Saturday, 10 March 2012

To Leash Or Not To Leash?

I was in the mall yesterday with some friends and this woman sauntered by with her two sons and daughter on a white dog leash. I about died. It was the first time I had ever seen anything like that and I immediately went over there and asked this frizzy haired, heavyset, forty-something-year-old lady what was the deal?

"I don't want them running around and causing trouble," she said. "This is easier for me."

So you don't care that you treat them like wild dogs?

She laughed. "Nope. They're my kids and if I didn't do this they'd get lost or break things."

I sympathize with her, I really do, but I think there are better ways. Good behavior starts at home--I'm old school like that. If you set boundaries for your kids and discipline them the right way, then they'll understand that mommy is in control and if I do this and that there'll be consequences. You also have to set rules when you enter a public place. Pull the children aside, kneel at eye level and inform them that mommy or daddy wants good behavior; tell them that they could get lost and mommy and daddy might never see them again; make them aware that they are not to touch people's property without consent; and last but not least, reward them with a treat if they follow mommy or daddy's wishes.

I'm no expert but this is how I would do it. Me and my sisters were never rowdy kids because we knew if we dare stepped out of line, our ass would be on fire when we got home.

But I digress. In my humble and everyday-guy experience, kids on leashes is a lazy approach to parenting. Not to mention, visually appalling. There are many who agree and there are some who don't.

Here is an expose on this very issue by ABC.

What are your views on this issue? To leash or not to leash?


Cassie Mae said...

I understand to each his own in this case. I don't use a leash on my kids, but then again, I only have two, so I have enough hands to handle, lol. I do the kneel down look them in the eye dealio, which works maybe half the time. But that's just the way it goes. If they've had too much sugar or they're way excited, it's just gonna be one of those days. I knew when I signed up for the parenting gig it wasn't gonna be easy. Some days, ya, I want a leash. But to be honest, knowing my kids, it would be more of a hassle than not using one.

T.D. McFrost said...

I look forward to being a dad someday. I am so great with kids, I don't know why. And the thing is: most guys my age hate them. I'm like seriously, they're great!

I'll be one of those dads who has the baby on the safety vest thingy strapped on my chest, pushing the other toddler in a carriage with my ten year old beside me, strolling down the street. :D

I can't wait!

D.G. Hudson said...

I don't like the leashes, but I understand the frustration of a busy mother and rowdy kids.

Discipline won't be learned this way. Kids need to learn about consequencies and how to behave in public. Imagine spouses keeping their partner on a leash to keep them from spending.

Let's keep the dogs and kids separate.

Your title caught my eye. Link to blog (one of two):

DG Hudson - Rainforest Writing

T.D. McFrost said...

LOL. I have a feeling some folks would rather enjoy putting their spouse on a leash. ;)

Cassie Mae said...

Ah! The baby vest! Guys look so hot in those, lol.

Yeah, I'll def. be investing in one of those if a third decides to come my way :)

T.D. McFrost said...

LOL! Baby Vest FTW! :D

Kyra Lennon said...

Your comment on my blog just vanished, but you can still join in and do the blogfest over the weekend if you want. We haven't picked winners yet ;)

I don't agree with leashes for kids either. I understand that it must be frustrating and scary to worry about your kids running away but treating them like dogs is not the answer. Good on you for speaking up!

T.D. McFrost said...

It'll feel a bit weird jumping in this late. I'll join the next one. I hope you do another real soon. :D

Kyra Lennon said...

It was a lot of fun, so I probably will do another one sometime! :D

T.D. McFrost said...

I can't wait!

elizabeth seckman said...

I bought a leash when my oldest son was 18 months old and we were going to be going through busy airports. I was afraid I would lose him! Hah. In a crowd, he stuck to me like glue! And I figured out the most natural solution...he could hold my hand!

You're absolutely right, kids learn by being taught. There are no quick fixes, you just have to parent and sometimes it means chasing after a kid.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, my brother and I would've been DEAD had we stepped out of line.
Part of it is the change in the times. Time out? Sure, send me to my room for an hour. You won't see me for six!
Ultimately, it's rather sad.

T.D. McFrost said...

Hi Eliz!

See, you didn't need to treat the kid like an animal after all. :D

Alex: I never got time outs, just plain butt whoppin'! It's not how I will train my kids but that's how our parents did things.

Congrats on the launch of your new book! ^_^

jonyangorg said...

Children should not be leashed! I was in the opposite camp until my friends with kids broke it down for me. Now I'm positively anti-leash!

C.M.Brown said...

Tyson, I never used leashes on my kids, far too close to treating them like animals with small brains rather than humans with developing brains!
Just didn't sit right with me! Shows a lack of parenting skills too!
Anyway I am here to tag you in the Lucky se7en game, hope you will particapate! Find out the deatails at my site!

T.D. McFrost said...

Glad you converted Jony! :D

And I'll definitely play C.M., it'll be my pleasure!

Angela M. said...

