Overprotective Mother? Or Iron-Fisted Ruler?

Saturday evening I saw a mother with a child about 2 or 3 years old, walking with a harness and a leash on the little girl. The girl just walked around, not straining to go faster or to get away from Mommy. The little girl seemed to have no spirit, no childlike curiosity of her surroundings, no desire to do anything other than just walk slowly in front of Mommy. I thought the child appeared to be well-trained. I wish my dogs would walk that way when I take them around the block.

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I have a hard time with children on a leash. I understand a parent's need to not let the children out of their sight and make sure they're safe at all times. This little girl probably sits quietly in a restaurant and eats her vegetables, likely because Mommy will punish her severely enough to make her not want to suffer the consequences for acting out. I'd much rather see children behaving like children and not some Stepford kid.

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Comments (26)

  1. Neighsayer

    yeah, like if the kid wasn’t punished and controlled 24/7, maybe the leash wouldn’t be necessary, maybe escape wouldn’t be the kid’s dearest wish.

    August 03, 2014
  2. keepingitreal_13

    In the blink of a eye they can disappear. I was never a fan of the leash however in places that are very crowded maybe its not a bad thing. Rather a child on a leash then a child gone missing.
    Tough call Jim.
    How that leash impacts on the child’s spirit no never knows but at the very least both mother and child know they are safe.

    August 03, 2014
    1. Neighsayer

      I actually agree. It’s not necessarily all so bad as what I said, and the leash doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But it could be, and the OP did say the kid looked sad and defeated.

      August 03, 2014
      1. keepingitreal_13

        Yes that’s true. So i guess it all depends how it’s used and by whom.

        August 03, 2014
      2. deaconjim

        This is probably all the little girl has ever known. I bet she’s never been dirty for more than five minutes.

        August 03, 2014
  3. 29A

    My brother has a kid who, back when he was young, might have needed a leash. Case in point: one day we’re at a grocery store checking out, all of a sudden his kid takes off at a full-out run, for no apparent reason. My brother, of course, had to run after him. That wasn’t the only time it happened, but it was a bit funny from my pov.

    August 03, 2014
    1. deaconjim

      I don’t doubt that there are times when a leash may be necessary. I like what keepingitreal_13 said about using something that goes around the child’s wrist instead of a harness. I can see a resourceful child figuring out how to get out of the wrist type, though. I don’t know what the answer is, I was just taken aback seeing the little girl on a leash.

      August 03, 2014
  4. trollskogen

    In Europe it is quite common to have a child on a leash. I am mixed on the subject – there are some wild kids that would not listen. If you are going on a busy side walk near traffic it might be a good idea. But here in the US we are just not used to seeing this.

    August 03, 2014
    1. deaconjim

      The wild kids who won’t listen are probably the kids who are less likely to be kidnapped. I bet they’d be screaming at the top of their lungs if somebody tried to snatch them off the street.

      August 03, 2014
      1. Neighsayer

        nope. It’s totally normal for kids to be carried away screaming. Most folks would just assume it was the parent carrying the kid. I’m sure that’s how the bad shit happens, and it’s one of the reasons I’m so against parental force and punishment in general – because to a stranger it’s indistinguishable from abuse and abduction. If the legitimate caregivers didn’t use it, we’d know who the bad guys were.

        August 04, 2014
  5. deaconjim

    This reminds me of movie scenes where slaves are shown with collars around their necks with a rope or some type of leash attached. Maybe it’s the only way some parents can “watch” the kid while they’re on their phones and/or tablets.

    August 03, 2014
  6. keepingitreal_13

    If anything i rather the one’s a child would wear on their wrist and not the harness type as mentioned in the OP.

    August 03, 2014
    1. deaconjim

      At least the parent wouldn’t look so domineering as those with a harness.
      .
      I had heard about harnesses and leashes for kids, but this was the first time I’d seen one. It really isn’t a pretty picture.

