Rie Williams probably knew she was going to spark a debate when she posted this question on Facebook group, Midnight Mums.
“My partner wants to get one of those children leashes for our son, as he’s worried about him running off when we are out,” she wrote. “Now, I’m highly against them, as I believe if you are watching your child properly, then them taking off shouldn’t be an issue, and I feel like I’m walking with a dog, not a child.”
Putting a kid on a leash is an issue that divides parents all over the world, and has done for years.
When US daddy blogger Clint Edwards revealed in June that he sometimes put his daughter Aspen on a leash, he drew thousands of comments on his Facebook post and even made the TV news.
The anti-leash brigade condemn leashes as lazy parenting. The anti-leashers tend to be the people who have calm, reasonable kids that respond to those parenting techniques you read about in books. Or maybe they’re people who aren’t parents yet but know an awful lot about parenting.
The pro-leash brigade tend to be parents just trying to keep their kids alive. “Lazy” is one thing they’re not.
Becoming a parent makes you an expert in your own children. That’s it. If you have a toddler who is happy to hold your hand or walk calmly next to you wherever you go, congratulations. Just don’t take too much of the credit.
There are calm, reasonable kids, and then there are bolters and wanderers and wild children.
My daughter was a wanderer when she was little. Never saw any need to stay anywhere near me.
With two kids, I got by with a lot of hand-holding, fenced playgrounds and family outings where it was one parent per child. I didn’t use a leash, but I could certainly see why other parents did.
The sad thing is that a lot of the pro-leash brigade feel like they need to justify what they’re doing.