatar


EmpressPixie's avatar

My parents has the velcro leash for me too. They only used it a few times for crossing busy roads or in parking lots. It wasn’t that we’d wander off, but if it’s busy with cars, lagging behind a bit can kill a small person. But we didn’t like them, so they replaced it with the far superior “mom and dad hold your hand and you jump and swing between them which secretly kills their shoulders and backs because mom is super weak, but at least they know where you are” method.

I think they got the leash after I got lost in the grocery and couldn’t find them and flipped out. (They told me where they were going, but I wasn’t paying attention and when I turned around they were gone, just GONE.)

So I’m pro-leash when used appropriately.

rowenaz's avatar

Harness. Children are not dogs.

srmorgan's avatar

How many of you who criticize the occasional use of this device are actually parents and have had the crushing burden of being responsible 24/7 for the safety of a child?


Snoopy's avatar

@srmorgan. Me.

rowenaz's avatar

You can’t always hold a toddler’s hand, and you can’t always trust that they will listen EVERY TIME even if you ARE the best SuperParent the world has got to offer. So let them have a little freedom within 6 feet or whatever, feel safe, and the parent doesn’t have to have that “I just turned my head for a split second” and the child was gone feeling. If I had a toddler, I’d use it.

Snoopy's avatar

@rowenaz. Certainly it is your perogative to use it…..but I have yet to see anyone post a compelling reason to get me to change my views of these devices. Interestingly, I would have been less dogmatic when I didn’t have two toddlers of my own. Now, with two kids, I can see that they are useless. Having your kids tethered to you in this way (beyond looking ridiculous, in my opinion) gives one a false sense of security. The child isn’t safer or more secure.

Envision a child who is “6 feet” in front of you….in a parking lot, a mall, an airport. Approaching a corner. Kid gets squished by a 200 lb man rounding the corner running for his plane. Car suddenly backs up in the parking lot…..Whatever. If the kid is next to me, holding my hand, I have the chance to yank him/push him to safety or physically take the brunt of whatever the impact at hand is…..

Toddlers can be difficult. No doubt about it…I have two. I would buy anything/do anything to stack the odds in my kids favor as far as safety is concerned. Based on my personal experiences, these devices don’t qualify.

srmorgan's avatar

I went to THE expert on this: my wife…

who reminded me that we used this contraption with Peter only at those summer concerts we used to attend when we lived in New York or at one of the local playgrounds near the house that was not fenced in one on of its sides so that a kid could run into traffic.

And we used this only when he was between 18 months and three years old and we used it infrequently. But it did give him a little bit more freedom to explore in the bushes and walk around without Dad having to hover over him constantly.

You would have to be absolutely crazy to attach a child to yourself in this mannner and walk through a parking lot.
SNOOPY is absolutely right on this point.

In the streets, at the mall, going food shopping, the child belongs in a stroller or should be firmly attached physically to the parent, holding a hand, carried, whatever.


SuperMouse's avatar

Leash or no leash, in a parking lot it is always “two hands on the car for safety” or while we are walking “hold on the to the stroller/shopping cart/mom’s hand for safety.”

I have shared that I didn’t use harnesses when my kids were young, but I have to disagree with Snoopy. I don’t think they give parents a false sense of security. I think the security that comes with the harness is genuine. If my kid was going to turn a corner and be squished by a large human being, at least I would know that the kid had turned the corner and exactly where the kid was. Also, better squished than snatched.

rowenaz's avatar

The question wasn’t about where to use them, it was what do you think? Fools are fools, and whether you let them (the child) six feet ahead of you to get run over in a parking lot or trust that they are going to obey your every commant at age four and they don’t, the result is still the same. People have to use sound judgement, and using a harness in a parking lot with a child who is too far away is just as unsound as believing that even the best of parents has total and complete control over their child (or children) all the time, and that child won;t skip ahead just at the worst possible moment.

I don’t think children in harnesses look anything but like children in harnesses. Some are cute, some are monsters, some are angels, whatever.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Kind of off topic, but last weekend I saw a kid in a great harness (the kind I would actually call a harness, not a leash). The leash part was attached to a monkey. The monkey was holding onto the kid for dear life—arms over the shoulders, legs around the waist like a back pack kind of but with a stuffed toy. It was cute.

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