      August 03, 2014
  7. GoldenPig2012

    While I find the idea of leashes weird and the sight of them a bit disturbing, I understand the idea behind it. To lose sight of your child in a public place is………..terrifying. It happened to me, took all of nearly five minutes to find the wee fiend as he rode the escalator in a mall up and down. My terror and his reaction to it pretty much stopped the “wandering off” of himself. But, this one I have now, feels absolutely no compunction to stay in sight, just assumes the world is his (he’s 19-months old). You can bet your butt I’ve considered a leash on this one, but, I doubt I’ll do it, just hyper-awareness, high blood pressure and a constant, running cussing under my breath as we venture out into the world that ISN’T, in reality, his. That said, understanding and all, to this day, when I see a child on a leash, I doubt the necessity of it. Strange, but true.

    August 03, 2014
    1. deaconjim

      My mother managed to keep track of five kids, the oldest and youngest only eight years apart. Granted, she didn’t have things like cell phones and tablets to divert her attention. She probably wished she could have a leash sometimes. I have a nephew who was being led toward the exit at Walt Mart by a strange man. He was six at the time. My sister and sister-in-law looked up just in time to stop him. The man ran and was never caught. My brother (his dad) was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne stationed at Ft. Bragg. Had he been there, the man would not have escaped. Even with something like that, it’s difficult for me to support harnessing kids.

      August 03, 2014
  8. wirelessguru1

    Maybe she considers the child her pet!?

    August 03, 2014
    1. deaconjim

      That’s how it looked.

      August 04, 2014
  9. gbakere

    Sit, stay, heal, lie down, come… No need to learn these commands – just bring the leash. Good dog. There, problem solved. Need a baby sitter so you can go about doing the things YOU want to do? Buy an X-Box, or an ipad. Good dog. There, problem solved. Kids being a pain in the ass? Here’s $10. Go buy some ice cream or something. Good dog. There, problem solved. Parenting takes time, patience, and most importantly, dedicated love. Kids should be encouraged to explore, to allow their curiosity to teach them what the world is about. There are always risks no matter what precautions one takes. When they are very small, they need closer supervision and monitoring than they do when they get older. I find a leash disgusting.

    August 04, 2014
    1. GoldenPig2012

      If I could “like” a response, it would be this one.

      August 04, 2014
      1. gbakere

        Thanks GP. It just seems we find ways to stifle our kids’ growth. They are going to make mistakes – that’s a given. There are risks living within any society. It’s our job as parents to be responsible parents. As a rule, those who do the most exploring were allowed to explore when they were kids. Simply put, that’s learning. Isn’t that a big part of what we’d like for our kids? It’s our job to teach them how, and to do it with respect for others, i.e., allowing them to run wild in a store carries risks – on all fronts, but a leash is not the answer.

        August 04, 2014
        1. GoldenPig2012

          We don’t want them “running wild”, most of us mothers frown upon “running wild” because, well, we’re moms and are absolutely sure you’ll put an eye out with a hangar. But, yes, life is risky, the world is a scary place and parenting is WORK, period. It’s constant, consistent effort, watchfulness, wariness and humor. It’s hard, it always has been, always will be when you’re raising another human being. Leashes are no more the answer than locking them in the attic (yeah, the thought has crossed my mind on the bad days .

          August 04, 2014
          1. gbakere

            And there are always going to be bad days when you’re parenting. Most of us wouldn’t trade it for anything, because we also grow right along with our kids and that can be incredibly rewarding and gratifying.

            August 04, 2014
            1. GoldenPig2012

              Absolutely, I suppose it balances out the grey hair, frown lines, heart palpitations, sleepless nights, constant heartburn and poverty.

              August 05, 2014
            2. gbakere

              Lol…yes.

              August 05, 2014
  10. SEC

    I’d say it might be a combination of 3 things, controlling tendencies of the parent, paranoia about what pervades the news (child molesters, kidnappers, other children acting out violently) and an extreme discipline (one does not know what preceeded the application).

    August 04, 2014