I have five children so I can certainly understand the concept. You have no idea how freakishly difficult and scary it is to keep track of them all in a dense crowd. One could be taken in less than a second while you deal with one of the other children. I, however, have never used a leash and would never use one. I enlist helpers when I go into crowded situations (i.e., Disneyland).

Though I understand the concept, that situation is never the reality. I see it used not as a security aid, but as a lazy-parenting aid by those who don't want to chase after their children or make them behave properly so they don't have to chase them. I'm not saying everyone who uses a leash is like this, but that's all I've ever personally seen. And yes, it is very visually appalling. The only thing that could make it worse is to add a collar with spikes...

T.D. McFrost said...

Very well said Angela. Thanks for stopping by! ^_^

Emily S said...

I can't believe you went up to her and said something. I'm surprised she took it so well.

What's more important, your child's safety or what strangers think of you? No one should ever judge or assume something, they don't know what that person is dealing with (especially if you don't have kids).

I have some very hyper boys and I've only used a leash twice in my life (in mexico). BUT there were plenty of times when I know people wished I used a leash (like in walmart or when I'm trying to hold a newborn while chasing another boy to the other end of the mall).

I say give the lady a break. If she was as frazzled as you describe then I'm sure she had a hard enough day without you coming along to judge her.

T.D. McFrost said...

You make some valid points Emily. For me, it just doesn't bode well with my way of doing things. It seemed wrong and I had to inquire about it.

Now that you mention it, it is pretty awesome that she took it so well, huh? All things aside, she was an exceptionally nice lady.

It's nice to see others with strong and independent-minded opinions. When it's all said and done, whatever works for you and I agree with Cassie: to each his own.

Thanks for being honest Emily. ^_^

Tabitha Olson said...

Um... HELL no.

I think leashes on children are for lazy parents. Not that I'm opinionated or anything... :) I've got two energetic boys, and I work very hard to teach them manners, accountability, and that there are consequences for their actions. There is a time and a place for running around. A public place is NOT one of them, and if they do then they know they will be in deep doo-doo when they get home. :) They are old enough now that I can give them 'the look' when they step across the line, and they will immediately straighten up. But that's only come from years of consistent action-reaction consequences on my part.

Raising kids isn't easy--not by a long shot. But it's our responsibility as parents to take on that job and give our kids the best we can. That means structure and boundaries, not toys and games.

T.D. McFrost said...

I love you Tabitha! ^_^

Esther Spurrill-Jones said...

I have one younger sister and six younger brothers, and my mom used leashes on a lot of them. When you're trying to keep track of that many kids in a grocery store, even with the older ones helping out, it's just impossible without some kind of physical connection.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

My opinion is that if it works, don't fix it. The lady obviously knows her limitations as a parent and a human being. If the leash is what works for her, then that will have to do.

I work with all kinds of people every day in my job for voc rehab. Some people cannot even turn a computer on and get flustered by even pressing a button. I spent twenty minutes today just trying to impress upon a lady that she could plug her phone into a dial up modem so that when she wasn't using the modem, she could still use her phone. She couldn't figure out that the modem would act as a bridge between the phone cord and the one jack she has in her house.

So given my understanding of things that I may take for granted, I understand how people could want to use a leash to control their children. Obviously, it is not the correct solution to you...a healthy intelligent young man who has other options. But if a person is not as healthy as you, has an IQ of 80, and enough energy to maybe get by on four hours a day of actual work before collapsing in exhaustion...there are going to be other considerations. And yes...these people get knocked up all the time. So yes...they have kids and breed.

Anonymous said...

I'm anti-leash, too. I can see if a parent is by him/herself and may have his/her hands busy, or maybe they have several kids. Maybe they're afraid in large crowds (I let go of my mom's hand in a large crowd once and it was terrible feeling). But, overall, I don't approve of leashes.

I'm old school as well. I knew how to behave in public and never got out of control, and I held the hand of a parent--we didn't have kid leashes in my time. As a teacher, I'm also seeing some things in my students and their parents that I don't like, which are huge differences from how I was raised, but I won't go into that because then my comment will become long-winded.

T.D. McFrost said...

Breed sounds like such a feral word to use in regard to humans, Michael. It made me laugh.

I am against leashes, that is understood, but I will not condemn it, call social services or do anything drastic--it's your kids so do whatever. As long as their happy and healthy, I'm fine.

I knew this topic was going to spark great debate and I'm glad I chose it over Kony 2012. :D

Tracey Neithercott said...

No, I don't think kids need to be leashed in order for them to behave in a public place. But if I were to go that route, I would also cage my children. As a former babysitter, I know that children left uncaged in the house will chew on your shoes, pee on the floor, and squirt chocolate syrup from the balcony down the wall (true story).

(Also, I'm totally kidding. I'm never sure if the Internet can understand sarcasm, and I'd hate for you to think I'm pro-cage.)

T.D. McFrost said...

Of course I know it's all in jest,Tracey, but there are some folks who are WAYYY too politically correct.

I used to pee in my mom's high heels; She even has the video to prove it. :D

Elise Fallson said...

Hahah! My mom used the kid leash once on me when I was 5. And when I started barking like a dog in a store filled with people, she took it off and never used it again!

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