“You know, that’s a child not a dog!”
“Oh my God, really?! Thank you so much for telling me! I guess puppy chow and sleeping in a crate is out then too, huh? Can I still use the shock collar?”
Seriously, people, just shut up.
No matter what a parent does, there’s always going to be someone who needs to throw in their personal opinion about a total stranger’s parenting methods.
Maybe nobody else’s kid ever had a gap between being too big for a stroller and gaining impulse control, but mine sure as hell have. They see something, anything, and they want to go tearing after it, right this very now. Every single one of my kids went through a serious gap between wanting and needing to walk, and having the ability to listen to their Dad or me, and hold a damn hand in public.
Ever been out for a walk in the winter and have your toddler take off toward the road, leaving you holding their empty mitten? I have.
Ever wrangle two kids, under the age of 4, through an international airport, without another adult to help out? I have.
I’d rather have them wearing a harness than have a lost or dead kid. I’m just practical that way.
Of course we teach them to hold hands, to listen, to not go running off. But I’m not entrusting their safety to their impulsive little minds and that the lesson has fully sunk in.
Little kids are fucking fast. Even a parent who’s on high alert is going to have a kid run. That’s what they do. It’s their job in life, until they start getting impulse control, to try to send their parents into full-blown cardiac arrest as often as possible. And, even when they do get some impulse control, some of them are rebellious, stubborn, determined little buggers who are going to try to do as they damn well please, regardless of what they know the rules are.
Having a child leash on them ensures that they can’t get away on you.
Yes, there are assholes out there who drag their kid around with one, but you know what? Assholes are assholes. They’re the exception, not the rule.
As a backup plan, for a kid who can’t be trusted to hold a hand and not bolt, they’re a godsend. As a bonus, the kid actually has a bit more freedom because a child leash give them a bit more room to roam than holding my hand does.
Also, my kids happen to love their backpacks. They wear them long after the need for the leash part has passed, and often demand to wear them when we go out.
Here’s the reality, folks: We can’t have it both ways. The internet loses its shit when a parent dares to turn their back and a child bolts into a gorilla cage. The internet also loses its shit when a child is spotted with a harness on.
No matter what a parent does, someone, somewhere, is going to lose their cool over it. So, here’s a deal: You do what you think is best in keeping your kids safe, and I’ll do mine. And we can keep our collective mouths shut about it. Deal?