Leashes…Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?

   Before I had a child, I thought leashes were only for dogs, other small animals, and at times, husbands (just kidding, ha ha). But now, I’ve been exposed to a whole new world…leashes for children. We all know how hard it can be to keep kids from running around all over the place when you’re in a store trying to shop. There’s only so many times you can say “no”, “get over here”, “don’t touch.” It also gets annoying if you have to go and chase them down as you’re rummaging through a clothing rack to find a size medium (not everyone is small or large people, they need to make more mediums…but I digress).
  There are a few solutions to this problem, A). Put them in a shopping cart if it’s a store that has one. B). Bring a stroller. C.) Leave them at home. “C” would be the best solution, but it’s just not practical. You can’t drop off your kid every time you have to run an errand. There’s also D.) Try to control them the best you can and deal with the outcome…or my least favorite E.) Put them on a leash.
  My husband and I were shopping recently and saw one woman who opted for choice “E.” From the looks of him, I’d say the child was about four years old. The mom was holding the leash which attached to an ever so stylish teddy bear backpack and harness. By adding the teddy bear, I guess it’s supposed to make the kid feel as if it’s fun to get walked like a dog.
  She was walking her child through the parking lot just as if she was walking her Doberman. I joked to my husband that I knew we forgot something at home. I looked down and was so thankful my daughter fell asleep. We opted for choice “B” that day. By the grace of God, our little one passed out in the stroller and we were able to do what we had to do.(Trust me this was just a fluke.)
   Getting back to the leash lady,  I have to say the little boy didn’t seem to mind. He surely didn’t go anywhere his mother didn’t want him to go. It just looked so wrong to me to put a harness on a child and control his every move. I know a lot of people may disagree with me and think the leash is the best route and convenient. But, I think kids need to learn that in the real world, you need to control yourself. Adults don’t walk each with leashes, and parents shouldn’t walk their kids with one either.
   I compare this concept to the “cry rooms” in churches. One of the churches I used to go to has a cry room. I used to take me daughter in there so we wouldn’t disturb the other parishioners. The only person I ended up disturbing was myself. My daughter thought it was happy hour and went to socialize with everyone in there. There was no way I could possibly pray, except to hope mass would be over soon. Other kids were doing the same thing though. It was like a daycare, with some Alleluias thrown in every now and again. Even the parents were chit chatting. Now we go to a church without a cry room and she behaves 100 percent better because she knows she has to. Sure she turns around and waves to people and makes some noise. But 90 percent of the time, she’s occupied by the toys I bring and the simple surroundings. I think the same thing is true when it comes to leashes. Teach kids that they have to behave without a leash and they’ll learn that’s what people in the real leash-free world do. You can’t put a leash on them forever, so what happens when they outgrow them? Do you teach them self-control at that age? So many questions, but one simple answer…save the leash for Fido.

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